If you are a rice lover, then you have to know the healthier method to cook rice. As an Indian we can’t imagine life without a bowl of rajma-chawal or fish curry and rice. Well, here is some cautionary news for rice lovers. Today we are living in a chemical era, from starting brush after waking up in the morning to switching mosquito repellent before going to bed at night- total we depend on chemical, and there’s no one can denying that fact.

These chemicals seem to be creeping into our food by all sorts of means. When we are talking about agriculture, there are many factors that contribute to the proper growth of the crops. Contaminated/soiled water and excessive pesticides water can seep into the crop produce, making them toxic for consumption.

So before eating rice, soak them overnight to reduce the chances of increase in cancer, heart disease and diabetes, suggested a new study.

According to a recent study done by the researchers from the Queens University Belfast in England, the chemical (arsenic) from the industrial toxins and pesticides in the soil contaminate the rice, which is endangering the health of millions of people, reports The Telegraph. Research has suggested arsenic can remain in the flooded paddy fields where the rice is grown for decades.

Arsenic is a chemical element, usually in combination with sulphur and metals, that occurs naturally in many minerals. and it is commonly used in the production of insecticides and pesticides. Ground water of various countries also contains high levels of natural arsenic, which could be very harmful for human health.

Arsenic gets into the rice as a result of industrial contaminants and pesticides that were used in the past and can remain in flooded paddy fields for decades. Photo Courtesy:-The Daily Star

There have been various reports on the harmful effects of pesticides and how those chemicals are making their way into our food leading to various kinds on diseases and hampering our long term health. Rice is causing what is known as Arsenic poisoning. The findings revealed that by soaking rice overnight the level of toxin — arsenic — was reduced by 80 percent. For the research, Andy Meharg, a leading expert on rice contamination from Queens University Belfast, tested three different ways of chemical levels after cooking rice.

In the first method, Professor Meharg used a ratio of two parts of water to one part of rice, where the water is “steamed out” during cooking (a method commonly used). In the second method, increasing the ratio, the five parts water to one part of rice and the excess water washed off, then Meharg found that the arsenic levels were almost halved. While in the third method, where the rice was soaked overnight cut the toxin levels the most, the levels were reduced by almost 80 per cent.

Grain of truth. Picture Courtesy:- YouTube

Typically, rice has ten times more inorganic arsenic than other foods. Recent study shows a common method of cooking rice can be inadequate in preventing exposure to traces of the poison arsenic, which pollutes rice while it is growing as a result of pesticides and industrial toxins. According to WHO, long-term exposure to arsenic can cause a range of health problems including cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, nervous system damage (neurotoxicity), as well as developmental problems.

Millions of people cooking their rice incorrectly, if you’re not using enough water then you’re at risk of heart disease and cancer, scientists have warned. Cooking the grains in excess water helps to flush out arsenic, preventing any possible chemical poisoning.

The safest method of cooking rice is therefore to soak rice overnight, and then wash and rinse the rice until the water is clear, before draining it well. Later place rice in a saucepan with a ratio of five parts water to one-part rice (plus a little salt).


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