Cereal foods are major dietary sources of energy, carbohydrate and fibre. Studies are increasingly showing that intake of both whole grain and cereal dietary fibre are able to protect against rapidly increasing chronic diseases related to a sedentary lifestyle, such as cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.
The HEALTHGRAIN Integrated Project aims to improve well-being of consumers and to reduce the risk of metabolic diseases in Europe by increasing the intake of protective compounds in whole grains or their fractions. The aim is to produce health promoting and safe cereal foods and ingredients of high quality which are attractive to consumers. To achieve this, our integrated comprehensive research, training and communication program will deliver means and motivation for optimising levels of compounds in European grain foods that have a biological effect. These health-protective compounds in grains may in addition to dietary fibre include lignans, phenolic acids, alkylresorcinols, phytosterols, folates, tocopherols and tocotrienols, other vitamins, trace elements and minerals. All of these compounds are concentrated in the outer layers of the grain, and are thus removed in production of white wheat flour. HEALTHGRAIN is developing ways to producing cereal foods containing more of these protective compounds. The role of cereal food structure and other factors influencing postprandial glycemic and satiating properties are also being studied in order to develop foods which contribute to metabolic health and weight management.
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