Lately I have been studying up on the nutritional benefits of rice. Among the many topics I have read, I learned that parboiled rice is the most nutritious form of rice.
What is parboiled rice you ask? The Emergence of Agriculture by Bruce Smith provide some history. In the East rice has been a staple for thousands of years, and for thousands of years rice has been dried to preserve it. When rice grows , tiny bugs deposit their eggs in the rice husks. When eggs hatch, the bugs develop into little larva and feed on the rice grain while the rice is in storage. This can destroy stored rice and make it inedible.( 5 )
So thousand of years ago, to protect rice reserves, people soaked then steamed the rice before drying and husking it. The intense heat kills the bugs hid in the rice husk and grain. Then after the rice is dried, it is husked and stored. The rice lasts for over a year. Even to this day Asian countries parboil rice as apart of the production process.( 5 ) However, in the US rice fields are sprayed with pesticides as the rice grows. When rice is harvested it is dried, husked, and packaged for sell.( 1 )
Nutritionists have preformed research comparing parboiled, converted rice with non parboiled rice. According to research published in 2011 in the Food Science And Technology Journal, parboiling process enriches rice. The husk or hull contains traces of calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, niacin, thiamine, riboflavin, and sodium. ( 3 ) In the steaming process these vitamins and minerals cook into the rice. However, the grain of rice that has not been parboiled has been found to lack these vitamins and minerals. ( 3 ) Parboiled rice nutrition provides health benefits.
Another health benefit of parboiled rice, is the affect the steaming process has on glucose in the grain. The steaming process, breaks down the glucose, making it easier to digest and minimizes negative affects on blood sugar. ( 4 )The blood sugar level normalizes instead of shooting up or diving down. ( 5 ) The American Diabetes Association recommends parboiled because of its lower glucose level. ( 2 )
White Rice vs. Brown Rice
Many believe brown rice is a healthier alternative to white rice. Well, if the white rice was parboiled it will contain just a little less nutrients than that the brown rice because it will not have its bran.( 3) However, white rice that was not parboiled is the least nutritious of all rices whether they are parboiled or not.( 3 )
In the average American grocery store parboiled rice is not sold. Parboiled rice can be found in stores that specialize organic and health foods. A better place to find parboiled rice is an Asian grocery store. These stores sell imported Asian rice which will be parboiled. An Asian grocery store can be found in any city with an Asian community.
Or have your local store to order these brands: Goya Parboiled Rice; Riceland Parboiled Rice.
You can purchase parboiled rice from the following source:
For those making rice a diet staple, I recommend parboiled rice. In general rice is a healthy choice. It is fat free, low in sodium, a good source of protein. However, parboiled rice is healthier.
( 1 )Ituen, E. U. U. &Ukpakha, A. C.(2011). Improved method of par-boiling paddy for better quality rice. World Journal of Applied Science and Technology, Vol.3. No.1 (2011). 31-40
( 2 )Miah, M., Haque, A., Douglass, M., & Clarke, B. (2002). Parboiling of rice. Part II: Effect of hot soaking time on the degree of starch gelatinization. International Journal Of Food Science & Technology, 37(5), 539-545.
( 3 )Kyritsi, A., Tzia, C., & Karathanos, V. (2011). Vitamin fortified rice grain using spraying and soaking methods. Lwt-Food Science And Technology, 44(1), 312-320.
( 4 ) Helbig, E., Dias, A., Tavares, R., Schirmer, M., & Elias, M. (2008). The effect of parboiled rice on glycemia in Wistar rats. Archivos Latinoamericanos De Nutricion, 58(2), 149-155.
( 5 )Smith, Bruce D. (1998) The Emergence of Agriculture. Scientific American Library, A Division of HPHLP, New York. ISBN0-7167-6030-4