Home Healthy Food Facts Rice, a Cereal with Many Possibilities

Rice, a Cereal with Many Possibilities


Rice is a widely cultivated and used cereal worldwide, which is part of the diet of many countries, especially in Asia and South America.

Rice is a widely cultivated and used cereal worldwide, which is part of the diet of many countries, especially in Asia and South America.

  • Brown rice is not less caloric than white but it contains more micronutrients such as vitamin K, magnesium, phosphorus and B vitamins, among others.
  • It is not recommended in case of constipation or in people with diabetes or reactive hyperglycemia.
  • Long-lasting product but must be consumed in a year, or a half if it is brown rice. Conservation should be done in airtight container and in a cool, dry place.

Rice energy food and rich in vitamins

Like all cereals, rice is a food rich in complex carbohydrates that will provide us with energy. We will have this energy slowly and gradually if we opt for brown rice since its fiber content is higher and slows down the absorption of nutrients. In addition, rice contains B vitamins such as thiamine (B1), involved in the metabolism of carbohydrates, niacin (B3), pyridoxine (B6) and folic acid (B9), essential for pregnant women. In addition, it provides minerals such as phosphorus and potassium , the latter involved in muscle contraction and osmotic balance.

Better brown rice?

In rice processing, we obtain brown rice after subjecting it to cleaning and husking to remove the covering that protects the grain when it is part of the ear. To obtain white rice, then the “peeling” is carried out, which eliminates the bran that covers the grain and the germ. With this process, a good part of the nutritional contribution is lost as we eliminate  fiber, vitamins and minerals . Subsequently, a polishing operation is carried out in which the germ is lost, this makes the rice less perishable, since it significantly reduces the possibility of it becoming stale, but we also lose the nutritional value of the germ. Rice whole is no less caloric than white, but there are notable differences between the vitamin and mineral content of both: white rice can sometimes contain well less than half the content of certain micronutrients such as vitamin K, magnesium, phosphorus and vitamins of group B, among others.


How many times have we had the typical white rice, rather juicy or soupy, after an episode of diarrhea? White rice, devoid of bran, contains less fiber than other cereals, hence its greater digestibility. On the other hand, the starch that it contains and that in cooking will go largely into the water provides its astringent power . Thus, we know that if we want to make the most of its astringent property we must drink the water from boiling the rice.

How to take it

When we think of rice we can think of: paella, rice pudding, breakfast cereals, rice soup, rice cakes, aromatic rice, soup, sake (rice liquor) … There are countless products and preparations based on rice .

To begin we must bear in mind that there are numerous varieties of rice, each one especially suitable for certain uses. We classify rice into three broad categories according to whether it is short grain, medium grain or long grain. In addition, depending on the industrial process to which it has been subjected, we will find white, brown or brown rice or cargo, parboleid or steamed, quick or precooked, etc. Here are a few examples:

  • Long grain white rice : we will use it for salads or garnishes.
  • Medium-grain white rice, of which the bomba rice is a part : it is ideal for making paellas.
  • Round grain rice : perfect for risottos or creamy dishes.
  • Glutinous rice : used for Asian dishes like sushi for its ability to stick together.
  • Aromatic rice : it is usually medium or long grain and has volatile aromatic compounds that confer the aroma. It is typical of Southeast Asia and an example is basmati rice.
  • Pigmented rice : the bran contains pigments such as anthocyanins, which give them reddish or purple colors, but these colors are lost if we eliminate the bran.
  • Steamed rice : is the one that is subjected to soaking prior to husking, introducing steam and letting it dry. This operation is also called parboiling and is an ancient tradition from India and Pakistan. Although initially it was used to soften the casings, today we know that it causes part of the vitamins and minerals of the husk and the bran to pass to the grain, so we can consider it more nutritious, although the presence of fiber and phytic acid reduces the bioavailability of these nutrients. We should not confuse this rice with precooked or fast.
  • Precooked or quick rice : it is one that has been cracked and cooked facilitating the final cooking that is noticeably shortened, from about 20 to 5 minutes.

What we know by the name “wild rice” is not really rice . We can consider it as a false rice since while the rice belongs to the Oryza sativa species , the wild one is obtained from a family of aquatic plants of the Zizania genus , among them the Zizania aquatica.

Who is it good for and who is not?

Rice is a nutritious and easily digestible food that can be appropriate on many occasions, although the following cases should be highlighted:

  • Celiac disease ( gluten intolerance ) : rice is one of the few cereals, along with corn and sorghum, millet or quinoa, that does not contain gluten and is therefore suitable for people with this intolerance.
  • People with digestive problems: as we have mentioned, white rice is an easily digestible product.
  • For athletes: for its contribution of complex carbohydrates and vitamins of group B. Remember that vitamin B1 is necessary to metabolize carbohydrates.
  • For children: it is a food well accepted by the little ones without digestibility problems and very versatile, it can be used as a main dish or as a side dish in multiple preparations.
  • If you suffer from diarrhea: the starch content of the rice cooking water provides us with a very beneficial astringent effect in these cases.
  • Hypertension: its sodium content is really very low, which contributes to having a low sodium diet adequate to prevent or treat high blood pressure .
  • Hypercholesterolemia: wholegrain rice could contribute to improve blood cholesterol levels since rice husk, in addition to fiber, contains phytosterols, although these relationships are still being studied.

It is not convenient in certain cases:

  • In case of constipation , soupy rice or rice water should be avoided due to its astringent potential.
  • Diabetes or reactive hyperglycemia : white rice has a higher glycemic index than other foods rich in carbohydrates such as pasta or legumes. In these cases it is advisable not to abuse it and prefer brown rice.

Buying and conservation advice

Rice is a long-lasting product, however it should be consumed during the year, or in half a year if it is brown rice. When purchasing it, we must look at the expiration date, on the packaging to check that it is not damaged or broken, and on the quality of rice we want to buy. In addition to the varieties already mentioned above, there are three different categories of rice: extra, first and second. They are identified respectively with the colors red, green and yellow and correspond to 92%, 87% and 80% respectively of whole grains.

Conservation must be carried out in airtight container and in a cool and dry place to avoid rancidity, especially in brown rice, or entry and colonization of insects or parasites.

The recipe

Rice With Chicken Curry


  • 200 long grain rice
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 2 teaspoons curry
  • 1 small onion
  • 2 cups of chicken broth
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper


Cut the breasts into cubes and chop the onion. In a pan we brown the onion with the oil and then add the chicken, add a little salt, pepper and the curry and stir well. After we add the rice, we continue stirring a little and add the broth. Next, we cook with the pan covered for about 15 – 20 minutes.

Note: It is possible to add more broth during cooking if necessary. In addition, it is convenient to test the salt and curry content and rectify if necessary. The cooking time depends a lot on the type of rice, so it is also advisable to try it to stop cooking at the desired point.


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