Reference Number: 38
Whole grain foods have been recommended for healthy diets as being recognized sources of dietary fiber and antioxidants. A diverse array of wheat was evaluated in terms of bioactive compounds and antioxidant capacity. The bio- active compounds examined include phenolic acids, carotenoids and tocols which were determined by HPLC. Significant differences were observed in total phenols and ferulic acid between wheat species. Wheat species contained four major tocols including 2 tocopherols and 2 tocotrienols with tocotrienol being the most abundant tocol. Lutein, the primary carotenoid in wheat, significantly differed among wheat species ranging from 1.0 to 8.1 mg/kg. The results show the presence of considerable variability among wheat species in antioxidant composition and capacity with certain wheats holding promise for the development of functional foods for health promotion.
SIGNIFICANCE OF THIS STUDY
Wheat contains a diverse array of bioactive compounds that may contribute to its antioxidant capacity or the ability to mop up those molecules that may lead to health problems. These bioactive components include carotenoids, tocopherols, tocotrienols, phenolic acids, phytic acid, phytosterols and flavonoids. A large number of studies have shown that wheat whole grain and wheat bran extracts possess antioxidant properties against oxidation of biologically important molecules such as DNA, proteins and membrane lipids. The current study showed that the antioxidant properties of wheat differed amongst species. Certain wheat species have been found to possess relatively high levels of bioactive compounds and antioxidant activity. Examples of these wheats include einkorn, the earliest cultivated wheat by mankind, emmer, spelt and certain modern wheats. This provides with useful information on the type of wheat we could incorporate in our daily loaves in order to extract the maximum nutritional benefit.