Published: 08/24/2005 - Updated: 02/13/2018
Nutritious and healthy, it is rich in carbohydrates and vitamins of group B. For its feature nutritional composition, it is a food of choice in situations of great wear.
Rice grain is the fruit of the plant in rice (Oryza sativa), annual herb of the family Gramineae. Cereal is the most widespread throughout the world. It is grown widely in the five continents, in marshy areas of warm and humid temperate.
It is known that rice is grown and consumed in China for over 5000 years. In Buddhist mythology, Rice met one of three conditions set by the gods to marry the princess Retna Siwa-Dumile, being the only food that never satisfies for long enough or to be consumed. In Spain, we do not know the time when it was introduced, although the Muslims successfully grown during the occupation of Spain in Seville, Cordoba, Granada, Murcia, Alicante and Tarragona. In Europe, it was also cultivated in Greece, Turkey, Romania, Hungary and Italy, although production was insufficient for the consumption, which forced to import it for other parts.
At present, rice is next of wheat of cereals being consumed in the world, its production and consumption globally are very similar, especially for the high consumption of rice in Asian countries. Also in Spain the consumption is high (about 7 pounds per person per year), being a vital component of the typical dishes of our gastronomy, paella.
Rice has a high percentage of carbohydrates (78%). Contains very little fat, about 0.2%, but provides enough calories (347 per 100 g in raw and cooked 118 calories). The rice starch is digested better than other foods, celiacs may safely consume it because has no gluten present in other cereals. The richness in fiber is 1.4 g/100 g in the case of cooked brown rice, and 0.5 g/100 g in white.
It has less protein (7%) than wheat ( 11%) but higher quality. Highlights the wealth of B vitamins (B1, B3, B6 and folic acid), especially in the brown rice. Also, the rice contains various minerals, particularly magnesium (muscle and nerve activity), iron, phosphorus (bones, muscles, brain), manganese (for energy) and selenium (antioxidant).
Quality and increased life expectancy can be significantly improved by paying greater attention to diet. Rice is the food that should be available regularly in the diet of the elderly, it may help to promote or restore good psychophysics.
White rice boiled with a little oil and salt, is one of the first solid food to be taken after passing a diarrhea of any etiology. Its excellent digestibility, together with the mild astringent action that has the lack of fiber, a food made of rice suitable for the recovery after a gastro-intestinal mucosa.
The presence of magnesium, especially in the brown rice helps combat possible spasm of the heart muscle or coronary arteries. For its part, the rice bran has been shown in some studies to reduce cholesterol levels due to decreased levels of LDL ("bad cholesterol") and an increase in HDL ("good cholesterol"). Regular consumption of rice is indeed a positive factor for the prevention and improvement of certain diseases such as hypertension and hypercholesterolemia. The consumption of rice will have a positive impact on individuals. The husk of rice, in addition to the fiber, also contains phytosterols, with a clear ability to reduce blood cholesterol levels. Therefore, people with high cholesterol levels, to obtain the benefits, will need to pick the rice that retains the shell.
Being a seed, rice has a high concentration of so-called "protease” inhibitors, substances that tend to block the initial phase of a cancerous process.
In addition, rice with corn, millet and sorghum are the only cereals that contain no gluten and are therefore tolerated by Celiacs. This disease is characterized by intolerance to gluten, a mixture of proteins contained in wheat, rye, oats, barley and triticale (hybrid of wheat and rye) and foods containing these grains. In particular the gliadin, a component of gluten that the substance is toxic to people with this condition. When introducing foods with gluten in the diet is initiated symptoms: irritability, poor appetite, abdominal distension and pain, frequent stools, smelly, foamy and voluminous, sometimes accompanied by vomiting. The treatment of this disease consists of removing and dietary cereals containing gluten and products made from them. When gluten is removed from the diet, the person recovers their nutritional status over a period of several weeks or months and the symptoms disappear. For its nutritional characteristics of food energy is indicated as one of the first food of choice in situations of great physical, either at work or by the exercise. However, this feature requires to measure the amount consumed in the case of overweight, obesity and diabetes. In the latter case, to be composed mainly of rice starch (carbohydrate), an uncontrolled measure would lead to the rise in blood glucose levels, a situation detrimental to the health of people with diabetes.
In the kitchen
This valuable cereal, essential in the kitchen, is one of the most rewarding part of cooking ingredients, due to its versatility and its ability to absorb flavors.
To be successful in preparing a recipe, it is necessary to choose the appropriate variety of rice, because each grain has different features and different needs when it comes to cooking. So the rice absorbs the flavors more easily and faster firing, while the brown rice or even the semi-whole have the advantage of being higher and more nutritionally balanced. Both are often cooked in three different ways: steamed, absorption and hot water.
Among its most famous preparation are: the paella, and the pilau pilaf and risotto.
More than 2000 varieties of rice exist. We introduce the most consumed:
Arborio: medium grain, round, nutty flavor and is the star of risottos. It can absorb a lot of liquid. Creamy consistency. Combined with wild mushrooms and strong flavors.
Whole rice with long grain: It is aromatic and has a spongy consistency, rather than baked breads and other grains are the loose. Adapts well to all kinds of recipes but is ideal for salads, sauce and paella.
Wild rice: This is not rice, but a plant of the lakes of North America. Long grain, dark color and nutty flavor. Requires 50 minutes of gentle boil.
Red Rice: Ideal mixed with other varieties of rice. Sticky texture and attractive red. Need a measure of rice for two of cooking water and a long: between 45 minutes and an hour.
Basmati Rice: The most appreciated by gourmets around the world, given its unique fragrance and since is loose. It cooks in 15 minutes. Ideal for pilafs and as a basis to accompany spicy dishes.
Calasparra: From organic agriculture is the only Spanish appellation of origin. You select a variety of short grain type 'bomb', grown in Murcia.
Sweet rice: As its name suggests, stands out for its sweet taste. Once boiled, is crushed with a mortar, form balls and fry. Perfect to take with miso soup and infant diet.
Thai rice: Originally from Thailand, so-called Thai. Also called "Jasmine" is similar to basmati, but somewhat milder flavor. Despite being long, it becomes soft and slightly sticky to cook and is a classic oriental recipes.