Bioactives in Commonly Consumed Cereal Grains: Implications for Oxidative Stress and Inflammation

J Med Food. 2015 Nov;18(11):1179-86. doi: 10.1089/jmf.2014.3394. Epub 2015 Sep 18.


Oxidative stress and inflammation are closely linked to various chronic diseases. Thus, targeting this axis of oxidative stress and inflammation is a particularly interesting area of study for reducing the risk of chronic diseases, including, but not limited to, metabolic disorders, cancer, cardiovascular disease, and Alzheimer's disease. It is well known that antioxidants play a pivotal role in tuning this axis. In this review, we introduce five different cereal grains, which are the most commonly consumed throughout the world and are functionally reported to have antioxidant activity: oat (Avena spp.), barley (Hordeum spp.), rice (Oryza spp.), wheat (Triticum spp.), and rye (Secale spp.). Bioactive components of these grains, partial grains or whole grains, have demonstrated antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities in cells and animals. Although further study is required to establish their efficacy for treating patients with chronic diseases, we suggest that grains, which are a great source of antioxidants, have potential in the prevention of oxidative stress and inflammation-related chronic diseases.

Keywords: barley; chronic disease; oat; oxidative stress; reactive oxygen species; rice; rye; wheat.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / pharmacology
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology
  • Antioxidants / therapeutic use*
  • Edible Grain / chemistry*
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / prevention & control*
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects*
  • Poaceae / chemistry*


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Antioxidants