With vegetables, fried up with egg and mung bean sprouts, in a soup, as a breakfast sweet soup, next to your favorite dish. Enjoyed all over the world, especially in Asian countries, there are at least 10 reasons why rice is an amazing grain, and I’m not just talking about tasting great.
1- Skin care health
Really? Rice is good for the skin? I know, I asked the same question when I heard about the potent properties of rice for topical application. Japanese women apparently have the skin care low-down on rice, utilizing the bran, oil and water from cooking the rice all for various purposes. Rice bran is supposed to be highly beneficial in preventing wrinkles when applied topically. How would you use it? Just make a sort of mud-like pack with it, mixing the bran with some purified water or a little coconut or olive oil. Apply generously and await drying. You can also use the bran as a lovely face scrub, just apply and massage off with water.
Rice bran oil is full of Vitamin E and has amazing tissue-knitting properties. Also full of linoleic acid, an essential omega 6 fatty acid which helps with wound healing and skin elasticity and squalene – also found in shark liver oil, amaranth and olives, necessary for the synthesis of many hormones in the body as well as Vitamin D. The oil could be applied after a nice rice bran treatment and rice water is a great tonic for the skin maybe just prior to the oil application.
To use rice water, boil some rice as usual, just add a little bit more water than is necessary for absorption. When cook time is finished, strain off the excessive water and let cool. Use a cotton pad or wash cloth to apply cool rice water to the skin.
Did you know there are over 40 different varieties of rice in the world? Talk about choices! By just getting your hands on a few different, unique kinds you can really liven things up. Each one, like Jade rice or black rice, has their own taste and look. Some taste better with different accompanying foods and certain rices are good for sweet verses salty dishes. You have sticky to dry and short to long grain. Wild rice to red rice and everywhere in between. Go ahead, break out of the norm and try something new in the way of rice today!
Rice is a great source of simple fiber, especially brown rice – containing 3 times as much as white. The insoluable fiber in rice easy moves through the intestinal tract taking other substances with it. It is gluten-free and can thereby be enjoyed by nearly anyone of every economic position. Rice is a great compliment to either a vegetarian or meat-complimented meal due to its fantastic fibrous qualities. Though rice is a great fiber to add to your diet, make sure it isn’t the only one, fiber is good to consume in variety as well!
4- Weight management
Brown rice, most assuredly, is a great source of usable complex carbohydrates to supply much needed energy to a body interested in maintaining health and balance. With no fat of its own to speak of, consumers of rice can be selective about the oils that are added to cooked rice in order to make their meals more nutritious. For example, plain brown rice with some flax or coconut oil added increases the weight loss benefits by upping the body’s supply of essential fatty acids. When we have the correct oils we need in the body, our system can release unwanted, harmful fats.
Where we often see meat as the main staple in this country, and rice as a side dish – if we switch that around it will become easier to achieve the desired weight. Japanese people see rice as the main part of their meal, and everything else is a complement. People in Japan consume between 200-300 pounds of rice per year -each- next to our approximate 21 pounds per person. If you notice, the Japanese are notorious for their balanced weight.
5- Alzheimer’s prevention
Rice is thought to be great for the brain by stimulating the production of certain neurotransmitters which could help to prevent Alzheimer’s disease. Neoprotective enzymes in the brain are also stimulated by the ingestion of rice which help to fortify brain cells against free radical damage. These enzymes can also prevent other toxins from injuring the brain, thereby warding off other possible brain conditions such as dementia.
6- B Vitamins equals stress-free
Brown rice is a great source of B vitamins, nearly all of them. You could think of a bowl of brown rice per day like a good B-complex supplement, more delicious too. B Vitamins are water soluble, so they are easily lost through sweat, tears and other bodily fluids. We lose them when we worry about things, but brown rice can put them back.
7- It knows how to get Wild
Remember all those varieties we mentioned? Well, wild rice is of particular value when it comes to protein. Containing nearly double that of brown rice, wild rice is a great addition to especially any vegetarian fare. Full of folate, phosphorus and zinc, Vitamin C, Vitamin A and Vitamin E, wild rice will give your immune system a boost and help fortify bones. Wild rice is a particularly good source of iron, more than any other rice. Apparently it is equivalent to eating 5 pomegranates for iron goodness.
8- Simple to make
You can’t ask for anything more straight forward than rice. White rice will be done in a matter of 20 minutes, and if you don’t mind waiting a bit longer, brown rice will take only 50 minutes. In the meantime you can throw together any compliments to your meal that you desire. Just add one cup of rice to 2 cups of boiling water and turn down to a simmer. It is about the same ratio for any one of the 40 varieties, except maybe sticky rice. You don’t have to be a master chef to figure out rice, anyone can do it and everyone will benefit from consuming this world-renowned food.
9- Blood sugar benefits
Rice is great for blood sugar regulation, again – especially brown rice, though all rice is supportive. Magnesium is greatly present in brown rice which is a co-factor for over 200 enzymes in the body, very important for the production and regulation of insulin and how the body uses glucose. The FDA even backs up the claim that whole grains like brown rice help reduce the incidences of type 2 diabetes.
10- Healing remedy
In China, rice is more than a meal, it is a healing remedy. Even the Japanese prepare a roasted brown rice tea for medicinal purposes. Used as a compress in ancient Chinese medicine, roasted brown rice was wrapped with ginger and other herbs and placed on an injured area such as broken bones or upset stomach. Legends abound about the luck and symbolism of rice.
Indian brides give rice as a first meal to their husbands, and Indian mothers to their newborns.
Okay – one more I can’t help but to add. Rice is beautiful to see growing. If you have ever been to Thailand, Japan or Bali (my favorite), the rice paddies adorn the earth in the most remarkable way. Layered rice paddies on mountain slopes are truly a site to see if you have never seen them. The image at the top of this article is from Bali, and to stand gazing out over a horizon rich valley of rice is like nothing else in the world. So peaceful, so inspiring.
Whoever you are and where ever you live, you can benefit from rice. It is an amazing grain for at least 10 reasons, though assuredly many many more. Have you had your rice today?
Written by: Stasia Bliss