White rice is often the primary rice consumed in much of America and in many other countries. Although the nutritional worth of white is often not as high as brown rice, or rice that has not been ‘polished,’ it can still be prepared in a manner which leaves much of its nutritional value in tact. When looking at the various ways regarding how to cook rice, you'll find that you can get nutritional benefits from white rice as well.
In the United States, white rice is first separated or refined by taking the bran away from the germ in a process called polishing. This removes much of the fiber content from the rice as well as eliminating many of its nutritional benefits, such as B vitamins and iron. The rice is polished primarily to make it last longer on shelves and to prevent spoilage. This makes it a commodity which large companies can then ship all almost anywhere.
In the US and a handful of other countries, white rice is enriched, meaning some of its nutrition is replaced by adding thiamin, niacin, iron (vitamins B1, and B3, primarily). Without these vitamins, a neurological disease called Beriberi can break down the nervous system. This is due primarily to a lack of thiamine. In the very worst cases, Beriberi can lead to starvation and fatigue, causing the body to completely starve.
The nutritional value of this rice is very important in developing countries, since the rice they are often receiving via aid from other countries is white rice. If this rice is not enriched with the vitamins and nutrients that are stripped from it when it is refined and milled, then it can cause disease instead of starvation.
Brown rice and wild rice have higher dietary fiber, which is an important aspect of healthy digestion, but enriched white rice can be prepared in a way that still is healthy, and delicious. It can also be stored longer and can last through seasons of drought or other harsh conditions, which often cause drought.
To prepare a healthier version of white rice, make sure that it is enriched, and find tasty recipes that also include vegetables, and even fruit, as they contain the few missing proteins and amino acids that are absent from this rice. Vitamins B12 and C, for example, can be replaced by cooking the rice with fruit and vegetables. Most grocery stores, and especially health food stores, carry whitethat is clearly marked as enriched, but if you are uncertain you, can check the nutritional content on the package. Look for the healthiest rice.
If you need to know how to cook white rice, the most basic recipe is to add one-part rice to two parts water. Brown rice or wild rice requires more water to cook since more of the outer shell, or hull of the rice is still intact, but since rice of the white variety has been polished, too much water will cause it to be sticky. Unless you are making something that specifically requires sticky rice or you are making congee, stick with the 1-2 ratio. From there, you can add all kinds of delicious things to make your white rice recipe your own special dish.
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