Cereals are low in sugar, rich in starch and have a high fibre content. This particular composition gives cereals a low glycemic index and a high satiety one, ideal in low-calorie diets, as well as the ability to regulate digestive and assimilated processes: fibre, in fact, reduces the absorption of sugars and fats and promotes the regular activity of the intestine.
The nutritional properties of cereals are to be found in the presence of antioxidants, such as selenium, B vitamins, C, E, K and important minerals such as zinc, calcium, silicon, iron, manganese, copper, calcium, potassium and magnesium. The fat content is limited and the lipid fraction is represented by unsaturated fatty acids (omega-3 and omega-6) which, together with phytosterols, prevent the accumulation of triglycerides in the blood resulting particularly beneficial for the cardiovascular system.
The proteins, present in good quantity, are of good biological value thanks to the presence of many essential amino acids, in particular, phenylalanine, methionine, threonine, valine, leucine and isoleucine. Gluten is the protein that characterizes autumn-winter cereals such as wheat, barley, spelt, rye and oats and is responsible for the rheological characteristics of traditional dough used for the production of pasta and bakery products. Since gluten is an allergen, naturally gluten-free cereals are gaining market approval and are widely used as ingredients for products that were previously prepared only with wheat flour; in fact, gluten-free products are more digestible than traditional ones, even for those who are not intolerant.