Rice is a fundamental food in many cultural cuisines around the world, and it is an important cereal crop that feeds more than half of the world’s population. Everyone can say rice is really easy to prepare, as opposed to other grains. Plus, the health benefits of rice are numerous – it provides fast and instant energy, regulates and improves bowel movements, stabilizes blood sugar levels, and slows down the aging process, while also providing an essential source of vitamin B1 to the human body. However, similar to other cereals it has a key disadvantage – it leads to weight gain and increases the risk of type 2 diabetes.
When it comes to health benefits, white rice is especially harmful. Only a cup of it comprises 200 calories, mostly pure starch without many other nutrients.
However, recent studies have shown that the calorific value of rice can be cut by one simple trick, which can even add other nutrients to this grain.
Dr. Sudhair James, who conducted a study on the nutritional value of rice, explained “we cooked rice as usual, the only difference being that before we put the rice in the boiling water, we added some coconut oil, about 3% of the amount of rice. After it was cooked, we left it in the fridge for about 12 hours.“
What actually happens?
Cooking rice in boiling water makes its starch extremely easy digestible, which allows our body to easily convert it into sugar then glycogen, and finally store it as fat. On the other hand, frying or other ways of cooking rice don’t change the starch leaving hard to digest.
According to Dr. Pusparajah Thavarajah, the study co-author, “the addition of lipids (in this case coconut oil or some other cooking fat) drastically reduces the proportion of easily digestible starch.” In fact, the oil reacts with starch thus changing its structure. “Cooling the rice helps reinforce the starch in its ‘harder’ form, thus rice remains less calorific even after being re-heated,” explains Prof. Thavarajah.