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Whole grains are a rich source of vitamins, minerals and dietary fibre, with the most important being inulin, β-glucan and lignans and effective compounds such as phytochemicals, phytosterol, phytin and sphingolipids. Most of these are concentrated in the bran and germ. Many studies have confirmed the health benefits of whole grains and their ability to reduce the incidence of many chronic diseases.
Because of the significant health benefits and dietary value of whole grains, most countries worldwide recommend the consumption of whole grains. Foremost among these countries are Australia, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, India, Latvia, Mexico, the Sultanate of Oman, Singapore, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the USA. However, there are slight differences in the dietary guidelines and recommendations among these countries.
In the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Ministry of Health issued the Health Food Palm (dietary guidelines for Saudis) where it stated the importance of selecting whole grains and their products and the importance of keeping away from treated grains and their products to which salt, fats and sugar are added.
In a recent paper by author Dr. J.Z. ALTamimi assess the consumption of the group of whole grains and their products in a sample of adult Saudis in Riyadh and to determine how much of this consumption included whole grains and their products. This study indicates that the daily consumption of whole grains and their products remains low. More than half of the participants did not consume any kind of whole grain product on a daily basis for several reasons. The most important reasons are that the participants did not accept the taste of whole grains and whole grain products. In addition, whole grains and their products are unavailable in small supply places on a daily basis. This study stresses the importance of informing the Saudi society regarding the importance of consuming whole grains and their products and the importance of making them part of the daily diet. To make improvements, it is important to work towards improving the taste of these products, making them acceptable to the consumer and providing them in small supply places in the residential quarters.
DR .J. Z.Al Tamimi. Department of Nutrition and Food Science, College of Home Economics, Princess Nourah Bint Abdulrahman University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
A paper about the study appeared recently in International Journal of Nutrition and Food Sciences.