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Thursday, October 22, 2009

Choose Brown Rice - It is healthier!

Eating brown rice is not  fashion or a fad we borrowed from the WEST. It is basically a long forgotten tradition with the advent of Rice mills in India. Over the years, women in Asia have hand pounded paddy to get rice.


Image: Chestofbooks.com

Husk is then sieved off using a typical technique (called winnowing), as shown in the picture (above). Mechanization of entire paddy processing invariably led to economies of scale. Consumers shifted to cheaper, double polished white rice sold in the market.

The problem...
Milling equipment models were, and are made to double mill(polish) settings. This means that millers cannot control settings on their existing equipment.  If brown rice was included in their product offerings, Millers would have to make major capital investments to bring in new equipment to mill brown rice. If they have to look at increasing consumer base for brown rice, they have to sell it at a price on par with white rice.(A lot of consumers buy white rice and not brown due price differences)  

Image: tootoo.com
Apart from the investment point of view, millers don't bother about shifting to brown or single polish varieties due to the niche market for the product. They look at making their wares "appealing" to the larger consumer segment, rather than cater to the small buyer group and continue to mill and sell white (double polished) varieties.

My Take
Being a south Indian, I am used to eating boiled as well as raw rice as a part of my diet. I must have had innumerable debates with my family on the quantity of rice and dal/sabzi we need to eat. I believed in reversing the quantity of items served in a traditional south Indian family. And, was always teased for being such a health freak...lol..

I was twenty when I was seriously injured and was confined to bed rest for almost two and a half years. This was when my research on eating right began. I was on a no rice diet for almost an year to compensate for my inactivity. I came across some information on brown rice and its benefits. At the next available chance, I promptly shifted to brown rice and have stuck with it ever since.

Why choose brown rice...
Eating white rice has led to increase in cases of diabetes in India and China, two major rice eating populations. According to the International Diabetes Federation, total number of people with diabetes worldwide has risen from 30 million to 230 million and major increase has bene reported in China and India.

White rice breaks down into glucose much faster than brown rice.Whole grains have been proven to reduce risk of heart diseases. It is common sense that anything stripped of it nutrients, processed to a level that it looks nice can never be healthy. Same applies too the rice as well. More fiber and less starch is the way to go. Arent whole grains better anyday?

Brown rice is full of vital nutrients and minerals are removed when rice is milled and subsequent polishing results its outer layers being stripped off to reveal the shiney white colour. Evey rice variety is brown when freshly stripped from paddy.

Anatomy of rice:

  Image source: biochem.arizona.edu

Why white rice wins over brown...
Brown rice takes a little longer to cook and turns rancid faster than white rice. (One among the million reasons why my family members refuse to eat rown rice). Middle class population in India has gotten used to eating the pretty looking varieties. People in my own family consider it "poor" man's rice and think that the prettier your rice plate looks,  better the meal!

Image courtesy: hypnosishealthinfo.com

Think about it, choose right, live well and be happy!

2 comments:

  1. great information, would really love to try brown rice in my meal instead of white rice...thnx for sharing this blog...
    simple rice recipes

    ReplyDelete
  2. Great article. I have to tell you that to prevent insects and birds it is better to use anti insect pvc curtains. The yellow color of the curtains and the special materials in the curtains prevents the insects and birds from entering into the grain mills, sugar cane mills, etc.. Vibha Systems

    ReplyDelete

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