Parboiled rice: What is really the fuss about it?

Parboiled Rice - Diet234

According to Wikidiff, to parboil is to boil food briefly so that it is partially cooked. While boil is to heat (especially liquids) to a point where it begins to turn to gas. When rice for instance is parboiled, water-soluble nutrients move from the rice bran (covering) to the endosperm (the part you eat). Hence, you get the nutrients more.

Health Benefits

Credible sources have shown that parboiled rice is a good source of iron and calcium. Also, when compared to white rice, it has fewer calories, more fibre and more protein. Also, some minerals like magnesium and zinc are in lower amounts in rice (parboiled) compared the brown and white rice.

Some studies have found that consumption of rice that has been parboiled may not raise blood glucose levels as much compared to other types of rice. This is due to the resistant starch and the slightly higher protein content. The resistant starch, in turn, helps to promote gut health through prebiotic activities.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), between parboiled brown rice and parboiled white rice, you are better off with regular brown rice.

Parboiled rice and Arsenic

Take note that eating large amounts of rice can lead to arsenic toxicity in the blood due to the naturally occurring inorganic arsenic found in rice. Arsenic toxicity is particularly harmful to children. A research team from the Institute for Sustainable Food found a very home-friendly way of cooking rice. This most updated method of cooking rice to prevent arsenic toxicity is called the ‘parboiling with absorption’ (PBA) method and preserves most of the nutrients in the cooked rice. Here is how;

  • Parboil the rice in pre-boiled water for five minutes before draining and refreshing the water
  • Then, cook it on low heat to absorb all the water
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Watch the explainer video below:

Some people cook ‘Ofada‘ rice (brown rice with local sauce) in this manner and it is great for health.

Should I rinse rice before cooking?

Findings from FDA research shows that rinsing rice before cooking has minimal effect on the arsenic content of the cooked grain and will wash off iron, folate, thiamine and niacin from polished and parboiled rice. It is better to follow the PBA method of cooking rice above.

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