Rice is consumed by the majority of people on the planet and it is the most digestible cereal.
It has important biological functions in humans, in fact it regulates intestinal flora and it has high biological value proteins because it has the best amino acid content.
Rice also contains more fatty acids than other cereals.
It has a positive ratio between sodium and potassium, ideal recipe for people suffering from hypertension.
Recent research published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences has shown that rice, thanks to its high content of some fractions of vitamin E, has a very effective antioxidant activity.
Rice expresses its nutritional qualities to the maximum if consumed whole – if it has not been deprived of the chaff, the external cuticle, and the germ, as happens with white rice.
In fact, it is the germ with precious essential fatty acids that make it so special. In addition, brown rice boasts an iron content 20 times higher than that of refined rice and it also has a lower glycemic index.
In addition, thanks to its high fibre content, it increases the sense of satiety and is also suitable for those who want to lose weight, and in cases of constipation.
There are many varieties of rice: black rice (Venus) and red rice, which contain multiple anthocyanins, molecules responsible for the dark colouring of the grain and which have important antioxidant activities.
Red rice, fermented with Monascus purpureos yeast, also has the ability to reduce cholesterol and is, in fact, used as a natural statin.
White rice, including basmati, is less rich in vitamins and minerals, but on the other hand has a high content of starch, which makes it astringent, even more easily digestible and helps fight diaorrhoea and intestinal fermentations.
Having said that, rice has no contraindication and can therefore be consumed even four to five times a week, in all its forms, such as risotto, salad, boiled, or even as a dessert.
Dr Simone Perna is Assistant Professor in the Department of Biology, College of Science, at Bahrain University