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12 November, 2013

brown rice for everyday meals- update

Comments : 8 Posted in : Main course, Tips to make daily food healthy on by : apsara Tags: , , , , , ,

There have been 2 concerns about using brown rice on a daily basis.

1) One is that recent studies have shown arsenic content  (in the inorganic form) is inherently high in rice grains and it is found in the outer bran. So maybe we are taking in too much arsenic if we consume whole rice everyday. I did some digging on the internet and found some information. Apparently, rice grown in the U.S, especially in the south-central parts have high arsenic content, stemming from the fertilizers used many decades ago that leached into the soil. Rice grown in India/Pakistan and aromatic varieties such as basmati and jasmine rice were found to have the least amount of arsenic.



I was somewhat relieved to find this since my family has been regularly eating brown rice for more than a year. I also found that Sona masoori brown rice that we get in Indian stores here is made in India. So, I suppose that is also clear. Anyway, our body would need a certain amount of arsenic as a trace element and since it from a whole plant food source, there should be a good metabolizing process already in the human body. I am not a toxicology expert, but at least the guidelines given in the above web sources seem to be reliable.

2) In a Food Matters webpage I found that whole grains are best consumed after soaking and discarding the water that was used for the soaking process. This will remove harmful “phytates and tannins” which are enzyme inhibitors. In the long-term, they can lead to some digestion problems.

In a diet that relies heavily on whole rice, I think it makes a lot of sense to make soaking a regular habit.



8 thoughts on : brown rice for everyday meals- update

  • Kripa
    November 13, 2013 at 10:06 am

    Thanks for the information about the arsenic content. It really helps.I read some articles about soaking brown rice and looks like it not only needs to be soaked but also fermented. Do you think soaking for 1.5hrs alone will be an effective solution?

    • November 13, 2013 at 1:25 pm

      I hope so! Or maybe parboiled rice would be a good option- which Keralites eat regularly and remain healthy. Many generations of Asians have been eating brown rice. Their practice is to soak long-grain rice for 2 h prior to cooking (according to the owner of a Chinese store). I think that and multiple washes of the rice till turbidity is gone would be sufficient.

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  • Liz
    March 28, 2014 at 9:37 pm

    Thank you for the information. I eat it only once a week, so I guess I shouldn’t panic. Have a lovely weekend!

    • March 28, 2014 at 9:56 pm

      thank you. you too have a good weekend, Liz!

  • March 29, 2014 at 12:28 am

    Thanks for this informative post Apsara. Going to do some experimentation with my organic sona masuri brown rice based on your tips and see if I can get it fluffy yet cooked!

    • March 29, 2014 at 8:39 am

      thanks, Priya. Let me know how it comes out. My mother also uses brown sona masuri rice that is available in India (Chennai), I think it will work out well 🙂

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