The wonders of natural rice but don't be fooled by the genetically engineered "golden" variety
Rice is said to be consumed daily by two thirds of the world’s population and forms a staple food for people in many countries, especially in Asia. It grows on all continents of the globe except Antarctica and it is claimed that one seed of rice can grow 3,000 grains of rice, in fact, it grows more grain than any other cereal grain.
BENEFITS OF RICE
Although it is well known that rice is a very nutritious food to get the full benefit of this wonder food it must be eaten unpolished, that is unprocessed. The form that we in the West know best is brown rice, so called because of its off-white colour. There are, of course, other strains and colours of rice such as black, red and purple varieties, each prevalent in different parts of the world. Unpolished rice is rich in minerals that are essential for good health and one of the most important is selenium, a mineral that is often in short supply in the modern daily diet. This rice can reduce the risk of developing common diseases such as cancer, heart disease and arthritis. It is also high in manganese, a mineral that helps the body to synthesize fats and benefits the nervous and reproductive systems. It is claimed that one cup of unpolished rice can provide 80% of the daily manganese requirements and in addition it contains naturally occurring oils that are beneficial to the body.
IMPROVES TRANSIT TIME
Unpolished rice is considered a whole grain since it has not been through the refining process. It is rich in anti-oxidants, a term that describes substances that protect cells in your body from free radical damage that can occur as a result of exposure to certain chemicals, smoking, pollution, radiation and as a byproduct of normal metabolism. When it is unrefined, rice is high in natural fibre which is very important to prevent diseases of the intestine, especially diverticular disease which can lead to bowel cancer. The fibre helps to keep bowel function regular and improves the transit time, that is the time it takes for food to pass through the digestive system. The average transit time in native populations is 12 to 18 hours whereas in more developed countries it is usually between 48 to 72 hours and often a great deal longer. The longer the food stays in the gut the more likely it is for toxins to build up in the intestine and cause problems.
HELPFUL FOR DIABETICS
Unpolished rice is a slow release energy food that helps stabilize blood sugar levels. It is also very satisfying which means smaller meal portions and so is an excellent food choice for people with diabetes. Studies show that those who consume one half cup of unpolished rice daily reduce their risk of developing diabetes by 60%. On the other hand, those who regularly consume white rice, often referred to as ‘polished rice,’ actually increase their chances of developing diabetes one hundred-fold.
TACKLING THE PROBLEM OF VITAMIN 'A' DEFICIENCY
Unfortunately, one of the essential vitamins that the rice grain does not contain is vitamin A, and so people who obtain most of their calories from rice could be at risk of vitamin A deficiency and this was when the powerful agrochemical companies, such as Monsanto, seized the opportunity to introduce their genetically modified (GM)‘golden rice’; so called because of it’s saffron gold colour. This is a rice variety developed by the bio-tech industry to produce pro-vitamin A (beta-carotene). Those who promote genetic engineering portray GM 'Golden' rice as a technical, quick-fix solution to Vitamin A deficiency that can be a health problem in many developing countries as it can cause blindness. However, not only is GM 'Golden' rice an ineffective tool to combat Vitamin A deficiency but it is also environmentally irresponsible because of the high levels of glyphosate needed to control weeds. Glyphosate (read more) is a poison and has been shown to destroy the micro-organisms in the soil and pose grave risks to human health.
There are other far more effective, simple and safer ways to remedy vitamin A deficiency such as encouraging people to grow their own vegetables and eat a more varied diet.
EXPLAINING TYPES OF VITAMIN A
Vitamin A exists in two different types, one is pre-formed vitamin A, known as retinol, that is found in animal products such as eggs, meat, milk, cheese, cream, liver, kidney, cod, and halibut fish oil. The other most common type, pro-vitamin A, known as beta-carotene, is found in plant-based foods such as bright yellow and orange fruit and
vegetables such as carrots, pumpkin, sweet potatoes and winter squash. The more intense the colour of a fruit or vegetable the higher the beta-carotene content. Other sources of beta-carotene include broccoli, spinach and most dark green, leafy vegetables.
SIMPLE, SAFE, CHEAP SOLUTION
In the days before the giant chemical companies tried to convince everyone that GM food was the only way to feed the world, aid workers in developing countries used to persuade villagers to keep hens. They would start them off with say, half a dozen young hens and a cockerel and thereafter the supply of chickens and eggs was self-perpetuating. Vitamin A in the diet was assured from both the eggs and the chicken flesh. Eggs are a rich source of vitamins, minerals, high quality proteins, good fats and various other lesser-known nutrients.
One large egg contains:
* Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin): 9% of the RDA.( recommended daily amount)
* Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin): 15% of the RDA.
* Vitamin A: 6% of the RDA.
* Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid): 7% of the RDA.
* Selenium: 22% of the RDA.
Eggs also contain small amounts of almost every vitamin and mineral required by the human body including calcium, iron, potassium, zinc, manganese, vitamin E, folate and many more.
DANGERS OF FOOD ADULTERATION
Modern ‘quick fix’ solutions can often lead to unexpected and far reaching adverse results, some of them disastrous to our health. Surgeon Captain T.L.Cleave says it in a nutshell. ‘DO NOT TAMPER WITH FOOD’.
QUICK WAY TO COOK UNPOLISHED (BROWN) RICE
Although this rice takes a little longer to cook than white rice, it is well worth the trouble for the nutritional benefits.
Rinse half a cupful (about 150 g) of rice in cold water and then drain. Put 1½ litres of water in a large saucepan and when boiling add the rice and a little salt. Bring back to the boil and allow to cook uncovered for 25 minutes. Drain and then return to the saucepan, off the heat but with the lid on, and leave to rest for 10 minutes when the rice should be cooked and ready to eat.