Why You May Want To Avoid Eating Hot Rice

Endurance athletes know the benefits of a good rice dish. The high glycemic carbs in white rice help athletes replenish glycogen stores after a long, tough training session (via Tilda). While low-carb dieters might never see rice again, brown rice has the fiber, manganese, selenium, and B vitamins essential for a healthy diet (via Kendall Reegan Nutrition Center). If you've shunned white rice from your menus because the bran and germ are removed, many of the essential nutrients are added.

You might fear rice because it's more likely to absorb arsenic, but cooking your rice will eliminate as much as 60% of any arsenic. However, eating the rice while it's still hot means the normal starches will — more than likely — spike your blood sugar levels (via Healthline). This might not be great if you have insulin resistance. Letting your rice cool after it's cooked forms a new structure of starch–one that's great for your health.

The health benefits of resistant starch

Typically, the starches in hot rice will break down into glucose in your stomach, which is then absorbed into your bloodstream. This makes hot rice readily available for your energy needs. When this rice cools, the starch goes through starch retrogradation and becomes a resistant starch. This starch resists digestion in the stomach and small intestine and becomes food for the good bacteria in your large intestine.

Resistant starch also promotes the good bacteria to make short-chain fatty acids, a source of energy for your gut. Adding resistant starch to your diet can improve your gut health and reduce inflammation. A 2015 article in the Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that cooling then reheating cooked rice not only increased its resistant starch, but it lowered the glycemic response (compared to freshly cooked rice). Resistant starches can also help you feel full after a meal, so you'll likely eat less.

Adding more resistant starch to your diet

If you already eat rice, try making a large pot of it and storing it in the refrigerator for 24 hours to reheat later. Reheating rice still retains the resistant starch. You can do the same for red and yellow potatoes, but russet potatoes lose some of their resistant starch when they're reheated. For people who still fear rice or potatoes, you can find resistant starch in white beans and lentils. Oats lose their resistant starch when cooked, so soaking oats in yogurt or milk overnight will retain their resistant starch. Green bananas also are high in resistant starch, but heating them or eating them ripe changes them to regular starch. Plantains are the same way.

If fiber typically makes you feel gassy, you should know that resistant starches ferment more slowly than other types of fiber (via Johns Hopkins Diabetes). Even so, you should gradually increase your fiber so you don't experience gastrointestinal discomfort.