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Review
, 103, 84-102

Whole Cereal Grains and Potential Health Effects: Involvement of the Gut Microbiota

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Review

Whole Cereal Grains and Potential Health Effects: Involvement of the Gut Microbiota

Lingxiao Gong et al. Food Res Int.

Abstract

The intakes of whole cereal grains (WCGs) have long been linked to decreased risks of metabolic syndromes (MetS) and several chronic diseases. Owing to the complex range of components of cereals, which may show synergistic activities to mediate these protective effects, the mechanisms by which the benefits of whole cereals arise are not fully understood. The gut microbiota has recently become a new focus of research at the intersection of diet and metabolic health. Moreover, cereals contain various ingredients known as microbiota-accessible substrates that resist digestion in the upper gastrointestinal tract, including resistant starch and non-starch polysaccharides such as β-glucan and arabinoxylans, making them an important fuel for the microbiota. Thus, WCGs may manipulate the ecophysiology of gut microbiota. In this review, the scientific evidence supporting the hypothesis that WCGs prevent MetS by modulating gut microbiota composition and functions are discussed, with focuses on cereal intake-related mechanisms by which gut microbiota contributes to human health and scientific evidences for the effects of WCGs on modulating gut microbiota. Once strong support for the association among WCGs, gut microbiota and host metabolic health can be demonstrated, particular cereals, their processing technologies, or cereal-based foods might be better utilized to prevent and possibly even treat metabolic disease.

Keywords: Gut microbiota; Metabolic disease; Microbiota shifts; Microbiota-accessible substrates; Whole cereal grains.

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