Tricks To Make Your Rice Healthier

Rice is a staple piece across many cuisines. Aside from being affordable, those tiny pillowy clouds complement almost any meal. This probably explains why it's the world's most popular grain with around 510.29 million metric tons of rice consumed globally between 2021 and 2022 (per Statista). While China, India, and Vietnam are the top leading consumers, Americans also greatly enjoy it. To put it in perspective, Americans accounted for approximately 4.6 million metric tons of rice between 2021 and 2022.

Even though this heavy carbohydrate is popular, rice does have its drawbacks. White rice, in particular, is often devoid of many nutrients since the germ and bran are stripped from the grain, shares Healthline. This leaves only the endosperm, a rich carbohydrate component, and gets rid of the grain's more nutrient-dense and fiber-rich parts. White rice consumption may increase the odds of metabolic conditions, such as heart disease and stroke. Additionally, the chances of Type 2 diabetes are also higher, according to a 2012 study. Fortunately, there are a couple of tricks to make your rice healthier, so you can enjoy rice without any guilt.

Don't forget to add in spices and oils

For starters, it's always best to boil your rice, and avoid using high-fat vegetable oils, explains NDTV Food. Next, you'll want to focus on the flavor. When it comes to spicing up your rice, cumin seeds and cloves do wonders for making rice healthier. In fact, cumin seeds have been linked to managing blood sugar levels and blood pressure. Whereas cloves can lower blood sugar levels in healthy and prediabetic individuals, shares a 2019 study.

Another trick to make your rice healthier? Add oil. This simple method was discovered by experts in Sri Lanka who found that adding coconut oil when cooking white rice slashes the calories by 10% to 12% and enhances the amount of resistant starch (via Popsugar).  Team leader Sudhair James explained during his research presentation at the National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS), "when the water is boiling, before adding the raw rice, we added coconut oil — about 3 percent of the weight of the rice you're going to cook," (per The Washington Post). Once it was done, they let it cool in the refrigerator for 12 hours. The researchers tested 38 rice varieties and eight different recipes.

In other words, by changing the composition, the rice becomes healthier. But how? By simply converting digestible starch into resistant starch (per EurekAlert!). This means fewer calories are absorbed, which makes for a healthier bowl of rice.