Mainly made up of starch, the different kinds of rice do not have the same nutritional values. Round grains have a higher glycemic index, and long grains, such as Thai or basmati rice, have better health benefits, as nutritionist explains.
In salads, with just a knob of butter, in risotto, or in sushi, rice remains a starchy food very popular with people all around the world, inexpensive despite the rise in cereal prices, and easy to prepare. Thirteen kilos of rice are thus consumed per inhabitant each year in Canada. At first glance, all the rice seems identical, but this is not the case, assures the nutritionists. There are different types of rice having varied nutritional values and tastes. Continue reading the article to get more insightful information about rice.
Are All Rice Equal?
Absolutely not, both in terms of their culinary and taste qualities and their nutritional value. Rice is mainly made up of starch. However, this complex carbohydrate comes in two forms: amylose and amylopectin. The more the grains are rich in amylopectin, the more they are sticky and the higher their glycemic index is; that is to say, they disturb the blood glucose level more, which increases the risk of diabetes and satiates less for a long time. This is the case of round or oval rice used for rice pudding, soups, paellas, or risottos, for example. Long-grain rice, such as Thai or basmati rice, contain more amylose. Thus, they are firmer after cooking, are digested more slowly, and cause less fluctuation in blood sugar, which gives them better nutritional benefits.
What about So-Called Unstickable or Quick-Cooking Rice?
Their pale yellow, slightly translucent beans have undergone steaming: they have been subjected to high-pressure steam before being dried and then shelled. This process makes it possible to obtain rice that does not stick during cooking because the starch molecules are amalgamated between them. They do not gelatinize. In addition to their faster cooking, the advantage is nutritional insofar as the parboiling allows many vitamins and minerals present in the envelope of the grains to diffuse inside. But be careful: parboiled white rice must be chosen organic because the pesticides also migrate into the grains during the heat treatment. On the other hand, we do not recommend pan-fried rice, whose production involves a “puffing” stage, as for breakfast cereals. This has the effect of increasing the glycemic index, which is generally harmful to health.
Isn’t Brown Rice The Best Option?
It is indeed the most interesting because the best provided with fibres and micronutrients insofar as the envelope and the bran of the grains are preserved. At the same number of calories, brown rice contains two to three times more zinc and B vitamins than white rice and 6 to 8 times more magnesium and iron. But not everyone appreciates it, and its cooking time remains long (40 minutes on average). A good compromise is a semi-complete rice or pre-cooked complete organic rice. The latter has kept its nutritional qualities because the pre-cooking is done at a low temperature. To better control your blood sugar, the other trick is to mix rice and legumes (lentils, split peas, etc.), especially if you eat little or no meat because this combination guarantees significant and balanced protein intake.
Winter medicine and Western medicine appreciate the value of brown rice. The transition from brown rice to white rice lost 67% vitamin B3, 80% vitamin B1, and 90% vitamin B6.
Selenium-rich brown rice reduces the risk of developing common diseases like cancer, heart disease, and arthritis.
High manganese (a mineral) in brown rice: One cup of brown rice provides 80% of daily manganese requirements, which is beneficial for the nervous system.
The Nutritional Benefits of Rice
Rice contains many nutrients. It is a cereal rich in starch, carbohydrates, and, therefore, energy. Rice is an excellent fuel for the human body. In addition, it is anti-diarrheal because its starch is a very good water absorber.
Low in fat, rich in proteins of vegetable origin, and low in sodium, rice is, however, an important source of minerals (magnesium, phosphorus, selenium, manganese).
An important source of fibre, especially in brown rice. Acceleration of intestinal transit.
The vitamins present in rice are in low quantity. However, they are essentially like those of groups B (B1 and B2).
How to Identify Good Quality Rice?
- The rice tooth must be visible.
The presence of “the tooth of rice” at the top of the grain of rice indicates that the rice has been machined gently and that, thus, the rice will have preserved its intrinsic qualities as much as possible.
- The rice should not be cut.
This means that the milling has been too rough, and this results in rice that will cook faster than other grains of rice!
- There should be no breakage.
Indeed, broken rice is a by-product of rice used in animal feed. When there is too much brokenness, the texture of the rice after cooking is pasty!
World Rice Consumption
It varies across the world depending on traditions, eating habits, and food availability. It goes from 12 kg per year per inhabitant in developed countries to 70 kg on average in developing countries, or about 60 kg per year and per person worldwide.
We reach some 188 kg/year in Burma, more than 90 kg in China, 155 kg in Vietnam, against only 14.5 kg in Portugal, 6 kg in Italy, and 4.5 kg in France.
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