Bread is the most important staple food of humans from the prehistoric time. Baked bread is integral to human health with plenty of major nutrients, antioxidants and vitamins. After thousands of years, it remains the most regularly consumed food in the world, due to its convenience, portability, nutrition, and taste. Archaeological studies found that prehistoric human food hunter-gatherers started baking bread at least 30,000 years ago. Annual global wheat production is around 700 million tons. Over the same period the global average production of rice was 704 mt and for maize 874 mt. In the last decades a large number of scientific studies analysed wheat grain composition, protein content, essential amino acids, carbohydrates, mono- and oligo- saccharides, starch, vitamins, minerals, metals, dietary fibers, polyphenols, protenoids and carotenoids. All these components of wheat grain have direct relevance to human nutrition and health because they provide nutritional quality, energy and essential micro nutrients. Beneficial health effects from whole grain bread and other cereals have been studied by a large number of epidemiological and dietary studies. Most of the results found that consumption is associated with reduction of chronic diseases, such as coronary heart and cardiovascular diseases (CVDs), colon and breast cancers, obesity, type 2 diabetes and gastrointestinal diseases. It has been proved that whole grains help maintain human weight and enhances weight loss in obese individuals. In addition whole-grain fiber maintains optimum health due to the antioxidant phytochemicals and vitamins. Fiber intake from bread lowers blood pressure and serum cholesterol levels, increases soluble fiber improving glycemia and insulin sensitivity in non-diabetic individuals and diabetics. Also, reduces gastrointestinal disorders, such as gastroesophageal reflux disease, duodenal ulcer, constipation and hemorrhoids. Prebiotic fibers of whole grain cereals appear to enhance immune function. This review presents the most important studies in the last decade on the subject of wheat grain, and selected epidemiological and dietary research investigations on the health benefits of bread consumption in relation to reduction of CVDs, certain types of cancer, diabetes and obesity.

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