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Rice 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 or mountain.
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 pickles.

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, or meat.

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.

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