Whole grain consumption and chronic disease: potential mechanisms

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Dietary guidance recommends consumption of whole grains in the prevention of chronic diseases including cancer and cardiovascular disease. Epidemiologie studies suggest that whole grains are protective for gastric, colonie and pancreatic cancers and coronary heart disease. Components in whole grains that may be protective are diverse and include: compounds that affect the gut environment (dietary fiber, resistant starch, and other undigestible compounds); antioxidantsvitamins, minerals, phenolic compounds (ferulic, caffeic); phytoestrogens with potential hormonal effects and antinutrients (phytic acid). Other potential mechanistic effects of whole grains include binding of carcinogens and modulation of glycémie index. Clearly the range of potential protective substances in whole grains is impressive and advice to consume additional whole grains is appropriate. Further study is needed on the mechanisms for this protection so that the most potent protective components of whole grains are not lost in processing or preparation of whole grains into acceptable foods for the public.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalFASEB Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 1 1996


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