Whole grain cereals, popcorn rich in antioxidants, not just fiber: study

Aug 18, 2009
Popcorn has the highest levels of healthy antioxidants among whole grain snack foods, researchers are reporting. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

In a first-of-its kind study, scientists reported today at the 238th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS) that snack foods like popcorn and many popular breakfast cereals contain "surprisingly large" amounts of healthful antioxidant substances called "polyphenols."

Polyphenols are a major reason why fruits and vegetables — and foods like chocolate, wine, coffee, and tea — have become renowned for their potential role in reducing the risk of heart disease, cancer, and other diseases.

Until now, however, no one knew that commercial hot and cold whole grain cereals — regarded as healthful for their fiber content — and snack foods also were a source of polyphenols.

"Early researchers thought the fiber was the active ingredient for these benefits in , the reason why they may reduce the risk of cancer and ," said Joe Vinson, Ph.D., who headed the new study. "But recently, polyphenols emerged as potentially more important. Breakfast cereals, pasta, crackers, and salty snacks constitute over 66 percent of whole grain intake in the U.S. diet."

Vinson, a chemist at the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania, said "We found that, in fact, whole grain products have comparable per gram to fruits and vegetables. This is the first study to examine total phenol antioxidants in breakfast cereals and snacks, whereas previous studies have measured free antioxidants in the products."

Polyphenols are a group of chemicals found in many fruits, , and other plants, such as berries, walnuts, olives, tea leaves and grapes. Known as antioxidants, they remove free radicals from the body. Free radicals are chemicals that have the potential to cause damage to cells and tissues in the body.

The whole grain cereal with the most antioxidants are made with wheat, with corn, oats and rice cereals following in descending order, according to Vinson. He also noted that raisin bran has the highest amount of antioxidants per serving, primarily due to the raisins.

Bran cereals made from wheat overall do not have more antioxidants than wheat cereals, though they do have more fiber, he said. In other findings, he said that whole grain flours are very high in antioxidants; whole grain snacks have slightly lower levels of antioxidants than cereals; of snacks, popcorn has the highest level of antioxidants; and there is a wide variation in the amount of antioxidants in each class of cold cereal.

Source: American Chemical Society (news : web)

Explore further: Energy drinks cause insomnia and nervousness in athletes

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Coffee is number one source of antioxidants

Aug 29, 2005

Coffee provides more than just a morning jolt; that steaming cup of java is also the number one source of antioxidants in the U.S. diet, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Scranton (Pa.). Their study ...

Probing Question: How do antioxidants work?

Aug 01, 2008

Blueberries, pomegranates, green tea and dark chocolate -- these are just some of the antioxidant-rich "superfoods" found in almost any supermarket today. As well as improving our general health, there is growing evidence ...

Recommended for you

Energy drinks cause insomnia and nervousness in athletes

1 hour ago

A study analysing the positive and negative effects of energy drinks on athletes has seen that, although in principle their sports performance was seen to improve by between 3% and 7%, there was also an increase ...

Young Aussie women now fatter but fitter

2 hours ago

Young Australian women are fatter, fitter and more frazzled today than they were nearly 20 years ago, according to Australian Longitudinal Study on Women's Health researchers.

Healthy relationships help foster healthy eating habits

3 hours ago

There are few subjects more personal than an individual's weight. And for those people who are considered overweight, whether this is a scientifically accurate measurement or a personal assessment, the battle ...

User comments : 4

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

bredmond
not rated yet Aug 18, 2009
Isn't Polyphenol the son of Neptune? Odyssius found that out the hard way. Dont go messing with Neptune!
mongander
not rated yet Aug 19, 2009
No, but polyurethane was synthesized from parrot pee.
Egnite
1 / 5 (1) Aug 19, 2009
Oh, guess popcorn will be classed as a prescription drug next year then if the UN get to pass their Codex Alimentarius.

http://www.natura...ius.html

If your from the UK, click the link below to petition against it.

http://petitions....itamins/

Ofc I reckon micorwave popcorn will still be legal since it contains effective enough levels of perfluorooctanoic in the paper bag and Diacetyl in the fake butter to promote the all great profitable cancer, sick eh!
Egnite
not rated yet Aug 20, 2009
Pro disease/cancer are you soylent? Prefer spending/making money on curing it than preventing it? It's unlike ya to disagree with someone and not voice your opinion on the matter..