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Cereals and cereal variants are consumed as part of most people's diets,1  supplying a significant share of dietary calories and nutrients in developed and developing nations. They are made up of around 75% carbohydrates (mostly starches) and about 6–15% protein and, moreover, they provide more than half of the world's total energy.2  The relevance of cereals and cereal products is further exemplified by the evidence-based notion that cereal production, which amounts to around 2600 million tonnes annually, is the most important factor in world food security.3 

Coloured cereal grains have a high concentration of phenolics and flavonoids, such as anthocyanins, which are found in various areas of the grain, and are responsible for the colour. Several studies have linked anthocyanins and other phenolic compounds to antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. By altering NF-κB-mediated pathways, these drugs and their derivatives can inhibit inflammatory responses by acting on natural cell signalling pathways.4  Pancreatic-amylase and brush-border-glucosidase enzyme activity has also been demonstrated to be inhibited by polyphenols and anthocyanins. Intestinal-glucosidase inhibition reduces carbohydrate digestion and absorption, resulting in lower glucose levels post-meal (post prandial glycemia), which is regarded as an effective method of controlling type 2 diabetes.

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