Effects of Processing on Phenolic Phytochemicals in Cereals and Legumes
Cereals and legumes are important sources of phenolic phytochemical compounds that are believed to offer potential health benefits. A variety of methods are used to process cereals and legumes into a wide range of food products for human consumption. The potential health-promoting properties of cereal- and legume-based foods that stem from their phenolic content highlights the importance of understanding the effects of processing on these phytochemicals. Processing may lead to increases, decreases, or no changes in phenolic compound content. However, an increase or decrease may suggest creation or destruction of matter. Therefore, to understand the effects of processing on phenolics in raw materials, it is necessary to interpret data within the context of the law of conservation of mass, which states that matter can neither be created nor destroyed. Some types of processing may cause the movement of phenolics out of the system, whereas with other types of processing phenolics may stay within the system and be transformed into other forms in which they may be more or less extractable and assayable.