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Rice varieties around us

Sat, Sep 30, 2017, 06:27 AM
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India is the most important rice-producing nation in the world. Earlier, at least 1,10,000 varieties of rice were grown in the country. Now they have reduced to 6,000 varieties. Farmers are giving more importance to varieties that yield a good harvest. As such, the varieties of rice grown in the country are reducing. Despite all these varieties, majority prefer white rice. Let us learn about some important varieties of rice, including white rice.

White RiceWhite Rice is digested very easily. It gives a feeling of fullness and energy. It has more of floury substances. The body needs more carbohydrates, which is abundant in white rice. Fibre is very less. It is easily digested. Within an hour of consuming rice, it is digested. That is why, children are fed with rice. Even aged people should be given rice. White rice is polished rice. A lot of beneficial minerals are lost when rice is milled, and the upper layers of the grain are removed. White rice is usually referred to as equal to refined flour.

Brown Rice
representational imageIt is full of nutrients and gives strength. It has a lot of vitamins and minerals. Calories are limited and fibre is abundant. Because of this, brown rice does not digest soon and carbohydrates are not absorbed by the blood immediately. As this process is slow, there is no sudden rise in sugar levels in the blood. The natural oil in the rice helps to reduce bad cholesterol. It is ideal for those who want good health. Glycemic Index (GI) is very less, compared to other rice varieties. In brown rice, only the husk is removed. Therefore, none of the nutrients in the grain are lost. Brown rice takes a longer time to cook. Also, it takes a longer time to digest. That is why, very few people prefer it.

Red Rice
It is not very tasty. But it is highly nutritious. Red rice is an option for those who want to be healthy and fit. You will not suffer iron deficiency, if you consumer Red rice. It keeps sugar and insulin levels in the blood, under control. Vitamin B6 is found in abundance, in this rice. Vitamin B6 helps in production of serotonin and red blood cells. It also helps in production of DNA. There are a number of varieties of red rice. Himalaya red rice, that is available locally, is grown in the Himalayan states, as well as in Nepal and Bhutan. It is long and is light red in colour. It is used as an alternative to Basmati rice.

Black Rice
For those suffering from Alzheimer's and diabetes, black rice is a good option. When compared to the other rice varieties found in India, black rice has more anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatory qualities. This variety of rice is used mostly in Thailand. It is grown to a certain extent in Chettinad in Tamil Nadu. Chettiyar Community people use this mostly.

Basmati Rice
representational imageBasmati variety of rice has 20 per cent more fibre than other varieties. It has a moderate GI. Therefore it is beneficial for diabetics. In Basumati, there are white and brown varieties, like in ordinary variety of rice. It has a special aroma, because of the presence of a chemical at the ratio of acetyl: pyrroline, 2:1.
India is famous for production of Basumati rice. Even though this variety is grown in the US, the quality of that rice is not as good as in India. Indian Basumati rice is very popular in Middle East countries.

Jasmine Rice
Amino acids in this variety of rice reduces muscle pain. It resembles Basumati rice. It is grown mostly in Thailand.

Wild Rice
It has more proteins than brown rice and is low in carbohydrates. It has Vitamin A, folic acid, Omega Fatty 3 acids. It is grown in some areas in America.

Difference between brown rice, white rice
representational imageBoth have more of carbohydrates. Brown rice is just de-husked, with other layers like bran and germ, intact. In those who consume brown rice, the absorption of carbohydrates in the blood is slower, when compared to that of white rice. Because of this, there is no sharp rise in glucose levels in the blood. The incidence of stroke, heart diseases and Type II diabetes is less. Men of 50 years and less need at least 38 gm of fibre daily. For those above 50 years of age, the fibre should be 30 gm per day. In women this rate is 25 gm and 21 gm respectively. Brown rice has more fibre.
  • Manganese: It transforms food into energy, it is essential for the functioning of anti-oxidants. It is not present in white rice. It is abundant in brown rice.
  • Celium: This is also available to a large extent in brown rice. It plays a key role in the production of thyroid hormone, anti-oxidants and also in the functioning of immune system.
  • Magnesium: Brown rice has more of Magnesium than white rice. It is useful in strengthening of bones, production of cells, growth of muscles and for anti-clotting of blood.
Nutrients (45 gm cooked rice)
Brown rice
White rice
170 calories
160 calories
4 gm
3 gm
Total fat
1.5 gm
35 gm
36 gm
4 gm
1 gm
0.36 gm
0.36 gm
20 mgm
Saturated fatty acids
Fatty acids transfat

How many parts?
Rice grain has three parts or layers: husk, bran, germ. In milling, the grain is de-husked. All varieties of rice undergo milling. The next layer is germ. All nutrients are stored in this. It has B.Vitamins, minerals and proteins. The upper layer is called bran. It is whitish in colour. This has key nutrients and B. Vitamins. But in polished white rice, all this is gone.

Difference in nutrient factor
representational imageBrown rice is where the bran and germ are not removed. But in white rice, these are removed. That is why, in brown rice, Magnesium and other minerals are found in abundance. If there is one gram of fibre is present in one cup of white rice, the same will be four gm, in one cup of brown rice. If fibre is adequate, the rate at which carbohydrates transform in to sugars, is reduced. GI is less in brown rice. Not just brown rice; GI is less in long grain variety of rice, compared to short grain. That is why brown rice is good for health. However, for children and aged persons, who have digestion problems, it is better to give light, polished rice.
  • Short grains: These are short and round. When cooked they are swollen and stick to each other. This is called pearl rice or round-grain rice. Par boiled rice, Ambemohar, Dubraz, and Gauri are these types. These have high GI. Also, Vitamin B or Potassium are abundant.
  • Medium grains: These are medium sized. There is more moisture in this. Sonamasuri, kama, Patara, Sravani are this variety. Sambamasuri, BPT 5204, HMT are also medium grain variety of rice.
  • Long grain rice: These are long. Example, Basumati and Jasmine. The latter is cheaper than Basmati. GI is less in these.
6,000 remain
Dr. Deb Lal Deb of Odisha is collecting 700 rice varieties. There were 1,10,000 varieties until 1970. But these are lost and hybrid varieties numbering 6,000 are being grown.
  • According to International Rice Research Institute, there are 40,000 varieties of rice. Out of these, some 100 varieties are being grown, in the world now.
  • For half of the world population, rice is the staple food.
  • China grows the highest amount of paddy. Then comes, India, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Thailand and Mayanmar.
  • 90 per cent rice is grown and consumed in Asia.

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