Rice is the most widely consumed staple food in most parts of the world, especially in Asia. It is the third-highest produced agricultural commodity and is available in different varieties. While there are more than 40,000 varieties of cultivated rice, over 90,000 varieties of cultivated and wild species of rice are stored at the International Rice Gene Bank and used by researchers worldwide.
Any rice has three edible parts namely the bran, the germ and the endosperm. Although we feel brown rice is synonymous with whole grain rice, most of them look similarly white once the bran and the germ portions are removed. Each variety of rice has its own nutritional profile, benefits and different processing methods, but the most popular ones include white and brown rice. Even with umpteen varieties available, still white rice is the most commonly consumed rice type feeding over half the global population contributing to one-fifth of their calories consumed.
Red, Brown, Purple and More…
The nutritional value of any rice differs according to the soil used to grow the rice, polishing or processing methods used, the way it is enriched and finally the preparation method used to cook the rice. The first step after harvesting any rice is to remove the hull from it to make the rice edible. Further milling can remove the bran and germ portion giving you the most-popular white rice.
Color, Color What Color Do You Choose?
The staple food of different Asian countries, white rice is the result of removal of the husk, bran and germ which also removes many of the key nutrients such as vitamins, iron, zinc and magnesium. Further, short-grain white rice has a high glycemic index making it disadvantageous to health. Still, white rice is extremely versatile and used in innumerable international dishes.
Parboiled rice gets its name so because it is partially boiled in the husk. This step makes it almost 80 percent similar to brown rice with better fiber, calcium and potassium content than white rice. It contains a lower glycemic index than white rice and can be used as a replacement for white rice, with better nutrients.
Brown rice is produced when only the outermost layer of a grain of rice (the husk) is removed. It undergoes minimal processing retaining most of the nutrients like calcium, magnesium, thiamine, potassium, fiber and protein. Having a shelf life of almost 6 months, it needs longer cooking time.
Black or Purple Rice
A spoonful of black rice provides you more antioxidants than blueberries with less sugar and more fiber. The black rice turns deep purple after cooking because of the anthocyanin (antioxidant) content. Black rice is also rich in iron and vitamin E.
Red rice also derives its color from anthocyanins, like black rice. This antioxidant safeguards our body against heart diseases, diabetes and cancer. Research has proved red rice to be the best among all rice types for its rich nutrition content. It has got 10 times the antioxidant content of brown rice and contributes to almost 20 percent of the daily values of magnesium, phosphorus and molybdenum.
Germinated Brown Rice
Germinated brown rice is usually soaked in water between 8 and 24 hours to trigger germination. This increases the nutritional value and also helps to decrease oxidative stress.
Ready to Shift Gears?
It is clearly identified that colored rice has better health potential than white rice. Nutrition studies quote that the pigment in red and black rice are protective against chronic diseases. Certain studies reveal that the rice bran provides protection against cancers of the breast, lungs, colorectal and liver. The phytochemicals present in the rice bran protect against tissue damage by free radicals.
There are also specialty rices such as basmati, jasmine, japonica and risotto. Providing 20% of the world’s dietary energy supply, every 100 grams of cooked white rice supplies 130 calories. Being the most important plant-based food, it can be consumed along with fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes.
Get in touch with a registered dietitian nutritionist at www.firsteatright.com to plan the correct rice portions that can be incorporated in your daily diet schedule for a healthy meal.
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.