Facts About Rice And it’s Arsenic Content
Rice is a cereal widely consumed around the world especially in Asian countries. It is one of the most important grains regarding human nutrition. It is rich in minerals and vitamins, and gluten free.
The traditional method to cultivate rice is flooding the fields where the young seedlings have been planted.
There are three types of rice grains: long, medium and short. The long grain rice is the less sticky one when cooked. The medium grain rice can be more sticky and is usually used in dishes such as Paella. The short or roundish grain is usually more starchy and used in dishes such as Rice Pudding.
Rice is sold as brown rice when whole (only outer husks have been removed) and, together with the wild, red and black rice, considered the healthier types of rice (up till recently!). When the rice has been milled and polished it is sold as white rice. In some countries, such as USA, you can buy rice that has been parboiled, dried and enriched with more vitamins. This type of rice has a yellowish colour.
There is a new fact about rice which is not a trivial find. It is based on serious studies that have been made by medical corps and disclosed to the public in 2016. It has been found that all types of rice have Arsenic present in their grains. Arsenic is a poisonous element present in water, air and soil. It is naturally absorbed by many crops and foods but rice takes up arsenic from soil and water much more than other grains. Bulgur, barley and farro have very low levels and quinoa has less than rice.
We are told that some of the arsenic we ingest will leave our bodies in a few days but nevertheless we must be careful not to be exposed to high levels. ???????? U.K. And ???????? USA medical organisations recommend cooking rice in a way that dramatically reduces the arsenic content. But we should avoid feeding infants and young children any rice product (rice milk, rice cream, rice pudding) because even low levels of arsenic impact immune, growth and IQ developments. Same advice is valid for pregnant women.
This is how we should cook rice from now on:
1- If cooking rice by absorption, soak the rice in water for few hours, rinsing it and changing the water every now and then or preferably soak it overnight.
2- The second method consists in boiling the rice in plenty of water then draining all the water when the grains are tender. In this method too I would wash it and soak it too if possible before cooking it.
Knowing these facts about rice should not stop us eating it, now that we know how to treat it. And we can also replace sometimes rice with grains such as quinoa, barley, bulgur, couscous, spelt and buckwheat. They may also contain arsenic, but in much lower dose.
For more information, go to the following websites & search for “arsenic in rice” :