Rice is considered one of the most perfectly balanced food. It’s a staple food for Indians. In fact it’s not just an essential component of the Indian diet but is sacred to the Hindus. It is a symbol of fertility, wealth and good health.
Today we debate between white rice and brown rice. There has been a recent push to integrate brown rice into our diets as opposed to white rice.
While white rice is more refined, it loses the outer bran and germ. Brown rice on the other hand preserves both the bran and the germ of the grain and is considered healthier. It contains 3-4 times the fibre of white rice.
Brown rice is rich in anti-oxidants. They have the same anti-oxidant capacity as blueberries, strawberries and other much touted fruits and vegetables. In comparison to white rice, it is also rich in selenium which decreases the chances of developing cancer, heart disease and arthritis.
Brown rice also contains a slow release sugar meaning it stabilises blood sugar levels especially useful for those suffering from diabetes. Studies show that one half cup of brown rice a day reduces the chance of diabetes by 60%.
However, US studies have shown that brown rice has on average 80% more inorganic arsenic levels than white rice of the same variety. Arsenic usually accumulates in the outer layers of the grain which is removed in the case of white rice. Regular exposure to small amounts increases the risk of bladder, lung and skin cancer.
Research by Scottish scientists has found higher levels of arsenic in rice grown in the U.S. than in basmati or jasmine rice from India or Thailand. Rice grown organically or the conventional way takes up arsenic the same way, so do not think organic will have less arsenic.
In Australia arsenic levels in rice are regulated by the Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ), which permits a maximum of 1 milligram per kilogram. “Australian consumers should not be concerned about the reports from the US describing results of monitoring of arsenic levels in rice,” a spokeswoman stated.
If you are concerned about arsenic consumption, please visit the US Consumer Reports site below: