RICE: properties, uses and benefits
Rice, one of the most popular cereals in the culinary tradition, is a food of countless healthy properties for the human body, as well as a genuine and versatile product that can be consumed and cooked in multiple variations.
Rice, from the Greek Oryza sativa L., is a herbaceous plant belonging to the Gramineae family coming from the Asian regions. The origins of this cereal date back to around the VI millennium BC when it first appeared in China, to become the main one over the years source of power for half of the world’s population (Aryza sativa constitutes about 95% of world rice cultivation).
Around the world there are many types of rice, classifiable according to their shape (short or long beans), size of the beans (small or thick), fragrance and content (glutinous, integral, polished, parboiled):
- “round grain rice” or “round rice” or “Original rice”;
- “medium grain rice” or “medium rice”;
- “long grain rice A” or “long rice A”;
- “long grain rice B” or “long rice B”;
Italy, Europe’s leading producer of rice, ranks 27th in production worldwide with an agronomic yield of 6.81 t / ha in 2016; The crops are concentrated mostly in the regions of northern Italy including the “golden triangle” of Vercelli-Novara-Pavia, the province of Mantua, Emilia-Romagna and Veneto, but also in some areas of the Maremma, in the Valle del Tirso in Sardinia and in the Piana di Sibari in Calabria.
Among the main varieties grown in Italy we find:
- Riso di Grumolo delle Abbadesse
- Riso nero glutinoso
- Riso Roma
- Riso Venere
- Riso Vialone Nano Veronese
- Rosa Marchetti
- Vialone Nano
Properties and benefits
Rice is a highly digestible food, its nutrients are easily absorbed at intestinal level and its glucidic component guarantees a regulating effect of the intestinal flora.
The rice caryopsis contains about 7% of proteins which, although modest, result qualitatively superior to those of any other cereal, with a biological value of 69 (compared to 49 of wheat and 44 of maize – Source FAO), variable depending on the variety and industrial process to which they are subjected. Rice is slightly deficient in essential amino acids and therefore needs to be integrated with other vegetable protein sources; amino acids most present are:
• Lysine (4% of rice proteins)
Thanks to the absence of gliadinic and gluten fractions, which allow the formation of gluten in other foods (such as wheat), rice proteins are also suitable for those suffers from celiac disease and intolerances.
- contains a high amount of potassium and a contrasting low amount of sodium, characteristics which make it a food suitable for those suffering from high blood pressure, heart disease, edema and liver cirrhosis;
- has anti-inflammatory, detoxifying and anti-oxidant properties;
- thanks to the high fiber content, it increases the sense of satiety and contributes to intestinal mobility;
- (black rice) contains atocyanins, water-soluble anti-oxidants, which protect the health of the arteries and of the DNA and are very useful in preventing heart disease and cancer;
- thanks to the quality of its proteins it has no contraindications and can therefore be consumed more times a week;
- has a high caloric intake as it is 90% carbohydrate, but low fat intake (around 1.3%); brown rice has a lower glycemic index than that of whole wheat pasta and is therefore recommended for those suffering from diabetes;
- brown rice has a remarkable vitamin content (B1, B3, E), as well as a good supply of mineral salts (magnesium, iron and phosphorus);
Uses of rice
Rice can be used for various culinary preparations: risottos, soups, salads, desserts, fried, decoctions, …. Prodotti del Contino periodically proposes delicious and alternative uses of its Carnaroli.
In addition to culinary use, rice can be used in a variety of situations and for different purposes:
- Cleansing and softening for the face: the rice cooking water is rich in vitamins and mineral salts and once cooled it can be applied to the face with a cloth to obtain a smooth skin and;
- Abrasive: the rice can replaced abrasive sponges to eliminate scale;
- Natural glue: the hyper-boiled rice (about 50 minutes) blended and then kept in refrigerator has the effect of a natural glue;
- Bad smells: uncooked rice left “at rest” in the containers helps to eliminate the bad smell;
- Anti-humidity: rice is frequently used to avoid the formation of humidity in the salt shakers;
- Thermal bag: rice is an excellent heat conductor and can be used for making thermal bags; just fill a container of cloth (old socks, linings, etc.) and let it warm up next to a heat source.