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Antioxidant properties of ancient organic grain can protect against oxidative stress, study

By Helen Glaberson , 25-Jan-2011

Kamut Khorasan wheat, an ancient and organic grain, has antioxidant properties which protect against oxidative stress suggests a new study.

The research, published in Frontiers of Bioscience, showed that animals fed on the Kamut wheat breads had a better response to oxidative stress than modern wheat, according to the researchers.

Commissioned by the wheat supplier Kamut International, the study was conducted by researchers at the Department of Food Sciences and the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Bologna in Italy.

Ancient grains and cereals have enjoyed a revival of interest in recent years, as they fit with the desire for less processed ingredients and attention to the nutritional value of foods.

From these findings, the scientists claim that the reduced risk of chronic diseases related to wholegrain consumption is attributed in part to their high antioxidant content.

“This published study represents the first of many, which we believe will eventually result in a scientific explanation of why people with sensitivities to modern wheat claim they feel better when they eat Kamut Brand wheat." said Bob Quinn, president of Kamut International.

“In this initial paper, however, we focused on a nutritional property which has significant implications for everyone,” he added.

Method and results

Phase one of the antioxidant evaluation on the Kamut brand khorasan wheat evaluated and compared the antioxidant effect of the two different bread types in rats: wholegrain ancient Kamut khorasan bread and wholegrain modern durum wheat bread (WB).

Two different bread-making processes were also compared for the wholegrain ancient Kamut bread: baker's yeast (KB) and sourdough (SKB).

According to the researchers, the concentration of all potential antioxidant compounds was different in the three experimental breads. The scientists said that the total polyphenols and in particular selenium, were significantly higher in the two types of Kamut bread than WB.

Vitamin E and beta-carotene were in lower concentrations in KB compared to WB, but both compounds were increased in the SKB by the sourdough fermentation, the study found.

After feeding these different breads to rats for seven weeks, the rats were submitted to an exogenous oxidative stress. The researchers claim that the rats that were fed the Kamut breads were better able to overcome the induced stress than those fed the modern durum bread and that those fed the SKB fared best of all.

The researchers said that the benefits may be stronger when Kamut bread is obtained by sourdough fermentation.

“The research is ongoing, evaluating in the rat liver the mechanisms related to the higher protective activity of ancient Kamut khorasan wheat,” they said.

Source: Frontiers of Bioscience

Title: “Role of cereal type and processing in whole grain in vivo protection from oxidative stress”

Authors: A. Gianotti, F. Danesi, V. Verardo, DI. Serrazanetti, V. Valli, A. Russo, Y. Riciputi, N. Tossani, M.F. Caboni, M.E. Guerzoni, A.Bordoni.

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