Rice: properties and benefits of this gluten-free cereal

Cereals such as kamut wheat , oats , spelled , rye , barley or corn constitute an important part of the diet of millions of people around the world and one of the most consumed cereals is rice. After corn, rice is the most cultivated and consumed cereal by the world population.

What is it about rice that makes it so popular? It is a nutritious food, easily accessible and it is very easy to combine it with all kinds of food, both in sweet and savory cooking recipes .

In this article we tell you what rice is, the types of rice most consumed, the properties and nutritional benefits of rice and how to cook this cereal.

What is rice?

Rice, Oryza sativa , is a herbaceous cereal of the grass family. After corn, it corresponds to the most produced cereal worldwide and 1/3 of the world population is fed with it.

Its origin dates back to areas of tropical Asia and is currently produced on 5 continents. It is grown in temperate or hot and humid climates. It is part of numerous recipes worldwide, combined with chicken, vegetables, as a side or main and is present in typical dishes from various regions such as Sushi in Japan, risotto in Italy and paella in Spain.

Types of Rice

Did you know that there are more than 2000 types of rice? The most common and consumed are white rice, brown rice, wild rice and red rice. We are going to learn more about them.

White rice

It is obtained through a process called bleaching in which the shell, the bran and the germ are removed during the milling process. It is the highly refined version of rice. Due to its processing it loses certain nutritional qualities that are found in the shell and the germ. White rice can be long-grain , which should be at least 3 times as long as it is wide, and tends to stay separate during cooking. Of medium grain that is slightly wider and tends to stick when concina, to equal the short rice , which is almost completely rounded and which is used to make risotto .

Integral rice

It is that rice that maintains its layer of bran or bran from the husk, but lacks its outer layer. It has a brown color and is medium to long grain. Because it is less processed, it maintains its nutritional properties a little more. It is rich in fiber , B vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients . It has been associated with a decreased risk of developing certain diseases such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. It requires a slower and longer cooking than in the case of white rice.

Wild rice

Also called wild, it is not considered a rice as such, although it is botanically related to it. It is an aquatic grass that grows in North America and southern Canada, on swampy soils. It is thinner and longer than the rest, black in color. This herb is also called water oats or Indian rice . It is low in fat, has a good amount of protein, and is rich in fiber. It has a crisp and flavored texture that may be slightly reminiscent of hazelnuts . It is a perfect base for salads and to accompany meat and fish

Red rice

It is characterized by its reddish tones and is an excellent source of B vitamins, calcium, iron, zinc, magnesium, selenium and other nutrients. It gets its red color from an antioxidant substance called anthocyanin, which is also found in dark purple vegetables. This compound is believed to possess properties that can  reduce inflammation, allergies, prevent cancer risk, and aid in weight loss . It combines very well with red and game meats

And you, have you tried these 4 types of rice? Which one do you like the most?

Nutritional properties of rice

Nutritionally, rice is rich in starch, composed of amylose and amylopectin, which determine the characteristics of the cereal (the higher the amylopectin, the more viscous and sticky the grains will be). It contains thiamine or Vitamin B1, niacin or vitamin B3 and folic acid or B9. It has minerals such as phosphorus and potassium.

Here you can see some tables with the nutrients of white rice and brown rice:

rice calories

vitamins rice

8 Benefits of eating rice

  1. Provides a large amount of energy to the diet because it is a complex carbohydrate
  2. It does not contain gluten, being suitable for celiacs and people who want to reduce their gluten intake.
  3. It is easy to digest, making it an ideal food for people with a delicate stomach
  4. Prevents constipation, due to its fiber content (only brown rice)
  5. Helps protect against diseases such as cancer due to its antioxidant and fiber content.
  6. It is a suitable food for people with hypertension due to its very low sodium content.
  7. It has a high nutritional value
  8. White rice fights episodes of diarrhea due to its astringent action.

How do you cook rice?

It is a simple dish to prepare, of course, it must be taken into account that for each measure of rice you must add twice as much water and in the case of brown rice you must add 3 measures of water for 1 measure of rice.

Cook over medium heat uncovered until almost dry, then lower over low heat and cover until it is completely dry.

It is important to bear in mind that both brown and red rice, due to their less processing, require a greater amount of water and cooking time.

We can also use rice flour for batters and to make the well-known tempura.

Rice is very versatile and we can use it in gastronomy in both sweet and savory recipes.

Try these recipes with rice that I propose: from rice pudding (dairy-free and suitable for vegans) this delicious dessert of Coffee Flan with rice custard and How to make homemade rice milk or drink .

What is your favorite recipe with rice?

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