Rice is a staple food for millions of people around the globe. According to the Rice Association of the UK, there are over 40 000 varieties of cultivated rice, with only eight percent spread worldwide and the rest being consumed within a 50 kilometre radius following their harvest.
Currently, the most common varieties of rice are that of white and brown rice, with some exotic and unique varieties slowly making their way onto supermarket shelves.
An example of this, is Bhutanese Red Rice, which is working hard to find its customers not only in Australia but also worldwide. However, what differentiates this rice from white and brown varieties, and what are the benefits of consuming this new product?
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It is common for all types of rice to be high in carbohydrates. And although many try to avoid carbohydrates, our body requires carbohydrates for energy. Rice is also low in fat and contains a sound amount of protein. All rice is Gluten-free and is the most non-allergenic of all grains. It is easy to cook and can be used in a wide variety of recipes.
The main difference between white rice and others is that the husk, bran layer and germ are removed from white rice, making it a the highly-refined version of raw rice. After the process of milling and polishing, white rice is left virtually empty of nutrients and has become primarily starch.
Being wholegrain, red and brown rice retain more minerals and vitamins, and have similar nutritional profiles. Both Bhutanese red and brown rice are amazing sources of dietary fibre, complex carbohydrates, and are packed with B vitamins, calcium, zinc and iron, manganese, selenium, magnesium, potassium and phosphorus. In addition to all of this goodness, red rice is rich in antioxidants anthocyanin and proanthocyanidins, which help our body fight free radicals.
Thanks to a bran layer which is naturally thinner than other whole grains, Bhutanese red rice is able to cook quicker than many types of brown rice (in just 20 minutes). Red Rice is to Bhutanese food as bread is to the Australian table, but the rice is probably healthier. Overall Bhutanese Red rice has an earthy, nutty taste and can be enjoyed all on its own, or enhanced by herbs and spices in various delicious recipes.
So, for all those people who love rice but are conscious about eating it in order to avoid putting on extra kilos, the better choice would be Bhutanese red rice and brown rice. Many nutritionists and chefs promote a colorful diet simply because color means nutrients, color means antioxidants and color means fiber, which is certainly true in relation to brown and Bhutanese Red rice.
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