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The good, bad, and ugly side of red rice, the new obsession for healthy eaters

Published on:20 February 2020, 09:00am IST
Has the red-rice mania intrigued you as well? Here’s all you need to know about the current favorite food of the fitness world.
Sonakshi Kohli
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benefits of red rice
When it comes to rice, there are a plethora of options out there in the market. Image courtesy: shutterstock

Surely, the world is a colourful place. And fortunately, this colorfulness extends to what we eat as well. We’re talking about the different colours of the different varieties of rice available in the market these days.

With almost 40, 000 variants, the popular members of the rice family still remain the white, brown, black, and well—the current favourite of the fitness world—red rice!

What is red rice?
Definitely, the colour has everything to do with the name of this variety of rice. But there’s more to this whole grain than just its colour, you know?

Partially or fully covered with red husk, this type of rice gets its colour from a compound called anthocyanin, which has several medicinal and health-promoting properties and is thus, consumed unshelled or unpolished.

What’s the difference between red, brown, white, and black rice?
“White rice does not have the outer layer i.e. the husk, bran and germ. It is also called polished rice. Hence, it has fewer vitamins and minerals compared to other varieties of rice. It also has a higher glycemic index and is a good source of natural carbohydrates,” says Dr. Vanishree Aithal, managing director and specialist, weight-loss therapy, psoriasis, and yoga, Birla Ayurveda Health Care, Chembur.

Clarifying the difference further, she adds, “In brown rice, outer husk is removed but it has the bran layer and the germ hence, it contains more fiber as compared to white rice.”

Coming on to black rice, she mentions that it contains all the outer layers of rice (husk, bran and germ) and thus, is a high source of antioxidants and fibre compared to the other two varieties of rice.

As for the red rice, the presence of anthocyanin makes it nutritionally super-rich and packed with several health benefits.

is rice fattening
Ditch the white rice and opt for red rice instead for its many health benefits. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

What benefits, you wonder?
According to Dr. Aithal, red rice has several benefits, apart from being a weight-loss friendly food. She lists out a few right here for you:

Strengthens immunity
Red rice is enriched with antioxidants and magnesium, which help in curing and preventing many diseases. Plus, it also contains selenium, which helps fight against several infections.

Helps in controlling diabetes
Since it has a low glycemic index (meaning, they cause a slower rise in the blood glucose levels), it helps in controlling the sugar level.

Help in prevention of asthma
Since it has rich magnesium content, regular consumption of red rice helps improve oxygen circulation and hence, prevent asthma.

Improves digestion
Red rice is a great source of fiber, so, it eases the bowel movement and boosts digestion.

Reduces hunger pangs
The fibre and bran in red rice can make you feel satiated for long and you’re less likely to indulge in junk or binge eating after having red rice. All in all, it is weight-loss friendly.

Reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases
The bran present in red rice helps reduce cholesterol levels. In fact, its cholesterol-reducing properties are identical to those of some Chinese medicines with the same purpose.

Prevents arthritis and osteoporosis
Since it is a rich source of calcium and magnesium, it makes for a great food to boost bone density and prevent bone-related diseases.

What’s the right way to consume red rice?
Soak the red rice at least for an hour in a large bowl before cooking. This step will mainly help you get rid of the dust, dirt, etc. Next, add water in ratio of 1:4 (4 cups of water for one cup of rice) and boil.

Once the water boils, add the red rice and cook for 20 minutes on low flame and partially cover the mouth of the vessel with a plate. Once cooked, drain out the liquid and red rice is ready for consumption.

Consumption of red rice
Though red rice is great food for weight-watchers and can be easily included in your daily diet, try not to go overboard with its consumption. Because although there are no side effects of consuming red rice, excess of it can lead to indigestion, according to Dr. Aithal.

So, make a mindful decision before adding this superfood to your diet.

Sonakshi Kohli Sonakshi Kohli

Twenty kilos down and struggling to maintain the weight loss by preaching healthy eating, while eating unhealthy every now and then.