The protective effects of whole grain cereals against heart disease and certain cancers may be due, at least partly, to the antioxidant effects of phenolics concentrated in the bran. However, it is unclear to what extent these phenolics are absorbed, and whether these phenolics exert significant physiological antioxidant effects. Thus, this study aimed to compare total phenolics (TP) and antioxidant potential (AOP) in the plasma and urine of humans following consumption of a single meal of unprocessed wheat bran or a refined cereal (ground white rice). Using a randomized cross-over design. 17 adults consumed approximate to 93 g of wheat bran or ground rice after an overnight fast. Baseline and postmeal plasma and urine samples were analyzed for TP (Folin-Ciocalteu method) and AOP (FRAP method). Compared with ground rice, wheat bran gave significantly (P < 0.05) higher plasma TP at 1 hr, and significantly (P < 0.001) higher plasma AOP from 0.5 to 3 hr. Furthermore, compared with ground rice, wheat bran led to consistently higher TP and AOP in urine, and these differences were significant (P < 0.05) at 2 hr. Comparisons with data from a range of other phenolic-rich foods indicated that wheat bran phenolics are relatively well absorbed and may enhance antioxidant status.