White rice is one of the oldest cereal grains in the world and has been cultivated for at least 5,000 years. More than half the world’s population uses rice as a staple diet, and Asia produces 90% of the world’s rice.

There are countless varieties of rice, but they may be divided into two categories based on how they are processed: white or brown (whole grain). Although brown rice has greater health advantages, white rice is the more popular variety. Brown rice is available in several hues, such as reddish, purple or black.

White rice is made up almost entirely of carbohydrates and is a great energy booster (Image via Pexels @Rama Tria Wijaya)
White rice is made up almost entirely of carbohydrates and is a great energy booster (Image via Pexels @Rama Tria Wijaya)

Rice is used to produce a wide range of goods, including rice milk, rice syrup, rice flour and rice bran oil.


Why is White Rice so popular?

More than half the world’s population uses white rice as a major source of carbohydrates in their diet, partly because of its adaptability, availability and ability to take on any taste or seasoning. White rice has a soft, chewy texture that gives dishes depth and goes well with many cuisines.

There are several varieties of rice. While whole grain brown rice has a nutty taste, white rice is a processed grain that lacks the fibre found in whole grains. White rice is still a rich source of carbs and other vitamins and minerals like manganese and iron, though.

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White Rice: Nutritional Facts

A cup (186 grams) of enriched, short-grain white rice has the following nutritional profile:

Calories: 242 grams

Carbohydrates: 53.4 grams

Fat: 0.4 grams

Protein: 4.4 grams

Sodium: 0 mg

Fibre: 0.6 grams

Sugars: 0 grams

Manganese: 0.7 mg

Iron: 2.7 mg

Thiamin: 0.3 mg.

Rice is a prominent source of carbohydrates for a majority of the world’s population. White rice contains largely starch and only a small amount of fibre and sugar.

White rice has a glycemic index of 73. The glycemic index of brown rice is estimated to be about 68, wihle that of short-grain rice is often greater than that of long-grain, medium-grain and brown rice.

Initially, all rice is whole-grain with the bran attached. Pearling produces white rice by passing the grain through a machine, where it is rolled, and the bran is softly ‘pearled’ away, leaving the white kernel intact. That transforms the grain from a whole grain to a refined one. Additionally, pearling reduces cooking time and increases the shelf life of grains.

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One cup of white rice contains over four grams of protein, while a cup of brown rice contains around five

Manganese is abundant in white rice, which provides about 30 percent of the daily value (DV). It’s also an excellent source of iron, supplying 2.7 mg or 15% of the daily value. B vitamins are also supplied by white rice (especially thiamin and also niacin and riboflavin).


Health Benefits of White Rice

Some of the health benefits of white rice are as follows:

1) Free of gluten

For patients with celiac disease or gluten allergies, the hypoallergenic quality of rice is a gift. Rice can also be readily transformed into flour, noodles and bread to provide a wide array of consumable products for those who are allergic to gluten.

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2) Massive energy source

Rice is a high-carb meal, so it gives you a lot of energy quickly. So even athletes who need an energy boost prefer white rice over brown.


3) Promotes heart health

By consuming whole grain rice, you can boost your heart health. Whole grains help raise blood cholesterol levels and lower the risk of heart disease and stroke, according to the American Heart Association.


4) Easily digestible

Rice is not only easy to prepare but is also easy to digest. Unlike brown rice, which contains anti-nutrient phytic acid, white rice is devoid of tat. White rice can even enhance sleep quality on days when having dinner at a sensible hour is impossible.


5) Maintains intestinal health

When you have refined white rice, you consume a significant amount of soluble fibre or butyrate, which is a type of resistant starch. By lowering any inflammation, butyrate can improve the health of your stomach.

For that reason, people who experience diarrhoea are often encouraged to have boiled white rice. Higher quantities of resistant starch are present in rice after it has been cooked and cooled.

Research suggests that particular fatty acids that support the health of the colon can be formed as a result of resistant starch. Additionally, these fatty acids can help lower the risk of colorectal cancer.

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6) Supports Muscles, Nerves and Bones

White rice has 14.9 mg of magnesium per serving, which might help you meet your daily recommended intake of 420 mg.

Magnesium is an essential mineral for healthy nerve and muscle function and is a structural component of bones. It helps hundreds of enzymatic processes involved in the creation of DNA and proteins.


Downsides of White Rice

The Glycemic Index (GI) measures how quickly the body transforms carbohydrates into sugars that can be taken into the bloodstream.

Food items with a lower GI appear to be more beneficial for patients with type 2 diabetes, as they promote a gradual but slow rise in blood sugar levels. Foods with a higher glycemic index can produce quick glucose spikes.

The GI of white rice is 64, while that of brown rice is 55. So white rice carbohydrates are converted to blood sugar more rapidly than brown rice ones.

That may be one of the reasons why white rice has been linked to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes. White rice has a higher glycemic index than brown rice, meaning its carbohydrates transform into blood sugar more quickly.

Unabated rice consumption (no portion control) can increase the chance of developing type 2 diabetes.

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