Popcorn isn’t exactly the healthiest snack out there, but it’s not completely bad for your health either. According to a recent study by Joe Vinson, a professor of chemistry at University of Scranton, popcorn actually contains the same antioxidants found in chocolate and red wine. It is also a good source of fiber.

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Sounds fantastic, right? Before you go and stuff yourself with popcorn, however, keep in mind that there is more to this discovery than you think. For one, the healthy popcorn researchers are talking about may not be the kind you’re used to. Healthy popcorn means no salt, no butter, and no oil. It should also be air-popped, not placed inside a microwave. If your popcorn passes all those requirements, then you’ll be able to reap its reported health benefits.

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What are these benefits? Since popcorn is also essentially made from whole grain, it contains a good amount of fiber. Researchers have also found that popcorn contains polyphenols—the antioxidant compound that is associated with fighting cancer. In fact, depending on how you measure it, the amount of antioxidants it has can rival even that of fruits and vegetables. Still, researchers don’t think it’s a good idea for you to replace your fresh produce consumption with popcorn--fruits and vegetables offer other nutrients that popcorn can’t give you.

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(Photo by João Palma via Flickr Creative Commons)

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