Wheat Cereals as Antioxidants

Potential of Wheat-Based Breakfast Cereals as a Source of Dietary Antioxidants

Alan J. Baublis, PhD, Changrun Lu, MS, Fergus M. Clydesdale, PhD, and Eric A. Decker, PhD

Coca Cola Company, Atlanta, Georgia (A.J.B.), Dept. of Food Science, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Massachusetts (C.L., F.M.C., E.A.D.) [edecker@foodsci.umass.edu]

Whole wheat- and wheat bran-based ready-to-eat breakfast cereals could be important sources of dietary antioxidants. Of the antioxidants in wheat, free and esterified phenolic acids seem to have the greatest potential to be beneficial to health. Phenolic acids from breakfast cereals possess strong antioxidant activity in vitro at concentrations that would be obtained from a normal serving of whole wheat cereal. In addition, acid conditions and enzymic hydrolysis increase the solubility and activity of wheat phenolics suggesting that the digestive process could be important in altering the antioxidant potential of wheat-based foods. Current research on the antioxidant activity of wheat phenolics suggests that further research is warranted to determine the potential benefits of these dietary antioxidants. In addition, identification of both biological (e.g. digestion) and food processing conditions that impact the distribution, stability and activity of wheat antioxidants is needed in order to be able to produce food products with maximum health benefits.

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