[Xixi Nutrition Chapter 153] The choice of rice is good, no worries about health

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Rice, a hard-to-break staple

Staple foods are an important part of our eating habits, and no matter how the trend of low-carb ketogenic fasting changes, we must admit that most people Still need to eat staple food.

Half the world’s population eats rice as the staple food, and rice meets 1/5 of the global population’s caloric needs. Who knows that a plate of Chinese food is hard work. This ancient poem, familiar to a 3-year-old child, reflects the importance of rice in the Chinese food culture. Countries in the world except East Asia and South Asia may There is no other place where people can eat three meals a day, and meals include rice. For most people, eating and rice are already closely linked.

But recently, rice’s “reputation” doesn’t seem to be very good. As a representative of refined grains, “rice” has been avoided by many fitness or health-seeking people Ingredients, and even some popular articles will promote rice = sugar = poison, setting off disputes and disagreements at the dinner table of many people’s families.

Anything, as long as it’s a whole food, can have a place on the healthy table, andRice is obviously not a poison, but it’s certainly not the healthiest food either.

Sixi will use the next few posts to learn more about rice and talk about how to eat rice healthier

Chinese people prefer rice

Although there is a saying that southerners love rice and northerners love noodles, from the data of grain production, Chinese people still prefer rice, According to data from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, from 2016 to 2020, China’s rice (rice) production was 210 million tons, while wheat production was only 130 million tons.

90% of the world’s rice is produced in Asia. China’s rice production and consumption ranks first in the world all year round. Although my country is the world’s largest rice producer, it cannot meet domestic demand. my country is also the world’s largest rice importer. Imported 4 million tons of rice. It shows that Chinese people really love to eat rice. No matter in the north or the south, compared with other countries in the world, we eat the most rice.

Nutrition is related to individual and family lifestyle habits, with strong regional differences. For the Chinese, it is obviously unacceptable to directly apply the dietary guidelines of other countries without mentioning rice.

Illustration China’s rice production consistently ranks first in the world

Rice: More Than One

The rice we usually eat is just a general term. In fact, there are as many as 110,000 varieties of rice. The following gene tree diagram shows the classification of rice according to the genetic evolution of plants. It can be clearly seen from the color of the branches of the gene tree that rice (Oryza sativa L.) is divided into two main branches [1]

According to genes, it can be mainly divided into three types: Indica Rice (xiandao), Japonica Rice (jingdao) and glutinous rice. Indica rice and japonica rice are the most staple foods.

Indica rice is mainly grown in the South and is more than a year old. Silk seedling rice, basmati rice, Thai basmati rice, etc. are all indica rice. Indica rice has a high amylose content of about 20%, and the rice grains are longer and less sticky.

Japonica rice is mainly grown in the north and has one crop a year. Japonica rice has a low amylose content of about 15%, and the rice grains are shorter and stickier after cooking.

So some people like to eat northeastern rice, some people like to eat southern rice, which is actually the difference between japonica rice and indica rice. However, we rarely see these tongue-in-cheek names when we buy things. More rice is named according to the place of origin, such as Wuchang rice, Panjin rice, etc.

Rice Classification – Degree of Processing

In our daily life, we rarely distinguish between japonica and indica, but we often hear the term brown rice. So what is brown rice?

Brown rice is relative to white rice (polished rice) and is classified according to the degree of processing of the rice.

No matter what kind of rice it is, it can be divided into brown rice and white rice according to the degree of processing, so the “brown rice” bought on the market ” mainly refers to the degree of processing rather than an individual rice variety

The process of rice processing goes through processes such as shelling and fine grinding. The finely ground rice after shelling is the white rice we often eat. The grains that have not been finely ground after removing the husk (rice bran) are brown rice.

Illustration: Rice Processing

So brown rice is a whole grain that contains both the bran and germ, while refined white rice contains only the grain (that is, the rice’s endosperm). Whole grains are more nutritious, the bran is rich in fiber and vitamins, and the germ is the part with the highest fat content of the plant. Refined rice that has the bran and germ removed, with significantly reduced nutritional content.

However, milled rice is not without merit. Processed rice is easier to store, easier to cook, and is the main form of rice we buy in the market.

Refined Rice: Refined rice has the bran removed and is less nutritious than brown rice, especially in micronutrients, but is easier to store, taste better, and easier to cook< /p>

Brown Rice: Rice that contains bran and germ. Rice bran contains oil. Rice with bran is more prone to spoilage and less preservation, and takes longer and more water for cooking

Other meters,

Are red rice, black rice, purple rice and wild rice rice?

Red rice, black rice and purple rice are also rice options that you will see in supermarkets or when choosing healthy meals. What kind of rice are they? What about the nutritional content?

Red rice (not a mobile phone) and black rice are actually a kind of brown rice, but the color of rice bran is different. Another name for purple rice and black rice , because black rice turns black purple after cooking

Red Rice

In fact, red rice also belongs to a kind of brown rice, which is a whole grain with rice bran, but the rice bran of this rice contains plant pigments that cause the rice bran to be red instead of common Brown and red rice are also different according to the type and origin of the rice, including red rice from Africa and red rice from Thailand. The rice bran of red rice has some nutty aroma and is more chewy.

Black Rice

Black rice is also a type of brown rice. After cooking, black rice will turn black and purple. The protein content of black rice is the highest in rice, the cellulose content is similar to brown rice, and the black shell It is very high in anthocyanin, a phytonutrient with antioxidant properties. There are also high levels of zinc and riboflavin (vitamin B2). Some black rice is glutinous rice, which is suitable for all kinds of soft and glutinous desserts.

Wild Rice

Wild rice is not rice, is wild rice.

This plant originated in North America. The amino acid content of wild rice is better than ordinary rice, and it contains various essential amino acids, but it is not something we often eat in our lives.

These “rice” are not commonly eaten, and the taste and texture are slightly different from the rice we are used to. It is difficult to completely replace rice with these rice, and it will be mixed with mixed grains or brown rice. Part of brown rice, red rice, black rice is mixed, but the main ingredient is still the white rice we often eat.

In the next article about rice, Xixi will analyze which rice is healthier and how to choose the staple food of rice from the nutritional content and glycemic index of various rice.

Continue to follow Sixi Nutrition and gain healthy nutrition knowledge in life.


[1] The origin and evolution of fragrance in rice (Oryza sativa L.). Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 2009;106(34):14444-14449. doi:10.1073/pnas.0904077106