New hypotheses for the health-protective mechanisms of whole-grain cereals: what is beyond fibre?

Nutrition Research Reviews
Anthony Fardet

Abstract

Epidemiological studies have clearly shown that whole-grain cereals can protect against obesity, diabetes, CVD and cancers. The specific effects of food structure (increased satiety, reduced transit time and glycaemic response), fibre (improved faecal bulking and satiety, viscosity and SCFA production, and/or reduced glycaemic response) and Mg (better glycaemic homeostasis through increased insulin secretion), together with the antioxidant and anti-carcinogenic properties of numerous bioactive compounds, especially those in the bran and germ (minerals, trace elements, vitamins, carotenoids, polyphenols and alkylresorcinols), are today well-recognised mechanisms in this protection. Recent findings, the exhaustive listing of bioactive compounds found in whole-grain wheat, their content in whole-grain, bran and germ fractions and their estimated bioavailability, have led to new hypotheses. The involvement of polyphenols in cell signalling and gene regulation, and of sulfur compounds, lignin and phytic acid should be considered in antioxidant protection. Whole-grain wheat is also a rich source of methyl donors and lipotropes (methionine, betaine, choline, inositol and folates) that may be involved in cardiovascular and/or hepatic p...Continue Reading

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