Reference Number: 34
Phytochemicals and antioxidants in whole grains have not received as much attention as the phytochemicals in fruits and vegetables although the increased consumption of whole grains and whole grain products has been associated with reduced risk of developing chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, some cancers and all-cause mortality. Recent research has shown that the total phytochemical content and antioxidant activity of whole grains have been commonly underestimated in the literature, and that whole grains contain more phytochemicals than was previously reported. Most whole grain phenolics are in bound form, 85% in corn, 76% in wheat, and 75% in oats. In addition, whole grains contain unique phytochemicals that complement those in fruits and vegetables when consumed together. The beneficial effects associated with whole grain consumption are in part due to the existence of the unique phytochemicals of whole grains. The majority of phytochemicals of whole grains that are beneficial for health are present in the bran/germ fraction. In whole wheat flour, the bran/germ fraction contributed 83% of total phenolic content, 79% of total flavonoid content, 78% of total zeaxanthin, 51% of total lutein, and 42% of total ?-cryptoxanthin. The bran/germ fraction of whole wheat may therefore impart greater health benefits when consumed as part of a diet, and help reduce the risk of chronic diseases. This paper will review recent research on the phytochemicals and antioxidant activity of whole grains and their unique contribution to the health benefits of whole grains.
SIGNIFICANCE OF THIS STUDY
Whole grains are rich in phytochemicals (antioxidants) that provide unique bioactive compounds that are complementary to those in fruits, vegetables and nuts when consumed together. Several studies have shown that regular consumption of whole grains and whole grain products is associated with reduced risk of developing chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, some cancers. Therefore, dietary changes by increasing the consumption of a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains daily is a practical strategy for us to optimise our health and reduce the risk of chronic diseases. At the sourdough school, we use a variety of whole grains ranging from wheat to rye and also encourage our students to incorporate in their loaves, a variety of seeds, nuts and also some fruits and vegetables that helps not only to boost up flavour but also provide a broader variety of phytochemicals that are all encompassed within one loaf.