According to Statista, the human population consumed about 490.27 million metric tons of rice in the 2018/2019 crop year. More than 100 countries include rice in their everyday meals, and some serve it from breakfast to dinner. It’s high in calories and cheap, making it easily accessible to the larger public. Arguably, rice is one of the main sources of nutrition in the world. Be it the nutty flavor of brown rice or the milder version of white rice, rice is packed with nutrients.
There are only two species of cultivated rice in the world, Oryza sativa (Asian rice) and Oryza glaberrima (African rice). The former is grown worldwide, while the latter is grown in parts of West Africa. There are more than 40,000 varieties of this cereal grain, and they have differences in texture, aroma, sizes, and colors.
Of all grains, rice is the most important to human nutrition and caloric intake. If you consumed a hundred grams of cooked white rice, you will get 130 calories, 28.7 grams of carbohydrates, 2.4 grams of protein, and other beneficial nutrients. So what are its health benefits? Here are some of the reasons why you should start incorporating rice into your diet.
Good energy source
Carbohydrates are the brain’s number one fuel. By metabolizing them, they turn to usable energy, helping the body stay energized for hours. Rice is full of carbohydrates, which makes it the perfect food to get the fuel you need for the day. Combine it with the vitamins, minerals, and other organic components found in rice that increase the body’s metabolic activity, and you’re ensured of having a large boost in energy.
Decreases likelihood of heart disease
Studies state that whole grains help in lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease, which means you should opt for brown rice. New research states that 25 grams of whole grains a day cut the risk to about 15 percent. Other studies have said that daily consumption of three or more servings of whole grains reduces heart disease risk by up to 30 percent.
Helps prevent obesity
For those looking for an energizing food that won’t make you fat, rice is what you need, simply because there are low levels of harmful fats, sodium, and cholesterol in it. There’s a reason why many countries include rice in every meal because a small portion of it is enough to keep a person satiated.
Helps keeps blood pressure normal
Let’s talk about sodium. Those suffering from hypertension, strokes, heart attacks, and so on should keep salty foods to a minimum. Sodium constricts veins and arteries, which makes it worse for the cardiovascular system when blood pressure rises. Rice is low in sodium. So distance yourself from sodium-high foods and opt for rice instead.
Helps combat cancer
Brown rice ranks high as one of the healthiest rice variants. Containing rich insoluble fiber, it helps in the protection against different types of cancer. According to researchers, the insoluble fiber prevents the development and metastasis of cancer cells. This vital mineral defends your body from intestinal and colorectal cancer risks. Moreover, natural antioxidants such as vitamin A, vitamin C, flavonoids, and phenolic compounds are present in brown rice. You can rest assured that free radicals, which damage cells in your body, will be cleansed when you include brown rice in your daily meals.
As the most dominant cereal crop, the world will benefit from this nutritious food to combat global hunger and health issues. Start with yourself and include rice in your diet.