Rice – A low-calorie filler

“May your rice never burn!” is a Chinese New Year wish. It shows that rice as a grain is of enormous importance, especially in Asia. In Asia, around 80 percent of all food consists of rice, which is why the words for food and rice are the same in many Asian languages. But while in China more than 90 kilograms of rice are consumed per capita every year, in Germany it is just over three kilograms. Rice is an extremely healthy food: Since it contains many complex carbohydrates, rice keeps you full for a long time, but still has few calories.

Rice: Full of carbohydrates

Along with wheat, rye, oats  , barley, corn and  millet, rice  is  one of the top seven grains. Rice is obtained from the rice plant (Oryza sativa). Cultivated rice plants can grow up to 1.60 meters tall and bear up to 3,000 fruits. There are now over 8,000 different types of rice worldwide.

The ingredients of rice depend on the respective variety, but also on different environmental conditions and cultivation techniques. What all varieties have in common, however, is that rice consists largely of carbohydrates. 100 grams of rice contain an average of 77.8 grams of carbohydrates. Due to the many carbohydrates, rice is an important supplier of energy.

In addition, 100 grams of rice are made up of 12.9 grams of water, 0.6 grams of fat and 6.8 grams of protein.

Valuable source of protein and potassium

The protein in rice is particularly valuable for us humans because the proteins are made up of essential  amino acids  that the body cannot produce itself. Rice also  contains dietary fiber  and  minerals  such as magnesium,  ironzinc  and  potassium  . The high potassium content ensures that the body is drained and purged. This promotes the  metabolism  and puts less strain on the heart and circulation.

A portion of rice also provides us with important vitamins, especially vitamin E and various vitamins from the B group. The vitamins from the B group are responsible, among other things, for the smooth functioning of our nervous system.

Cultivation and production of rice

Rice is now mainly grown in China, India and other areas in Southeast Asia. More than 95 percent of the world’s rice production comes from these areas.

After harvesting, the rice is threshed and then the water content is reduced. Then the husks are removed. What remains is the so-called peeled rice, which consists of endosperm, germ and silver skin. The seedling and silver skin can also be removed by grinding. Finally, to produce the best-selling white rice, the grains must be polished with glucose and talc.

In general, it should be noted that unpeeled rice has a significantly higher nutritional value than white rice, which is at the end of the production chain. Because vitamins in rice are mainly found in the silver skin, which is removed during grinding. When combined with other foods such as fish, meat or vegetables, rice remains an important and low-fat food.

Rice is good for the line

Since rice contains a lot of carbohydrates but only little protein and fat, the grain is easily digestible and its consumption hardly puts a strain on the organism. Due to the many complex carbohydrates that can only be processed slowly in the body, rice also ensures a long-lasting feeling of satiety.

Since rice fills you up for a long time, but does not make you fat, rice is also   suitable for diets . On average, 100 grams of rice contain more than 300 calories, but the calorie information refers to raw and not to cooked rice. 100 grams of cooked rice only have a little over 100 calories. The same portion of pasta, on the other hand, has around twice as many calories.

 However, rice is not only ideal for diets, but also for people who suffer from  celiac disease . In contrast to other grains such as rye or wheat, rice  does not contain gluten.

Wholemeal rice with lots of fiber

Unpeeled rice also has the advantage that it stimulates digestion due to its high fiber content. Dietary fibers are predominantly indigestible food components. They swell up in the stomach and thus ensure a stronger feeling of satiety.

Therefore, people who incorporate rice into their diet plan should buy whole grain rice if possible, as it contains a particularly large amount of fiber. As the fiber swells, the volume of the chyme increases. This intensifies the stimulus that is exerted on the intestinal walls and stimulates intestinal activity.

Enjoy rice in moderation

However, as healthy as rice is in itself, it should only be consumed in moderation. Various studies have shown that rice and rice products such as rice cakes or rice flakes  can have a relatively high level of inorganic arsenic  . This is considered carcinogenic and should therefore be consumed in the smallest possible amounts.

The arsenic gets into the rice via contaminated water or soil. The arsenic load therefore varies depending on the growing area, but also on the type of rice and processing – even organic rice can contain arsenic.

Nevertheless, the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment advises  not to remove rice from the menu.  Limit values ​​for the maximum permissible arsenic content in rice and rice products help to reduce arsenic exposure. Above all, however, it is important to eat a balanced and varied diet and not to feed small children exclusively rice. Possible alternatives to rice are, for example, millet,  bulguramaranth  or polenta.

To reduce arsenic levels in rice, it is also recommended that the rice be washed before cooking and boiled in plenty of water, which is then discarded.

Delicious recipes with rice

In many Asian cultures, rice is a symbol of life and fertility. For example, the custom of throwing rice at a bridal couple on their wedding day comes from China. Apart from such rituals, rice is usually only used in the kitchen.

Rice is used as a side dish for many dishes. It can be prepared quickly and easily. In 10 or 20 minutes, the rice will practically cook itself. For many dishes, however, rice is also mixed with other ingredients and then fried. The most well-known rice dishes include paella, risotto and sushi.

However, rice is also used to make liquids. Rice wine or rice milk is also made from rice. In Southeast Asia, rice is even used to make beer. In addition to the rice fruit, some other components of the rice plant are also used. However, this is not used in food production, but in other areas: The soft rice straw is used in East Asia for the production of shoes and hats and the husks of the rice grain are used as mattress filling.

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