Background: Considerable scientific evidence suggests that whole grains, as commonly consumed in the United States and Europe, reduce risk for chronic disease including cancer and heart disease. Whole grains provide a wide range of nutrients and phytochemicals that may work synergistically to optimize human health. Fruits and vegetables provide protection against age related diseases. It is believed their high content of antioxidant compounds is key to such protection.
Objective: This research compares the antioxidant activity of whole grain, ready-to-eat (RTE) breakfast cereals to that of fruits and vegetables.
Method: Antioxidant activity was determined by dispersing finely ground samples in a 50% aqueous methanol solution of the stable free radical 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH). DPPH, which forms a deep purple solution, reacts with antioxidants and color loss at 515 nm correlates to antioxidant content, which is expressed as Trolox equivalents/100 grams (TE).
Results: Whole grain breakfast cereals analyzed in this study contained from 2,200-3,500 TE. By comparison, fruits generally ranged from 600-1,700 TE, with a high of 2,200 TE for red plums. Berries averaged 3,700 TE and. vegetables averaged 450 TE with a high of 1,400 TE for red cabbage. A 41 gram average serving of RTE breakfast cereal provides 1,120 TE, while an average 85 gram serving of vegetables or fruits provides 380 and 1,020 TE, respectively.
Conclusion: Whole grain breakfast cereals, fruits and vegetables are all important dietary sources of antioxidants.