Researchers and scientists have found an easy way to make healthier rice.
“Rice, rice the magical grain, the more you eat it, the more you bang.” OK, that’s not actually a nursery rhyme, but we ain’t talking about beans here! While I am living here in Japan, doing the university thing, rice and ramen noodles are more commonly encountered than bread. I usually stick to brown rice when possible, but I’d love to be able to munch down on white rice without worrying about the calories!
Everyone has heard by now that limiting our intake of refined starches such as those found in white bread and rice and replacing them with whole grain starches is the way to go. But whether its sticky sweet sushi rice or a bowl of rice pumped up with stir-fried veggies and drowning in soy sauce, it can be hard to avoid white rice. Brown rice is such a powerful flavor that doesn’t work so well with many dishes.
Scientists have now found a way to eat white rice minus any guilt one may have. Using the traditional Sri Lankan method of cooking and cooling rice as the basis for their research, they found that adding coconut oil to the boiling water will break down digestible starchy components into non-digestible parts. By increasing the non-digestible factor of rice, it turns into something like a fiber. This brings down the calories of the rice, making it more like a fiber.
The experiment comes from Dr. Pushparajah Thavarajah at the University of Sri Lanka and undergraduate Sudhair James who presented the research to the American Chemical Study in Denver a couple weeks ago. “The oil interacts with the starch in rice and changes its architecture,” James explained. “Chilling the rice then helps foster the conversion of starches. The result is a healthier serving, even when you heat it back up.
This is great news for many developing countries and people with lower incomes as rice is a cheap source of nutrition. The result of relying on the refined starches for meals causes obesity rates among these people to be very high. Researchers are hoping to try similar experiments for the other major culprit of obesity, white bread. In the meantime, I am going to try this method myself, and then do the happy dance while eating some bomb rice bowls!