Nancy Dell: Benefits of popcorn; Grass-fed beef

1. Does popcorn have any health benefits?
Emily, Internet

There is some exciting news about popcorn. In a recent study at the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania, researchers founds that popcorn contains antioxidants that can prevent cardiovascular disease and some cancers.

The antioxidants is called polyphenols were found to be highest in the in the hulls of popcorn- that outer shell that gets stuck in our teeth.  And the polyphenols were higher in popcorn than in some fruits and vegetables. One serving of popcorn contained up to 300 mg compared to 114 mg in a serving of sweet corn and 160 mg in an average piece of fruit.

Popcorn is only about four percent water, while most fruits and vegetables contain at least 90% water which dilutes the levels of polyphenols.

That does not mean you can eat popcorn instead of berries or broccoli.  Remember, our colorful fruits and vegetables contain other nutrients not found in popcorn.

Also, remember corn is commonly genetically modified. So buy organic popcorn or one the says “non-GMO” on the label.

How we make the popcorn is important. Air popped is best with only 30 calories a cup. Buttery, salty, sweet and cheesy popcorns can have double the calories with up to 600 calories a bag and then the popcorn is no longer a healthy snack.

You can find a happy medium by using just 1 tablespoon of a healthy oil like grapeseed oil to pop one third a cup of kernels. You can’t use olive oil because it can’t take the high heat needed to make popcorn.

2. What are the health benefits of grass-fed beef?
Mark, Hadley

Compared to conventional beef which is fed a corn-based diet, grass-fed beef is higher in healthy unsaturated fat and lower in  the unhealthy saturated  fat.  In addition, grass-fed beef is usually raised without antibiotics and growth hormones.

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