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Antioxidants Abound in Cereals, Popcorn, Whole-Grain Snacks
Date:8/18/2009

Study finds these foods contain high levels of polyphenols

TUESDAY, Aug. 18 (HealthDay News) -- Eating a bowl of your favorite cereal every day is a great source of natural antioxidants, new research shows.

Joe Vinson, a professor of chemistry at the University of Scranton, in Pennsylvania, and his team have found that nearly all whole-grain breakfast cereals and many common, grain-based snacks contain substantial amounts of polyphenols, a form of antioxidants that is thought to have major health benefits. Vinson was scheduled to present his findings Tuesday at the American Chemical Society annual meeting, held in Washington, D.C.

"Cereals have a plethora of [good things]," said Vinson, who tested more than 30 brands and types of breakfast cereals found in supermarkets. "They all have polyphenols."

Whole grains are the main source of polyphenols in breakfast cereals, and since nearly all cereals contain at least some whole grains, it stands to reason that consumers should consider making cereals a regular part of their diet, said Vinson, adding that he received no food industry funding for his study.

"Early researchers thought the fiber was the active ingredient for these benefits in whole grains -- the reason why they may reduce the risk of cancer and coronary heart disease," Vinson noted. "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," he added.

"We found that, in fact, whole-grain products have comparable antioxidants per gram to fruits and vegetables," Vinson said. "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 occur naturally in plants and are the most abundant antioxidant. They have anti-inflammatory properties
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