Phenolic acids and antioxidant activity of wheat species: a review

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Wheat (genus Triticum) is considered to be an important source of polyphenols, plant secondary metabolites with numerous health-promoting effects. Many phytochemicals are responsible for the high antioxidant activity of whole grain products. However, there is a lack of information about composition of phenolic acids and their concentrations in different Triticum species. Despite the fact that the increased consumption of whole grain cereals and whole grain-based products has been closely related to reduced risk of chronic diseases, bioactive compounds found in whole grain cereals have not achieved as much attention as the bioactive compounds in vegetables and fruits. Recent studies have revealed that the content of bioactive compounds and antioxidant capacity of whole grain cereals have been regularly undervalued in the literature, because they contain more polyphenols and other phytochemicals than was reported in the past. Phenolic acids represent a large group of bioactive compounds in cereals. These compounds play a significant role in the possible positive effects of the human diet rich in whole grain cereals, especially in wheat and provide health benefits associated with demonstrably diminished risk of chronic disease development. Ferulic acid, the primary and the most abundant phenolic acid contained in wheat grain, is mainly responsible for the antioxidant activity of wheat, particularly bran fraction. In this paper, selected phenolic compounds in wheat, their antioxidant activity and health benefits related to consumption of whole grain cereals are reviewed.

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