One of the staple crops, the paddy harvest plays a major role in shaping the outcome of a number of lives. It might have gotten a bad rap over the past few years, but rice can still do great things for your body; it’s quick energy that gives you plenty of fibre and nutrition, while helping to regulate your bowel movements. On top of that, rice can help people who suffer from high blood pressure or those seeking to lose weight. With more than 40,000 different varieties, it’s important to pick a grain that suits your body and palate. Some types of rice are starchier than others; some keep you satiated longer. These are split into refined and unrefined categories. Whole grain rice retains the bulk of the food’s nutrition; white rice has been processed to remove the bran or husk, leaving it with a lower nutritional value but making it cheaper. Check out what certain types of rice can do for you.
Because it’s one of the most carbohydrate-heavy foods, rice is prime fuel for body and mind. This essential molecule is converted by your metabolic processes into energy that you need to function throughout the day. This is a key reason that rice forms the basis of diets around the world, especially among the working class who rely on manual labour for their bread and butter. Full of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients, rice facilitates better organ function across the board.
Lacking fat and cholesterol, rice is crucial to anyone who needs a diet to help keep those components in check. Foods that can provide nutritional value without any unwanted side effects aren’t uncommon, but few of them are as versatile and as delicious as rice. Despite what you may have heard from some studies, rice is one of the world’s staples because it helps you stay healthy, especially when consumed in moderation.
Take it easy
Because it’s low in sodium, rice is well-suited to people with high blood pressure, which is aggravated by excessive salt consumption. Sodium can force your veins and arteries to constrict, upping the stress load on your cardiovascular system by increasing blood pressure. A similar situation can exist with your heart, as well as related ailments such as atherosclerosis and stroke.
Whole grain rice is packed with fibre and antioxidants that can reduce your risk of many forms of cancer, including colon, rectal and stomach cancer. This insoluble fibre can stop both the development of cancerous cells and metastasis, while its antioxidant content stimulates your body’s immune system to seek out and destroy free radicals, the by-products of metabolism that facilitate cancerous mutation.
So soft, so smooth
In some of our recent issues, we’ve written about taking care of your skin. Did you know that rice can be used as a topical treatment for some dermatological problems? In fact, water infused with rice starch is used in Ayurveda to reduce inflammation and redness. Whether ingested or applied, the substances in rice, such as phenolic compounds, can alleviate a number of problems. At the same time, its rich antioxidant content can delay the onset of wrinkles and dryness.
The husk of rice is widely used across much of Africa, Asia and South America as a solid first-line treatment for dysentery, diarrhoea and constipation. It increases your appetite, alleviates stomach ailments and reduces all but the most severe digestive issues, say the Chinese. Rice husk also has diuretic properties, so look to it if you want to shed water weight or get rid of toxic compounds (such as excess uric and lactic acid). Coming back to the insoluble fibre that staves off the development of cancer, it can also go a long way in improving the regularity and quality of your bowel movements.
From the heart
As with any good food, rice is beneficial in a variety of forms. Take rice bran oil, which is rich in antioxidants that lower your overall cholesterol levels, enhancing cardiovascular strength. Remember, whole grain varieties (wild, red, brown) are infinitely superior in this task, since it’s in the husk that you’ll find the bulk of rice’s nutritional content.
Consume rice in moderation, as part of a diet that includes lots of fruits, vegetables and lean protein.