IS RICE GOOD FOR YOU
Rice is a plant that has been cultivated for thousands of years. This food staple was once considered the most important in Asian countries, and now it’s one of the top three grains consumed worldwide.
It’s usually the first solid food introduced to infants. It is a popular grain that can be used as an alternative carbohydrate source or just eaten by itself with some seasoning. It’s also a component in many types of dishes, from soups to sushi. Rice can be boiled into sticky rice or left whole to make fried rice, both are delicious.
But how does rice stack up as a nutritious food? Is this ancient grain really good for you? Read on to find out!
RICE AS A FOOD GROUP
Rice (Oryza sativa; oryza, Latin for “rice”), a member of the grass family, is the seed of the grass species Oryza Sativa and an important food crop staple worldwide. It is grown on every continent except Antarctica. Though it originated in southern China, it has become highly popular in many places across the world due to its use as an agricultural commodity and its nutritional value.
Of all Asian grains, there are more than 40,000 varieties; most edible ones fall within three main groups: japonica (sticky), indica (short grain) and aromatic.
Rice was one of the first cultivated grains, although it is believed to have originated in the subtropical forests of China. In prehistoric times, people gathered wild rice and planted seeds from their harvest. Farmers domesticated rice about 7,000 years ago in China.
In Western history:
According to Pliny, “Rice (Oryza) has been known from time immemorial both among the Indians and Europeans.” He discusses its cultivation and preparation for consumption. The Romans cultivated both kinds of rice; their name for rice was Oryza.
Yet even this very general view may be incorrect because Tacitus says that Germans call all foods eaten with salt or herbs salica (as opposed to oricha, i.e., true rice). This may have been the Roman name for Asiatic rice.
During the Middle Ages, rice spread through Europe. As of the late 13th century, European ships were known to import great quantities of rice from Sicily and the Arabic territories (especially Morocco).
Rice is a staple crop throughout Asia. It is grown alongside wheat in most of Russia and Ukraine and accounts for half of all cereal grain production in Kazakhstan. The biggest exporters are Thailand, Vietnam, Pakistan, India, China and Indonesia.
Currently China is the world’s largest producer and consumer of rice. Due to its importance as a food source, many Asian countries have regulated its production so that it may be grown organically; this trend has led some scientists to believe that “from an environmental perspective, organic or biological approaches growing rice may be more desirable than conventional approaches.”
Rice is a major cereal in the diets of many Asian people. It is common to see rice used in dishes that serve as substitutes for bread, congee (rice porridge) or noodles served on special occasions such as weddings, and Laab (Thai meat salad).
In India and Bangladesh, it is eaten with dal (lentil stew) to form a combination called khichdi, considered one of India’s most popular dishes.
In Venezuela and Colombia, rice soup serves as an important first course at lunchtime or dinner time; some soups also accompany breakfast. Typical Venezuelan main dishes are based on rice such as hallaca stuffed with chicken or beef with corn and rice, or mondongo soup which is a tripe-based dish.
In Colombia there are many kinds of dishes with white rice like bandeja paisa and arroz con pollo (rice with chicken). Rice in Venezuela is also used to prepare desserts such as arroz con leche and natilla.
In Piedmont (Italy), cooked rice mixed with egg yolk, sugar, raisins and pine nuts is made into small dumplings called gnocchi di riso that may be served with melted butter or stewed plums for the sauce.
In Egypt, where the annual consumption per capita in 2009 was over 76 kg (167 lb), it is eaten both for breakfast and dinner. Sometimes served with lentil soup.
In the Philippines, glutinous rice is an ingredient in most of the Filipino desserts like “bibingka” and “puto bumbóng”. It’s part of favorite dishes such as pancit malabon, arroz caldo (chicken congee), and sinangag (garlic fried rice).
Rice is also eaten by Filipinos as a staple food for lunch and dinner. Several varieties are produced throughout the country in which different grains are mixed to produce its flavor and texture while some are imported from other countries. In the northern parts of the Philippines where the Aetas live, they only eat sticky rice with vegetables or meat instead of corn breads or plain boiled rice.
BENEFITS OF RICE
Rice is one of the most popular grains. This grain is a staple food for many people, and it is enjoyed all over the world. There are so many uses for rice, including cooking, consuming and even art craft! If you’re wondering just how good rice can be for you, here’s what it does to your body:
1. The Fiber In Rice Acts As A Natural Laxative
Eating foods with high quantities of fiber (like brown and wild rice) promotes healthy bowel movements. It also helps clean out your colon from toxins that your body doesn’t need anymore! Fiber strengthens your digestive system by helping food pass quickly in order to prevent colon cancer or constipation. Since white rice contains no fiber at all, substitute brown rice to gain all these benefits.
2. Rice Has Anti-Aging Properties
Arbutin is a pigment compound found in rice that slows down the aging process of your body by inhibiting tyrosinase, an enzyme responsible for darkening and thickening skin cells. Arbutin also counteracts harmful free radicals. These antioxidants are great for reducing signs of premature aging like wrinkles, fine lines and age spots. This cosmetic property makes rice perfect for skin care products!
3. Rice Helps Increase Energy Levels
Brown rice contains high amounts of calories per gram due to its rich nutritional content which includes fiber, vitamin B1 and B3, magnesium and manganese as well as selenium. Its complex carbohydrates help release more energy from your cells slowly. Studies show that rice can keep levels of leptin, the hormone that reduces appetite, high longer. This means you don’t feel hungry as easily!
4. Rice Helps Promote Good Sleep
As a natural stress reliever, one of rice’s many benefits is helping people have a better night’s rest! Brown rice contains GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid), an amino acid responsible for reducing anxiety and nervousness. It also regulates sleep cycles, so you fall asleep faster and feel more refreshed when it’s time to wake up in the morning.
5. This Grain Is Naturally Gluten-Free
Gluten intolerance has become very common nowadays because wheat products are often used in everyday life without knowing its adverse effects on your health. Gluten is a substance that is found in grains like wheat, rye and barley. People who are gluten-sensitive may show symptoms such as digestive problems, depression, dizziness and headaches. Rice is naturally gluten-free so it can be used by people with allergies or sensitivities to gluten!
6. Rice Can Relax Your Mind And Body
The B1 vitamin thiamine in rice helps improve sleep quality which reduces anxiety levels. It also works to elevate your mood, so you feel calmer and happier all day long! This grain synthesizes serotonin more efficiently than any other food so eating rice regularly can reduce stress due to its calming effect. This is why it’s especially recommended for patients who suffer from PMS because of its benefits on hormone balance.
7. Rice Is Very Versatile And Can Be Used In Many Ways
There are countless rice recipes you can make at home to add more flavor to your meals. You can even use it as an alternative for cereal with milk if you want a healthier breakfast! Aside from being eaten on its own, rice can also be incorporated into several dishes like fried rice, sushi or sashimi or paella. Substituting grain-based foods with rice will provide additional nutrients without compromising the taste.
‘The Perfect Grain,’ by Dr. Wayne Coates, describes rice as ‘the perfect grain.’ It doesn’t have gluten and is naturally high in antioxidants called ferulic acid, which helps slow down cell damage leading to cancer when compared to other grains such as wheat. Therefore, if you want to gain more health benefits from rice, go for brown!
Precook the rice in a rice cooker before adding it to other dishes such as stir fry or sushi/sashimi because white rice takes much longer to cook. Less water should also be used when cooking your batch of brown rice if you want all its nutrients to remain intact.
Parsley and carrots complement this nutrient-rich grain well so make sure to include them in your next recipe! Rice is great for making soup because it will thicken the broth but won’t completely take over the flavor of the dish like potatoes might.
Brown rice pasta tastes great with tomato sauce on top but some people find that it can cause digestive discomfort due to the whole grains it contains. Please note that brown rice tends to be pricier than white rice so you might want to check the price when shopping at your local grocery store!
The overall diet of an individual is also important if they want to maximize the benefits of this grain. Eating a lot of fatty and sugary foods will have negative effects on your sugar levels and overall health so you should avoid these as much as possible.
If you need an alternative meal for lunch, grab some precooked brown rice from the freezer section in the supermarket! Quickly throw together leftover veggies and meat cubes with cooked rice for a quick fix that takes only 30 minutes or less!
Rice is extremely versatile so feel free to experiment with new ingredients until you find that one flavor that you cannot live without!
DISADVANTAGES OF RICE
1. Rice Is Sugar
Yes, we eat rice in Indonesia almost every day without knowing the fact that our favorite food contains high amounts of sugar which can cause serious health problems.
About one bowl of plain steamed white rice contains 20 grams of natural sugar such as glucose and fructose. While brown rice has a slightly lower amount, 15 gr, it still is above the daily recommended limit for an adult (12 gr).
In addition to eating rice not only through white and brown rice alone but also through other foods which contain both good carbohydrates such as beans and sweet carbohydrate like banana or pineapple which all make starch. Sugars contained in foods that are frequently eaten together may actually add up so be careful when choosing your dinner menu.
2. High Glycemic Index
Glucose and fructose are components of starch. They are absorbed into the bloodstream quickly, resulting in a sharp increase in blood sugar levels. This is called “high glycemic index”. For this reason, diabetics should avoid eating rice or at least consume it with some caution.
3. Low Fiber Content
Rice contains little fiber which is enough to make your stomach growl at night. Fiber gives you a feeling of fullness because it tends to absorb water when put in contact with stomach acid so that it takes more time to digest food and reduce the amount of insulin secreted by the pancreas (if you have type 2 diabetes, try brown rice). So, if you’re looking for something filling, choose brown rice based on its fiber content.
4. Lack Of Nutrients
Rice is a carbohydrate that leaves you feeling hungry and wanting to eat more (called “calorie dense”) since it contains little protein, fat and other essential nutrients.
5. Rice Is Not Really Organic
Though brown rice does have a slightly higher nutrient content compared to white rice, the latter is actually sprayed with pesticides that are prohibited in developed countries like Europe so be sure to buy imported ones if possible (quoted from Diet).
6. High Sodium Content
One bowl of white rice contains about 190 mg of sodium while an average diet should contain 2000-2300 mg per day according to World Health Organization or WHO for adults between 20 – 50 years but it is recommended to consume only 1,500 mg or less a day for anyone above that age.
8 grams of black rice contains more than 9400 mg which exceeds the daily limit by as much as 10 times! Better try something else if you want to avoid getting sick from high sodium intake in future. (Refer here: Fact and Fiction Behind Rice).
7. Low Energy Content
Compared to other foods such as meat which has 18 calories per gram, brown rice has no nutritional value at all with just 590 calories per 100 grams making it an empty food full of starch but low on nutrients (quoted from Diet). So we should not rely on rice alone to feed our body; otherwise we are likely to be malnourished.
HOW MUCH SHOULD I EAT OF IT A WEEK?
For the past few weeks, I’ve been getting this question from people obsessing about their health to the point of checking ingredients on everything they eat and drink.
The answer to this question is actually quite simple: for the vast majority of us who don’t suffer from gluten intolerance or carbohydrate overload, white rice is fine as long you’re not overdoing it. 1-2 servings a week is more than enough unless your body’s metabolism functions like that of an athlete in which case a bit extra won’t hurt.
If you want to be healthy (and don’t have celiac), starchy carbs in general are what will keep you going during difficult times and allow you get by your daily tasks with energy left-over.
To avoid getting too obsessive about checking every menu item for its carbohydrate content you can just go back to the basics and rely on your body’s innate mechanisms that let you know when you’re eating too few carbohydrates or, in most cases, too many.
Whenever you feel like having rice for lunch or dinner, ask yourself how energetic you are right now? If your body is craving it, then it’s probably because of a deficiency so go ahead and eat some. If not, then wait at least 1 hour and see if you still want it.
This technique will allow you to reduce the number of times per week (or even less) that you have rice while helping make sure that on those days when your body really needs carbs it gets them without denying itself all day long.
As I mentioned above, there are cases where a rice-free diet is the best choice you can make. If you get frequent headaches or stomachaches (or both) after eating rice or if you suffer from high blood pressure, then eliminating it should be your first choice over prescribing yourself medications that carry their own set of health risks.
The only case I have heard where cutting out starchy carbs was not useful was in an extremely overweight client who could not lose weight no matter how hard he tried to minimize his consumption.
Still, if you’re looking at taking up the low carb lifestyle for weight loss purposes and feel worried about how this will affect your much needed dose of energy, remember that most fat people have really bad metabolisms so even if they eat several servings of rice a day, they’re still not getting enough energy.
So, unless you have gluten intolerance or are trying to lose weight (or both), there is no reason why you should exclude white rice from your diet. If anything, it can help ensure that those few times per week when your body really needs some carbs don’t pass with you eating nothing but salad because pasta isn’t available at this hour of the night.
SO HAVE YOU FIND THE ANSWER FOR THE QUESTION “IS RICE GOOD FOR YOU”
Rice is a healthy food that can be enjoyed in moderation. It’s high in carbohydrates, but also contains vitamins and minerals. If you’re trying to lose weight or maintain your current weight, it may not be the best choice for a main dish on its own because of how many calories are contained within each serving size.
But when eaten as part of an overall balanced diet with other whole grains and vegetables, rice can contribute to maintaining health while enjoying favorite foods like sushi!