Popcorn not as unhealthy as first thought

Published 1:09 am Saturday, September 13, 2008


Here’s something very interesting I found in a paper, that people should know about popcorn.

Diverticulosis, a condition in which tiny pouches form along the inside of the colon, affects about 10 percent of people over the age of 40, half of people over 60 and nearly everyone over the age of 80.

Many doctors tell patients to avoid nuts, seeds and popcorn for fear that the foods might become lodged in the pouches and cause irritation. But the fear seems to be unwarranted, according to data released in May by Harvard University researchers at a large meeting of gastroenterologists in Washington, D.C.

The researchers base their conclusions on a 20-year study of 47,228 men. When research began in 1986, the men were between the ages of 40 and 45 and didn’t have a history of diverticulosis. But after 18 years, follow-up diverticulosis with complications had appeared in some of them. Three hundred and three men developed profuse bleeding and 801 had developed an infection that causes abdominal pain. Men who ate the most popcorn were 28 percent less likely to be affected than the men who at the least.

Medical experts say the best way to avoid complications from diverticulosis is to eat a diet rich in fiber, drink plenty of water and exercise regularly. The American Dietetic Association recommends that all people eat 20 to 35 grams of fiber a day. High-filler foods include whole grain breads, cereals and crackers, and so on. They also include fruits and vegetables, such as broccoli and cabbage. I know people of all kinds like popcorn, so read this and think about it.

Barbara Sue Dennis