Phytochemicals in whole grain wheat and their health-promoting effects

Mol Nutr Food Res. 2017 Jul;61(7). doi: 10.1002/mnfr.201600852. Epub 2017 Mar 17.


Accumulated evidence in epidemiological studies has consistently shown that consumption of whole grains (WGs) is inversely associated with risk of major chronic diseases such as certain types of cancer, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases. Dietary fiber (DF) has been reported to be responsible for the health effects of WG consumption. Evidence from in vitro and in vivo studies is emerging that, in addition to DF and minerals, the unique phytochemicals in WGs may in part contribute to these health-promoting effects. WGs are rich sources of various phytochemicals. However, phytochemical contents and profiles in WG wheat are not systematically summarized yet, and the rapid rate of discovery of wheat phytochemicals necessitates an update on the current state of this field. Furthermore, the biological roles of phytochemicals in protective effects of WGs are also relatively underestimated compared to DFs. This manuscript summarized current research literature regarding phytochemicals that have been identified and characterized from wheat grains and wheat bran, and their corresponding contributions to the major health benefits of WG wheat consumption.

Keywords: Chronic diseases; Health-promoting effects; Phytochemicals; Whole grain wheat.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Obesity Agents / pharmacology
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic / pharmacology*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / diet therapy
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / diet therapy
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / pharmacology
  • Phytochemicals / chemistry*
  • Phytochemicals / pharmacology*
  • Tandem Mass Spectrometry
  • Triticum / chemistry*
  • Whole Grains / chemistry*


  • Anti-Obesity Agents
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic
  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • Phytochemicals