Rice is eaten by millions of people around the world, and organic brown rice is becoming the principal planetary grain of the 21st century. It contains a harmonious balance of nutrients and energy and is included in guidelines by all major scientific and medical associations. Brown rice is high in plant-quality protein, complex carbohydrates, dietary fiber, and vitamins and minerals. In temperate regions, short and medium grain are primarily used, while in warmer latitudes long-grain and basmati varieties prevail. Sweet rice is used for special dishes.
Altogether an estimated 120,000 varieties of rice are grown in the world, representing two cultivated species: Oryza sativa (Asian rice) and Oryza glaberrima (African rice). About 70 percent of the world’s rice crop is now cultivated from high-yielding hybrid seeds developed as part of the Green Revolution beginning in the 1960s.
See Diabetes, Peace, Prostate Cancer, Seeds, War-Restricted Diet, Whole Grains, Yellow Emperor’s Classic.
• Rice Beneficial for Cancer, Heart Disease, Diabetes, and Other Chronic Disorders - In a review of international research on cancer, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and other chronic disorders, a researcher at the American Health Foundation reported that increasing intake of rice, decreasing fat from 40 to 20 percent of calories, and ingesting from five to nine vegetables and fruits daily would be beneficial in reducing risk for these diseases.
Source: J. H. Weisburger, “Worldwide Prevention of Cancer and Other Chronic Diseases Based on Knowledge of Mechanisms,” Mutation Research 402(1-2):331-37, 1998.
• Rice Protective Against Stomach Cancer - In a case-control study in Marseille, French researchers reported that individuals who consumed higher amounts of rice were about 50 percent less likely to contract stomach cancer than persons who ate lower amounts of this food or no rice.
Source: J.Cornée et al., “A Case-Control Study of Gastric Cancer and Nutritional Factors in Marseille, France,” European Journal of Epidemiology 11(1):55-65, 1995.
• Brown Rice and Improved Control of Diabetes - In an intervention study in Singapore, researchers reported that 183 diabetic patients who took unpolished brown rice, reduced calories, and cut down on oily and fatty food improved self-care and long-term control of the disease compared to 95 patients in the control group.
Source: A. S. Tan, “Patient Education in the Management of Diabetes Mellitus,” Singapore Medical Journal 38(4):156-60, 1997.
• Unpolished Rice Prevents Beriberi - The nutritional superiority of unpolished rice attracted medical attention in 1886 when Japanese and Dutch researchers discovered that beriberi among prisoners could be prevented by providing inmates with unpolished rice from which thiamine, or vitamin B-1, had not bee removed. Despite the research by Sugenoya and Cornelissen, the superiority of brown rice was not completely accepted in medical circles until the 1920s.
Source: A. de Knecht-van Eckelen, “The History of Healing; Beriberi: “Kind of Paralysis,” Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Geneeskunde 141(24):1199-203, 1997.
• High-Fiber Brown Rice Diet Increases Cholesterol Excretion In a case-control study, Japanese researchers reported that over a five-day period subjects given a high-fiber, low-protein diet containing brown rice had increased fecal weight, including increased excretion of cholesterol , compared to persons eating a polished rice or other low-fiber diet.
Source: K. Kaneko et al., “Effect of Fiber on Protein, Fat, and Calcium Digestibilities and Fecal Cholesterol Excretion,” Journal of Nutrition, Science, and Vitaminology 32(3):317-25, 1986.
• Sticky Rice Mixture Given to Thai Infants - In northeast Thailand, mothers customarily give their infants Kaw Yam, a native food made out of baked chewed banana and sticky rice, within 1 to 7 days after birth. The mothers believe the food will fill the child’s stomach and stop it from crying. In a study of this practice, Thai scientists reported that traditional beliefs should be respected and combined, if necessary, with health education.
Source: S. Saowakontha et al., “Breast-feed-ing Behavior and Supplementary Food Pattern of Villagers in Udon Thani Province, Northeast Thailand,” Southeast Asian Journal of Tropical Medicine and Public Health 26(1):73-77, 1995.
• Rice Given to Nursing Infants in Africa - In a study of infant feeding practices in rural Senegal, French scientists reported that nursing mothers customarily gave a family diet centered around rice or millet and a watery millet gruel to their children in response to perceived breast-milk insufficiency.
Source: K. B. Simondon and F. Simondon, “Infant Feeding and Nutritional Status: The Dilemma of Mothers in Rural Senegal,” European Journal of Clinical Nutrition 49(3):179-88, 1995.
Rice bran, obtained in the polishing of rice, is known as nuka in the Far East. It is used traditionally in soaps and compresses to treat the skin. Though it is not a whole food, rice bran is eaten in modern society as a dietary supplement and has similar cholesterol-lowering effects as oat bran. Rice bran oil also reduces serum cholesterol. See Natural Cosmetics.
• Home Remedy - In his book on home remedies, Michio Kushi explains the healing properties of nuka and how to make a rice bran plaster to help heal a variety of skin ailments.
Source: Michio Kushi, Basic Home Remedies (Becket, MA: One Peaceful World Press, 1994).
• Rice Bran Oil Protects Against Heart Disease - Rice bran oil protects against heart disease, according to research presented to the American Heart Association. In studies with monkeys, rice bran oil lowered harmful LDL cholesterol by up to 30 percent without reducing beneficial HDL cholesterol that helps prevent heart attacks. Rice bran oil was also found to contain substances that impede the deposit of cholesterol inside arteries.
Source: “Oil from Rice Aids Monkey,” New York Times, January 15, 1991.
Rye, a hardy northern grain, gives strong energy and is best known for producing chewy, dark bread. Like other whole grains, it strengthens health and vitality. It is especially good for excretory functions and respiration.
• Rye Inhibits Prostate Cancer - In a laboratory study, researchers in Sweden reported that rye and soy diets high in phytoestrogens delayed prostate tumor growth.
Source: M. Landstrom et al., “Inhibitory Effects of Soy and Rye Diets on the Development of Dunning R3327 Prostate Adenocarinoma in Rats,” Prostate 36(3):151-61, 1998.