Rice is quite affordable and easily accessible; no wonder it is one of the most consumed staple foods all over the world. Of the many types of rice that exist, there are two popular species which are the Asian and Australian rice, with the scientific names, Oryza sativa and Oryza glaberrima respectively. Rice is cooked in many different ways all over the world, however, all of these varieties of rice have common health benefits. Let’s take a look.
Health Benefits of Rice
It Provides Energy
Rice contains carbohydrate, which is a major source of energy for the body. It also works as fuel for the brain. So for your body and brain to work excellently, consider rice as your go-to food.
It is Great for the Heart
Rice reduces the rate of atherosclerotic plaque deposits inside blood vessel walls and reduces the risk of a stroke and heart attack. Brown rice is particularly great for heart health.
Rice Prevents Constipation
People who suffer constipation do so sometimes due to their low fiber intake. Rice is packed with fiber which aids stool excretion and keeps constipation far away. Regular consumption of water is also vital to preventing constipation.
It Reduces Cancer Risk
Rice contains a lot of fiber, and fiber is essential in promoting speedy passage of waste through the intestinal tract. Studies show that fiber-rich meals reduce the risk of cancer.
It Strengthens the Immune System
Rice contains magnesium, which is vital for enzymatic processes. Rice also aids the growth of probiotics in the intestines, hence keeping infections at bay.
It Improves the Nervous System
Rice contains B vitamins which are responsible for the health of the nervous system. These vitamins are essential for the production of neurotransmitters which are key in certain biological processes.
Rice Controls Blood Sugar Levels
The husk of rice grains contains enough fiber to slow down the entry of glucose into the blood. This, to some extent, controls blood sugar. Inasmuch as white rice does this well, brown rice is super at controlling blood sugar.
Rice is Diuretic
Rice helps in the passage of urine, making it good for the kidneys. It also has a low sodium level. What’s more? It’s great for maintaining normal blood pressure.
Brown Rice Contains Selenium
Selenium is key for metabolism, enhancing male sexual health, reducing the possibility of DNA mutations, reducing the risk of cancer, and loads of other functions. Every time you eat brown rice, you put some selenium in your body.
It Prevents Obesity
Rice has low levels of cholesterol, fat, and sodium, hence it prevents obesity.
It is Great for the Skin
Did you know that if you apply powdered rice topically, you get to cure some skin ailments? Rice has phenolic compounds which are anti-inflammatory, making them perfect for soothing skin redness and irritation. What’s more? Whether eaten or applied topically, rice has substances that relieve a number of other skin conditions.
It Prevents Alzheimer’s Disease
There are loads of nutrients in rice which enhance the growth and activities of neurotransmitters, hence preventing Alzheimer’s disease. Rice also hinder the effects of free radicals and dangerous toxins that may cause dementia.
Side Effects of Rice
Risk of Type-2 Diabetes
Excessive consumption of rice is linked with type 2 diabetes, due to a high glycemic index.
Harm from Heavy Metals
Consuming food crops such as rice that are grown in highly polluted industrial or mining areas can be quite harmful. This is because excessive amounts of certain heavy metals from soil, water, industries, waste, pesticides, and fertilizers may be present in them. Rice particularly accumulates some amounts of arsenic and mercury.
You might want to be careful about selecting the rice you eat, based on its source. You should also eat rice in moderation.
White Rice Vs Brown Rice: Which is Healthier?
Brown rice contains the nutritious germ, the fibrous bran, and the carb-rich endosperm, making it a whole grain, and healthier than white rice. The bran and germ in white rice are already removed. This means it has lost its most nutritious parts. So what’s left in white rice, really? Just a few nutrients, when compared to white rice.
Benefits of Rice for Pregnant Women
Asides the general benefits and side effects already mentioned, it is important we discuss how pregnant women benefit from rice, as certain benefits are peculiar to them. Let`s take a look.
Enhances Brain Development
Brown rice is packed with neurotransmitter nutrients which enhance the cognitive functions of infants and fetus. For healthy development of your expected baby`s brain, do consume some rice during pregnancy.
Prevents Risk of Urinogenital Infections
Rice prevents the risk of urinogenital infections in pregnant women who consume it regularly. Urinogenital infections are non-sexually transmitted infections, such as urinary tract infections (UTI) and yeast vaginitis. These infections can cause lots of complications during pregnancy.
Strengthens Bones and Teeth
Rice is quite rich in vitamin D, riboflavin, and thiamine. Also, rice is packed with minerals such as calcium, iron, and fiber. Regular consumption of rice during pregnancy ensures you have strong bones and teeth. This also applies to the bones of the fetus.
Side Effects of Eating Rice During Pregnancy
Just as there are benefits, rice consumption during pregnancy also has side effects, many of which are as a result of excessive consumption. What are these side effects? Let`s take a look.
It May Cause Obesity
Excessive consumption of rice during pregnancy may add to your weight and lead to obesity if you don’t take caution. Moderation is key in consuming rice.
It May Cause Gestational Diabetes
Gestational diabetes is a condition in which a woman who does not have diabetes experiences high blood sugar levels during pregnancy, hence diabetes. White rice, in particular, has a high glycemic index. It boosts blood glucose levels and causes gestational diabetes in the process. To avoid gestational diabetes, ensure you don`t eat rice excessively.
It Contains Arsenic
Rice contains some amounts of arsenic which may be harmful if consumed in excess. It may cause premature birth or birth of a stillborn. Be careful not to consume rice in excess.
Amazing Rice Facts
Here we`ll discuss some fascinating facts about rice which you probably never knew.
- Rice provides about one-quarter of global per capita human energy.
- Over 500 million hectares worldwide is used for rice cultivation. That’s about 11% of the world’s arable land.
- There have been written documents on rice since 2,800 BC.
- Paper, straws, ropes, wine, beer, crackers, cosmetics, toothpaste, and loads of other things are made from rice and its by-products.
- In some rural Asian areas, rice is used to pay debts.
- There are over 40,000 varieties of rice all over the world.
- Rice is the staple diet of over 3 billion people worldwide.
- The Chinese word for “rice” and “food” are the same.
- Rice swells to at least three times its original weight when cooked.
Now That You Know…
You probably never gave this often eaten food a thought. You probably never knew more than the fact that it contains carbohydrate. Bow you know so much about rice generally, and for pregnant women. So what will you do differently? One fascinating thing about rice is that you can cook it in many different ways to enjoy its benefits. Remember that moderation is highly important in eating rice.