Why rice should be eaten in moderation

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Summer and winter, we adapt our grains to all sauces. One of the most widely consumed cereals in the world, rice is one of the staple products found in all kitchens. But this plant, whose roots grow in water, binds arsenic in its inorganic form particularly well. This semi-metal is abundantly present in the water of rice paddies, especially in Bangladesh, and represents a real danger for our health since it promotes the appearance of cancer and cardiovascular diseases. According to researchers at the University of Manchester and the University of Salford (United Kingdom), exposure to this substance increases the risk of death.

Higher risk of premature death

In recent years, the association between arsenic and rice consumption has been the subject of numerous studies. The latest, published in the journal Science of the Total Environment, highlights the correlation between rice consumption and cardiovascular mortality. The risk of premature death is even 6% higher for heavy rice eaters. To arrive at such results, the researchers relied on food and health data from authorities in England and Wales. “Among rice consumers in England and Wales, the 25% who consume the most are likely to be at higher risk of cardiovascular mortality compared to the 25% who consume the least,” explains Prof. David Polya, from the University of Manchester. Although the study confirms this link, scientists want to be careful: “There are a multitude of other factors to take into account such as smoking, eating habits or even age.” Further work will therefore need to be carried out to confirm these results.

Choose basmati rice

In order to limit the risks, scientists recommend consuming basmati or white rice, which contains less inorganic arsenic. In a report on arsenic in rice published in the American magazine Consumer Reports in 2015, researchers recommended rinsing rice before use and cooking it in a larger amount of water (about 6 cups of water for one of rice). This cooking method would thus reduce the arsenic content by 30%.

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You can also vary the pleasures with other cereals such as wheat, spelled or even quinoa.

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