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Your favourite rice can give you cancer, if not soaked and cooked right!

Published on:15 September 2021, 19:06pm IST
You might love rice for all the right reasons, but this humble kitchen staple could give you cancer. That’s exactly why cooking it right is important!
Geetika Sachdev
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rice
Be wary of arsenic in rice. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

We Indians love food, and more so, rice. C’mon, think of all your favourite dishes — doesn’t rajma chawal top the list? Or how about those weekends, when all you want to eat is spicy fried rice? There’s no denying that we love our rice, but are we cooking it right? You might raise your eyebrows in amazement, because well, what does cooking really have to do with it? The answer is everything.

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Rice is a favourite among Indian households. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

As we know, the foods we eat today are choked with chemicals. This means that without even realising, you are ingesting chemicals, and that could really cause a lot of trouble in the future. The food that you love so much could cause toxicity in your body, and cause diseases like cancer and heart-related issues. 

Also read: It’s the battle of white rice versus brown rice and we’re telling you which one is healthier

According to a recent study done by the Queen’s University Belfast in England, the chemical from the industrial toxins and pesticides in the soil can make rice really dangerous. In many cases, rice is causing arsenic poisoning. 

So, what should we do? Should we stop eating it? Not at all. But you must learn how to cook it properly. But before we get to that, let’s find out all about arsenic, and how it can be detrimental for your health. 

All about arsenic


For the unversed, arsenic is a chemical that is present in various minerals. It is also the most common element that is used to make industrial pesticides and insecticides. In fact, there are several countries that have high levels of arsenic in their ground water. Unfortunately, if we are exposed to this chemical for a long time, either by way of food or water, arsenic poisoning is likely to happen. It can show up in the form of vomiting, abdominal pain and diarrhea, and even cancer and skin lesions. As mentioned above, high levels of arsenic are found in rice, and if we do not pay attention and cook rice well, there’s a lot we might have to deal with in the future. 

Also Read: Not just hair! Here are 5 ways in which rice water can works wonders for your skin

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Make sure you soak the rice well before cooking it. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Is there any way to prevent arsenic poisoning?

Absolutely, yes! As per research by the Queen’s University Belfast, before eating rice, soak them overnight in water, and you will be sorted. The findings also go on to show that the levels of toxins were reduced by 80%, when this was done. 

There were three different ways that were tested.

  1. In the first, a ratio of two parts of water to one part of rice was added, where the water was steamed out during cooking. 
  2. In the second, five parts of water was added to one part of rice and the excess water was eliminated. It was found that the levels of arsenic were almost halved. 
  3. And in the third method, in which the rice was soaked overnight, the levels of arsenic went down by 80 percent.

Even if you are in a tearing rush, do not forget to soak the rice for at least 3-4 hours.

Geetika Sachdev Geetika Sachdev

An independent writer and journalist, Geetika loves sharp and fresh humour, just like her coffee! If not writing, you'll find her cafe-hopping and raiding the best book stores in town.