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White Rice

by Shalini Singh

White rice is the queen of controversial food in nutrition circles.

Some nutritionists call it an empty source of calories and recommend avoiding it, whilst others consider it a safe starch and say it is ok in moderation.

Rice is not only a staple food around the world but is symbolic of fertility, health and wealth in many cultures across countries. In our own country it is a traditional custom to throw rice at a newlywed couple, symbolizing wishes for fertility and prosperity. In ancient Hinduism, it is believed that Lord Vishnu caused the Earth to give birth to rice, and that the god Indra taught the people how to raise it. Rice is used for worship, and colored powdered rice is used to create beautiful works of art in the form of mandalas in the Far East. In all of these cultures, rice is treated with reverence and associated with elaborate planting rituals.

While research in the West gives high scores to brown rice for its bran and fiber content, our traditional foods recommend white rice (unpolished )  That is because rice is easy on the digestive system. Ayurveda regards it as ‘Saatvic’ or pure, is very high on prana or vital life energy,” It promotes the growth of body tissues.

Brown rice being full of phytates and lectins bind to vitamins and minerals and prevent absorption.

the age old dietary debate of “isn’t brown rice more nutrient dense than white?” and the answer is a clear “No”.

To clarify this better, don’t eat rice because of it’s nutrient profile, rice in general is not a good source of vitamins or minerals. Rice is an easily absorbable form of glucose, which is why you can  eat rice after a workout. While brown rice is slightly higher on the vitamin and mineral front, you have to consider that it is loaded with phytates, meaning these vitamins and minerals are not fully absorbed. The traditional way of eating rice with dal & ghee is still one of the best way to have it, lowers the glycemic index ( because of ghee ) and feels extremely satiating . So my advice is definitely make rice a part of your diet .

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Shalini has diversified her study and researches food, bioengineering of foods using technology to generate nutrient dense foods, human anatomy at a cellular level, and the real impact of exercise on muscular ageing.


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