What Kind Of Rice Is Best?
Written by: Lindsay Sibson
I like to eat EVERYTHING.
My Italian boyfriend, not so much. He loves to eat “white things…” bread, chicken, potatoes and rice.
Since we eat many meals together, my consumption of white rice has increased, which has me wondering… HOW healthy is it?
Let’s take a look at what kind of rice is BEST.
Rice has been around for thousands of years and is one of the most important staple foods in the world! With 20% of the world’s food energy coming from rice, it is a $2.2 billion a year industry in just the U.S.
Most of the rice (about 90%) is produced in the Asia-Pacific region:
There are 40,000 types of rice to choose from! Long/medium/short grain white, brown rice, yellow, purple, black, red… each vary in their texture and flavor.
Plain white rice tends to be the cheapest, whereas the aromatic version can cost twice as much.
The common belief is that brown rice is more healthy for you than white, which can be true. HOWEVER, you must take into consideration HOW the rice is grown and the journey it has to go through to get to your dinner table.
Wild Rice Provides Superior Macronutrients Compared To White
- More extensive nutritional profile overall
- Provides more thiamin (25% of recommended daily value), folic acid and calcium
- Fewer calories and carbohydrates
- 10% of the daily value in vitamin B6, niacin and folate, 8% in riboflavin
- 3 times the fiber of white rice
- Higher quality and quantity of protein due to essential amino acid content
- Rich in minerals – 15% of phosphorus, zinc and magnesium
If you are interested in losing weight, wild rice is the best choice, because it can make you feel full for longer periods of time.
How Does Brown Rice Stack Up To White Rice?
Brown rice offers the following nutritional profile (in a 1 cup serving):
- 10% daily recommended protein
- 14% daily fiber
- Healthy amounts of phosphorus, niacin, thiamin, vitamin B6, selenium, magnesium and thiamin
- 88% of daily recommended manganese
- Turns carbohydrates and proteins into energy
- Supports your nervous system
- Produces cholesterol to make sex hormones
- Protects cells from free radical damage
What other advantages do the nutrients in brown rice have for your body?
Researchers at Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) stated:
“Brown rice is beneficial to the cardiovascular system, digestive system, brain and nervous system. It is loaded with powerful antioxidants which provide relief from a range of ailments such as hypertension, unhealthy levels of cholesterol, stress, mental depression and skin disorders.
High nutritional content in brown rice proves effective in various medical conditions such as cancer, obesity, diabetes, neurodegenerative disorders and insomnia. It has antidepressant properties and helps maintain healthy bones and stronger immune system.”
A Terrifying Tale: ‘Arsenic And Today’s Rice’
Reports released in 2012 declared that arsenic had been found in grape and apple juice. As a result, Consumer Reports launched an investigation and ran tests on rice:
“In virtually every product tested, we found measurable amounts of total arsenic in its two forms. We found significant levels of inorganic arsenic, which is a carcinogen, in almost every product category, along with organic arsenic, which is less toxic but still of concern. Moreover, the foods we checked are popular staples, eaten by adults and children alike.”
Furthermore, a study by the EPA conducted in 2009/2010 found rice as having a 17% inorganic arsenic level, which is slightly behind fruit and fruit juices at 18%, and vegetables at 24%.
Yet, you shouldn’t be worried, according to the USA Rice Federation, because they state that inorganic arsenic is a “natural substance.” SAY WHAT? Are they crazy?
On the contrary, the Consumer Reports articles maintain that:
“Inorganic arsenic, the predominant form of arsenic in most of the 65 rice products we analyzed, is ranked by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) as one of more than 100 substances that are Group 1 carcinogens. It is known to cause bladder, lung and skin cancer in humans, with the liver, kidney and prostate now considered potential targets of arsenic-induced cancers.”
If that wasn’t scary enough, the Center for Public Integrity has reported:
“EPA scientists have concluded that if 100,000 women consumed the legal limit of arsenic each day, 730 of them eventually would get lung or bladder cancer.”
How Did Arsenic Get Into The Rice?
In two words… contaminated soils.
Food production today is a far cry from the local, sustainable farm model. Instead, farming operations often use harmful toxins to increase their yield. Pesticides and herbicides often litter farming fields, which sadly contaminates the soils… and your food.
“Rice absorbs arsenic from soil or water much more effectively than most plants. That’s in part because it is one of the only major crops grown in water-flooded conditions, which allow arsenic to be more easily taken up by its roots and stored in the grains… (The) south-central region of the country has a long history of producing cotton, a crop that was heavily treated with arsenical pesticides for decades in part to combat the boll weevil beetle.” – Consumer Reports
Follow the following guidelines when selecting and eating rice:
- Purchase organic varieties: white, brown, or wild rice.
- If not sure of the source, limit your consumption to 2 servings per week.
- Check to make sure it is not genetically modified and is free of pesticides and chemical additives.
These 3 tips will help minimize your risk of arsenic exposure.
It’s time to clear out those cabinets of any questionable rice and head to the market to buy an organic variety.
Next, help keep others safe by sharing this article NOW.
Lindsay Sibson turned her lifelong dream of traveling the world into a reality when she first stepped on a plan in April of 2014. With the simple intention of learning more about this beautiful world, she stepped away from corporate America to explore an alternative lifestyle of long term international travel, volunteering, blogging and pursuing a blissfully happy and fulfilling way of life.
Lindsay documents her journey in hopes of empowering others to find their passion, reignite their spark and freshen their outlook on life. Connect with her on her website and follow her travels on Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/_traveloholic_).
Through her blog, Lindsay documents her journey in hopes of empowering others to find their passion, reignite their spark and freshen their outlook on life.
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