Phenolic Compounds in Cereal Grains and Their Health Benefits
L. Dykes and L. W. Rooney. Texas A&M University, College Station, TX. Cereal Foods World 52(3):105-111.
Dykes and Rooney present a summary of the types and quantities of the phenolic compounds found in cereal grains. Significant variation exists among cereal grains and within the different species. There are pigmented cereal grains that have significant levels of phenolics present in the outer parts of the kernel. For example, blue, red, and other colored corn varieties contain anthocyanins. Blue or purple wheat, barley, rice, and other cereals are increasing in popularity. Oats contain unique phenolic compounds called avenanthramides. Dykes and Rooney compared the total phenol and antioxidant activity potential of a wide array of cereals using the same extraction and analytical procedures to provide a fair comparison. Pigmented and tannin sorghum cultivars contained the highest levels of phenols and antioxidant potential. These varieties of sorghum include black or deep purple types containing luteolinidin and apigenidin that give very intense dark colors to processed foods. They appear to have significant anticancer and other health benefits in several preliminary studies.