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Sunday 23rd October 2016

Popcorn and cereals 'boost health'

25th August 2009

A new study shows that eating whole grains can benefit the body by feeding it antioxidants.


Although the positive effects of dietary fibre are well known, the finding marks the first time researchers have managed to measure the antioxidants in popular breakfast cereals and snacks.

Polyphenols are a type of antioxidant that doctors think probably reduce people’s risk of heart disease and cancer.

They are found in high amounts in berries, tea, beer, wine, olive oil, chocolate, coffee, walnuts, and pomegranates, as well as in the skins of most fruit.

Among products tested by the researchers for the purposes of the recent study, Raisin Bran and popcorn had the highest amounts of this type of antioxidant.

However, many other breakfast cereals and snacks that were made from whole grains were also high in polyphenols.

Joe Vinson, PhD, of the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania said that early researchers thought fibre was the active ingredient for the capacity of whole grains to reduce people’s risk of cancer and coronary heart disease.

He said that polyphenols emerged as potentially more important, because breakfast cereals, pasta, crackers, and salty snacks constitute a large part of people’s diets.

The study measured the total polyphenol content of 28 breakfast cereals, as well as 38 grain based foods and snacks.

It also measured the polyphenol content of nine wholegrain flours.

Vinson said that his team found that wholegrain products have comparable antioxidants per gram to fruits and vegetables.

Oat cereals had the highest amounts of polyphenols, with corn, wheat, hot oat cereals, and rice cereals following them.

Raisin Bran had the highest number of antioxidants because raisins are high in polyphenols.

Many chocolate flavoured cereals also had high numbers of antioxidants due to the antioxidant properties of chocolate.

Although wheat bran cereals were not much higher in antioxidants than the other cereals tested, they were much higher in fibre.

Polyphenol antioxidants have the ability not only to counteract the effects of free radicals, but they work directly in the blood to reduce arterial inflammation.


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