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Yes, There Is Arsenic In Your Rice. Here’s What You Need To Know

Yes, there is arsenic in your rice. 

Yes, arsenic is toxic. And it has been associated with lung, skin and bladder cancer, among other health concerns.

And yes, even though it contains arsenic, you can still eat rice.

But before you freak out about what this means, you need to know what arsenic is.

Arsenic is an element in the earth’s crust that’s naturally found in the air, water and soil, so the fact that it is in rice isn’t entirely alarming. Arsenic can however also be a result of human activity, such as mining or the use of certain pesticides.

There are two types of arsenic: organic (in the biological sense) and inorganic. Inorganic arsenic is the kind that’s dangerous and is associated with adverse health effects ― and it’s the kind that’s present in rice, which is why you might want to moderate your rice intake.

Arsenic finds its way into food because it’s absorbed by the plant as it grows. Some plants absorb more than others, and rice seems to absorb the most among commonly eaten foods. The FDA has even set a limit on the amount of inorganic arsenic allowed in infant rice cereal. But the FDA has not set a limit on the amount of plain rice adults should eat. Instead, they recommend adults “eat a well-balanced diet for good nutrition and to minimize potential adverse consequences from consuming an excess of any one food.”

 So how do you continue eating rice in good conscience? Educate yourself.

Consumer Reports suggests mixing up your grain consumption with other grains that are naturally lower in arsenic. Amaranth, buckwheat, millet and polenta have almost no levels of arsenic. Bulgur, barley, and farro have very low levels. And quinoa has less than rice.

According to the study on arsenic in rice by Consumer Reports, brown rice has higher levels of arsenic than white because the highest levels of the arsenic are found in the husk. The husk is removed to make white rice, so if you eat a lot of brown rice you might want to switch it up with white (despite the fact that brown rice is typically thought to be the better choice, nutritionally).

You can also cook rice in a way that will remove some of the arsenic. While the modern technique of cooking rice in a limited amount water helps retain the most nutrition from the grain, it also retains the arsenic. Boiling the rice in a 6:1 water-to-rice ratio (sort of how you’d cook pasta), draining the excess water once cooked, has been shown to remove up to 60 percent of arsenic levels in rice. Rinsing before you cook can also reduce arsenic levels. In other words, flush the rice with lots of water.

Feel free to still enjoy your lunch rice bowl or get down with fried rice. Just make sure you eat rice in moderation, and/or cook it with lots of water, and your arsenic intake should be in check. But when it comes to infants, regulate their consumption. Because remember, their body weight versus intake is very different than it is for an adult.

14/02/2017      Julie R. Thomson Senior Editor, Taste, HuffPost


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Teff Benefits: 8 Healthy Reasons To Add Teff To Your Diet

It’s the super tiny grain with the not-so-tiny power.

Teff, which is grown in Ethiopia and used to make injera (the sourdough flatbread), is a small grain with a long list of health benefits.

“Teff packs a nutritional punch to your diet if you are looking for a super food that gives you excellent combination benefits,” says Rosanna Lee, a nutrition educator based in Toronto.

Along with being gluten-free, high in iron and super tasty, teff is also known to reduce PMS symptoms and help you lose weight, and Lee says it’s ideal for vegetarians looking for sources of protein.

But the one thing this super grain doesn’t have is a cheap price tag. Teff can cost up to $8 per pound and one site that ships teff across North America starts at $25 for four pounds.

If you don’t mind spending the money, though, this superfood could just be worth it. Here are Lee’s eight reasons why you need more teff in your life.

The Health Benefits Of Teff

High Nutritional Value

Teff is high in protein with a great combination of eight essential amino acids needed for the body’s growth and repair. It has high amounts of calcium (1 cup of cooked teff offers about 1/2 cup of calcium found in cooked spinach), manganese, phosphorous, iron, copper, aluminum, barium, thiamin, and vitamin C (which is not normally found in grains). The iron from teff is easily absorbed and is also recommended for people with low blood iron levels.

High Nutritional Value

Teff is high in protein with a great combination of eight essential amino acids needed for the body’s growth and repair. It has high amounts of calcium (1 cup of cooked teff offers about 1/2 cup of calcium found in cooked spinach), manganese, phosphorous, iron, copper, aluminum, barium, thiamin, and vitamin C (which is not normally found in grains). The iron from teff is easily absorbed and is also recommended for people with low blood iron levels.

teff

Gluten-Free

Teff is a gluten-free grain so it can be a great alternative for those living with celiac disease, having gluten intolerance or choosing a gluten-free lifestyle.

Better Manage Blood Sugars

If you’re diabetic, you might want to consider adding teff to your diet to control blood sugar levels. Teff contains approximately 20 to 40 per cent resistant starches and has a relatively low glycemic index (GI) that can help diabetics better regulate their sugar levels.

It Will Make You Go

Teff is also great for helping you go. The fibre content in this tiny little grain can help you regulate your bowel movements and keep you feeling fuller longer.

Low In Sodium

Teff is also great for those seeking to lower their blood pressure and maintain a heart healthy diet. Unprocessed teff is a better alternative compared with pre-processed, cooked teff which often comes with preservatives or additives that are high in sodium. If you’re worried, always double check nutritional labels.

Low In Fat

Naturally, this grain is very low in saturated fat.

You Can Do A Lot With It

Part of eating a nutritionally adequate diet is being able to incorporate superfoods like teff into all of your meals. Teff is a versatile grain and can be eaten whole, steamed, boiled or baked. Today, teff is found in a variety of products like pancakes, breads, cereals, snack bars and many other foods. Traditionally, it is used to make Ethiopian injera (sourdough bread).

It Tastes Great

Looking very much like poppy seeds, teff has a nutty, grainy taste and texture that can add dimension to your recipes and cooking. Most Ethiopian platters are served on injera bread.

By Arti Patel        02/06/2014


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Could More Whole Grains Help You Live Longer?

Three servings a day lessens risk of dying from heart disease and cancer, study suggests

By Kathleen Doheny     HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, June 13, 2016 (HealthDay News) – Health experts have long urged people to swap their processed white grains for the whole-grain variety, and new research suggests that advice might help you live longer.

Researchers found that people who ate three or more servings of whole grains a day had a 20 percent reduced risk of premature death during the study period, compared to those who ate fewer or no servings of whole grains.

“The higher the whole grain intake, the lower the death rate, especially deaths from cardiovascular disease,” said study author Dr. Qi Sun. He is an assistant professor of nutrition at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston.

Whole grains are so named because they contain the entire grain kernel, including bran (outer husk), germ (nutrient-rich core) and endosperm (middle layer). Whole-grain foods include whole-wheat flour, oatmeal, brown rice and whole cornmeal.

When grains are refined, they have been milled and that process removes the bran and the germ, as well as fiber, iron and many of the B vitamins. White breads, white rice and white flour are all refined grains, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Sun and his colleagues reviewed the findings of 12 published studies as well as data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES). The studies included nearly 800,000 men and women. The study populations were from the United States, the United Kingdom and Scandinavian countries. The studies covered 1971 to 2010. Over the study periods, there were almost 98,000 deaths recorded.

The study couldn’t show a direct cause-and-effect relationship. But the review suggests that the risk of dying prematurely from heart disease and stroke dropped approximately 25 percent when people had three servings of whole grains (48 grams total) daily, compared to those who ate fewer or no servings of whole grains. The risk of death from cancer appeared to decrease about 15 percent, the study authors said.

whole-grains-explained

Sun said many possibilities can help explain why whole-grain consumption seemed to affect death risk. Whole grains are high in fiber, so they can help regulate blood sugar and improve blood cholesterol levels, which can lower the risk of heart disease and diabetes. Fiber also makes you feel full longer, so you may eat fewer calories, maintain a healthy weight, and lower heart disease risk, he added.

Based on the study findings, Sun said that low-carbohydrate diets that neglect the health benefits of whole grains “should be adopted with caution,” due to a possible higher risk of heart disease.

To get 48 grams of whole grains, Sun said, people could eat three slices of whole-grain bread, for instance.

One registered dietitian agreed with the findings.

“The outcomes of this study provide support to the dietary guidelines recommendation to include three servings of whole grains in our daily diet,” said Connie Diekman, director of university nutrition at Washington University in St. Louis. “Contrary to many popular diets, this study supports the health benefits of whole grains as opposed to a popular perception that grains are the cause of obesity.”

So how can you be sure the foods you’re eating actually are whole-grain? Foods that list “whole” before the first ingredient on the ingredient list are whole-grain foods, the USDA says.

Some foods are also naturally whole grains, such as oatmeal, quinoa, brown rice, rolled oats, bulgur, wild rice and popcorn. The USDA says you can’t judge whether a food is whole-grain from its color. And, the agency notes that certain claims, such as 100 percent wheat, on packaging don’t necessarily mean a product is made with whole grains. Check the ingredient list to be sure.

Whole-Grain

The study was published June 13 in Circulation.


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Top 10 Reasons to Eat Sourdough Bread

Just about everyone has an affinity for some kind of bread, and most of us have heard of a reason or two why we maybe shouldn’t eat slice after slice of it. While there is some validity to the bread-bashing, sourdough made from your own unique starter of wild yeast and bacteria often defies the negativity, and it does so purely by its nature. The crafting of sourdough is an ancient art, and one of which we’re pretty fond–for a few (or 10) reasons.

1. Sourdough often has a lower glycemic index than that of other breads–meaning, it doesn’t spike blood sugar as dramatically. This is because it depletes damaged starches within it, simply by its fermentative nature.

2. Sourdough bread contains the bacteria Lactobacillus in a higher proportion to yeast than do other breads. More Lactobacillus means higher production of lactic acid, which means less of the potentially dangerous phytic acid. And what does that mean? More mineral availability and easier digestion!

3. Easier digestion is made even more possible by the bacteria-yeast combo working to predigest the starches in the grains. Predigestion by sourdough = less digestion for you.

4. Sourdough preparation is more lengthy (soaking, rinsing, etc.), and this longer prep time results in the protein gluten being broken down into amino acids. Again, this translates to easier and more pleasant digestion, sometimes even for those who are sensitive to gluten.

sourdough

5. Acetic acid–which inhibits the growth of mold, is produced in the making of sourdough. So, sourdough naturally preserves itself. Pretty neat considering the toxic preservatives thrown into the food supply today.

6. The fermentation process increases the content of beneficial bacteria in the bread AND the gut. Healthy gut bacteria = happy body.

7. Additionally, these bacteria control yeast population in the gut, so yeast overgrowth and infection is less likely to occur.

8. The integrity of sourdough is so complex that it contains a host of goodness in terms of nutrients. In sourdough, you can find vitamins B1-B6, B12, folate, thiamin, niacin, riboflavin, vitamin E, selenium, iron, manganese, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc and potassium–in addition to uniquely balanced proteins and fatty acids. Whoa! This is in contrast to most commercially produced breads, which maintain only a fraction of their original nutrient content after all the processing they undergo.

9. Sourdough bread made with wild yeast, bacteria, and whole grain flour is the oldest and most original form of leavened bread. It truly is an ancient art that is crafted in harmony with nature. It’s only natural that we eat it as opposed to other breads.

10. And finally, Michael Pollan made his own sourdough in The Omnivore’s Dilemma. Who doesn’t want to be a little more like Michael Pollan?

Another good reason is the FLAVOR. Tangy and distinctive, it will undoubtedly leave you wanting another bite.

March 16, 2013