Polyphenols and Paper Bag Popcorn

Today’s word is polyphenols.
Polyphenol (pŏl’ē-fē’nôl’, -nōl’):  Any of various alcohols containing one or more benzene rings that each have at least one hydroxylgroup (OH) attached.  Many polyphenols occur naturally in plants and some kinds, such as the flavonoids and tannins, are believed to be beneficial to health. (source) 

Joe Vinson, Ph.D., a pioneer in analyzing healthful components in chocolate, nuts and other common foods, explained at an American Chemical Society press conference on 3/25/12, that polyphenols are more concentrated in popcorn, which averages only about 4 percent water, while polyphenols are diluted in the 90 percent water that makes up many fruits and vegetables.Popcorn has been “popping up”  all over the news this week.

A local purchase from the Dane County Farmers Market

You know the hulls of popcorn – the part that always gets caught in your teeth-?  They have the highest concentration of polyphenols and fiber.  But I think you can still turn to floss post-popcorn consumption.

Source: Scientist Joe Vinson acs.org



The overall findings of Vinson’s study led him to declare:  “Popcorn may be the perfect snack food. It’s the only snack that is 100 percent unprocessed whole grain. All other grains are processed and diluted with other ingredients, and although cereals are called “whole grain,” this simply means that over 51 percent of the weight of the product is whole grain. One serving of popcorn will provide more than 70 percent of the daily intake of whole grain. The average person only gets about half a serving of whole grains a day, and popcorn could fill that gap in a very pleasant way.”

Don’t get too excited–this study is talking about real-deal popcorn.  Not freshly-popped popcorn coated with cheese, butter, caramel, etc.  Sorry.

Here’s a fun trick that my mom taught me for making healthy popcorn.  Use a brown paper lunch bag, add 1/4-1/3 cup of popcorn kernels, fold the top of the bag over, put in the microwave (try to make sure the bag stands up at first but it will fall over while popping) for 90-120 seconds.  As soon as the popcorn stops popping, stop the microwave and take it out (so you don’t have burnt popcorn).  Eat plain or sprinkle your favorite seasoning (try cinnamon, garlic salt, etc.) on the popcorn.

Paper Bag Popcorn

It’s a fun snack that you can feel good about eating.

Question:  What’s your word of the day today?

3 responses

  1. I make paper bag popcorn every day, or nearly. I would say 29 days a month. I may take 1 day off, but I love it. It IS the perfect snack and I use everything from nooch to stevia on mine, try to jazz it up but not lead balloon it down with a stick of butter…which would be easy to do 🙂 Great science factoids!

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