Processing Barley & Oats Can Make Phenols More Bioaccessible

A food’s nutritional quality is influenced not only by its ingredient list, but also by how it is processed. To see how processing grains affects the bioaccessibility of nutrients in animals, researchers measured the free and bound phenolic acids in pigs after feeding them whole grain barley and oats, or extruded whole grain barley and extruded oats. Extrusion is a process used to make pasta, cereal, croutons, and other grain products, by sending a flour and water mixture through a die to get uniform shapes. The researchers found that the phenolic acids (healthy phytochemicals found in plant foods) were 29% and 14% more bioaccessible in extruded barley and extruded oats, respectively, compared to their non-extruded counterparts. While this is just an animal study, it indicates that different processing methods might make different nutrients more readily available.
Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. 2013 Mar 20;61(11):2739-47. (Hole AS et al.)