Plausible mechanisms for the protectiveness of whole grains

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345 Scopus citations


Dietary guidelines recommend the consumption of whole grains to prevent chronic diseases. Epidemiologic studies support the theory that whole grains are protective against cancer, especially gastrointestinal cancers such as gastric and colon cancer, and cardiovascular disease. Components in whole grains that may be protective include compounds that affect the gut environment, such as dietary fiber, resistant starch, and oligosaccharides. Whole grains are also rich in compounds that function as antioxidants, such as trace minerals and phenolic compounds, and phytoestrogens, with potential hormonal effects. Other potential mechanisms whereby whole grains may protect against disease include binding of carcinogens and modulation of the glycemic response. Clearly, the range of protective substances in whole grains is impressive and advice to consume additional whole grains is justified. Further study is needed regarding the mechanisms behind this protection so that the most potent protective components of whole grains will be maintained when developing whole grains into acceptable food products for the public.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)459S-463S
JournalAmerican Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Issue number3 SUPPL.
StatePublished - Sep 1999


  • Antioxidants
  • Cancer
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Chronic disease prevention
  • Colon cancer
  • Corn
  • Diabetes
  • Dietary
  • Epidemiology
  • Fiber
  • Gastric cancer
  • Glycemic index
  • Lignans
  • Oligosaccharides
  • Phytoestrogens
  • Resistant starch
  • Rice
  • Tra ce minerals
  • Vitamins
  • Wheat
  • Whole grains

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