In an American setting as well as other Western cultures, rice is not considered a part of the daily menu. However, in most Asian countries, rice is always a part of every meal. Rice is usually combined with other types of viands in a typical Asian dish. Aside from this, rice is also used in a lot of recipes such as the Japanese Maki and the Philippine kakanin or rice cakes or desserts. However, there are also some people who question rice because of its nutritional value for the body and high calorie content. But is rice good for you?
Discovering More about Rice
There are actually many types or variety of rice. However, one of the most common and most used types is none other than the white rice. White rice is a type of rice wherein the brown bran covering of it has been removed. Some say that because of the process of removing the brown bran covering, the nutrients that comes along with the rice also becomes lost in the process. However, if the brown bran is left intact, then it is already called the brown rice. The brown rice is recognized as the most nutritious type of rice. It is considered healthier compared to the white rice since it is not yet stripped of from its raw components. But what are the different nutrients that we could get from eating either brown rice or white rice?
• Carbohydrates – rice is the number source of carbohydrates in most Asian countries. Carbohydrates are very essential for the body’s requirement of energy thus keeping us satiated throughout the day. This is the reason why rice is considered the staple food of most Asian people. However, brown rice is known to have more staple carbohydrates compared to white rice. A continuous consumption of this can help make us energized all day long.
• Fiber – fiber is another component that is rich in rice. A cup of brown rice can actually provide 3 and half grams of our daily required fiber for the body. An average man needs approximately 25 to 30 grams of fiber as part of the daily diet. White rice on the other hand only contains a gram of fiber since the bran covering is already stripped off. Nevertheless, individuals with weak intestines are required to have less fiber since an increase of fiber in the body can basically cause damage to the intestinal lining.
• Low in Glycemic Index or GI – rice is considered low in glycemic index which makes it break down very slowly in the body and release gradually the glucose content during the process. This helps us in providing the needed spurts of energy throughout the day rather than the huge burst of energy all in one time.
• Rich in Other Nutrients – Aside from the ones mentioned above, rice is also rich in many other nutrients. Rice also contains minerals such as zinc, magnesium and manganese. It is also a rich source of iron, protein, vitamin B3 or niacin, vitamin B1 or thiamine and other essential fatty acids. Other countries even implement the fortification of rice with different minerals in order to enhance its benefits for the body.
Rice is also known for many other health benefits such as zero cholesterol, low fat content, very low in sugar, low in salt, no gluten (for people with celiac disease) and no added artificial preservatives. In addition to these, rice is also a perfect food for people who are prone to food allergies and wheat intolerance. Rice can reduce the chances of cancer for up to 31%. The only thing that makes other people hesitant in eating rice is that it can make our stomachs feel full. Rice causes the stomach to expand due to the large amount of water it contains. Because of this, the blood supply in the body will be more directed to the stomach making us feel drowsy and sleepy all the time. Aside from this, the high content of carbohydrates in rice can also mean high amounts of calories. This makes rice an unfavorable food for those who are on a diet and are shape conscious. Nevertheless, these are just very superficial excuses of not eating rice amidst all the wonderful benefits that it could bring to our body.
Another great thing about rice is that it can be prepared in many different ways. Cooking rice is a lot easier than baking bread or creating mashed potatoes. All we need is to submerge a cup of rice grains with water (half an inch deep) before bringing it to boil until all the water is gone. Once done, we can already serve rice as part of our meal. In addition to this, no medical problems are associated with rice. This only shows how good rice, specifically brown rice, is for the health. Nevertheless, this must still be taken in moderation.