is the seed of the monocot plants and is the most important staple food for
a large part of the world's human population, especially in East and South
Asia, the Middle East, Latin America, and the West Indies. It is the grain
with the second-highest worldwide production, after maize.
Rice cultivation is well-suited to countries and regions with low labor
costs and high rainfall, as it is labor-intensive to cultivate and requires
ample water. Rice can be grown practically anywhere, even on a steep hill
The seeds of the rice plant are first milled using a rice huller to remove
the chaff (the outer husks of the grain). At this point in the process, the
product is called brown rice. The milling may be continued, removing the
'bran', i.e., the rest of the husk and the germ, thereby creating white
rice. White rice, which keeps longer, lacks some important nutrients; in a
limited diet which does not supplement the rice, brown rice helps to
prevent the disease beriberi.
White rice may also be buffed with glucose or talc powder (often called
polished rice, though this term may also refer to white rice in general),
parboiled, or processed into flour. White rice may also be enriched by
adding nutrients, especially those lost during the milling process. While
the cheapest method of enriching involves adding a powdered blend of
nutrients that will easily wash off. More sophisticated methods apply
nutrients directly to the grain, coating the grain with a water insoluble
substance which is resistant to washing.
In some countries parboiled rice is popular. Parboiled rice is subjected to
a steaming or parboiling process while still a brown rice. This causes
nutrients from the outer husk, especially thiamine, to move into the grain
itself. The parboiling process causes a gelatinization of the starch in the
grains. The grains become less brittle, and the color of the milled grain
changes from white to yellow. The rice is then dried, and can then be
milled as usual or used as brown rice. Milled parboiled rice is
nutritionally superior to standard milled rice. Parboiled rice has an
additional benefit in that it does not stick to the pan during cooking, as
happens when cooking regular white rice. This type of rice is eaten in
parts of India and countries of West Africa.
Rice bran, called nuka in Japan, is a valuable commodity in Asia and is
used for many daily needs. It is a moist, oily inner layer which is heated
to produce oil. It is also used as a pickling bed in making rice bran
Raw rice may be ground into flour for many uses, including making many
kinds of beverages such as rice milk and rice wine. Rice flour does not
contain gluten and is suitable for people on a gluten-free diet. Rice may
also be made into various types of noodles. Raw, wild, or brown rice may
also be consumed by raw-foodist or fruitarians if soaked and sprouted
(usually 1 week to 30 days).
Processed rice seeds must be boiled or steamed before eating. Boiled rice
may be further fried in cooking oil or butter (known as Fried rice).
Rice is a good source of protein and a staple food in many parts of the
world, but it is not a complete protein: it does not contain all of the
essential amino acids in sufficient amounts for good health, and should be
combined with other sources of protein, such as nuts, seeds, beans, fish,
Rice, like other cereal grains, can be puffed (or popped). This process
takes advantage of the grains' water content and typically involves heating
grains in a special chamber that either lowers the local pressure or raises
the water temperature resulting in an increase in volume prior to water
evaporation, resulting in a puffy texture.
One cup of brown rice cooked (195g) has 216.4 calories 1.76g of fat, 0.64g
of monosaturated fat, 0.63g of polyunsaturated fat, 0.35g of saturated fat,
44.8g of carbohydrate, 5.03g of protein, 0.66g of fibre, 0.19 mg of
thiamine (B1), 0.05mg of riboflavin, 2.98mg of nicotinic acid, 0.28mg of
pantothenic acid, 0.28mg of vit B 6, 7.80mg of folic acid, 19.50mg of
calcium 0.82 mg of iron, and 1.23mg of zinc.
Brown unpolished rice is a healthy food because it provides us with rice
bran, which contains b-sitosterol, a naturally occurring substance that
lowers blood cholesterol.
It can reduce the risk of bowel cancer and it diminishes the frequency of
kidney and bladder stone formation in people who are prone to kidney and
bladder stones. Brown rice can help insulin dependant diabetes patients to
normalize the blood sugar levels.
It can stimulate the production of mucus, which has been shown to fight
diarrheal infections. Therefore rice should be a staple food for all of us.