Rice – Properties and health benefits / medicinal uses

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Rice as a grain with many medicinal values is the most widely spread grain on earth. Below, its properties and health benefits / medicinal uses are discussed.

Botanical name: Oryza sativa L.
Rice is the grain of the rice plant, Oryza sativa L., of the botanical family Gramineae. Today rice is the most cultivated grain in the whole world, and most of the rice production comes from tropical regions of China, India, Indonesia and Bangladesh. Rice in these countries is an essential part of a diet.rice-medicinal-uses

Properties of Rice
Well its amazing and not worth saying here that in spite of the popularity of rice, it is the least in terms of nutrition of all grains, not to talk of refined rice.
Below are its constituents:

▪ Carbohydrates – These makes up about 80% of the weight of a rice grain. The carbohydrates here are mainly in the form of starch.

▪ Proteins – Among all grains, rice contains the lowest protein content which is less than 7% of its total contents. The proteins in rice are deficient in some essential amino acids such as lysine and tryptophan, reason why it is advisable to combine rice with legumes since they tend to contain abundant essential amino amino acids. By this combination, the absent essential amino acids in rice will be replaced by those in the legume in order to complete the proteins. Moreover, rice is contains no gliadin, a reason why it is appropriate for those with celiac disease.

▪ Vitamins – Whole-grain rice contains significant amounts of vitamin B1 and E. This is not the case with white rice, as it contains very little amount of vitamins. This is the reason why the consumption of whole-grain or parboiled rice is recommended over white rice. Whole-grain rice contains significant amounts of vitamin B1, B2, B6, E and even Niacin. Rice contains no vitamin C and A, as the case with all other grains.

▪ Minerals – Rice contains reasonable amounts of potassium, magnesium, iron, and calcium. However, it contains very little amount of sodium, in fact, its among the foods with the lowest amount of sodium. This is the reason why it is appropriate for those with hypertension or cardiovascular conditions in general.

Rice is a food that may seem poor in terms of nutrition. However, its still possess great medicinal values despite its deficiency in various essential nutrients. Below are some of its medicinal indications:

Diarrhea
Rice is a great food for stopping diarrhea. Its astringent effect as well as its ease of digestion makes it a special food for the recovering of the intestinal mucosa after colitis. In cases of using rice for treatment of diarrhea, a boiled rice with little oil and salt mixed with apple is recommended. For infants, after any diarrhea, rice water is recommended. Rice water can be prepared by boiling rice in water until it begins to break into pieces, the rice is then filtered off, and the resulting liquid is the rice water, which can be flavoured by adding little lemon for a better taste. It should be given to infants as the only liquid after diarrhea for a great oral re-hydration. The rice water provides starch and potassium which helps stops diarrhea.

Excess cholesterol
As already known, some biliary acids are used by the liver to produce cholesterol. Thankfully, the fiber present in whole-grain rice stops the absorption of these biliary acids in the intestine. Additionally, rice contains virtually no fat, as well as cholesterol, thus, making highly beneficial in cases of excess cholesterol.

Hypertension
The consumption of rice is recommended in cases of hypertension because of its very low or no sodium content. As a fact, sodium is a mineral with great fluid retention capacity, which in excess causes the body to retain fluid and increase the blood volume and consequently the blood pressure. Its a simple law, the higher the sodium intake the higher the risk of hypertension, and the lower the sodium intake the lower the risk of hypertension.

Excess uric acid
In cases of excess uric acid in the blood which usually manifest as gout or arthritis, the consumption of rice is recommended since it contains very low amount of proteins, and possess a great alkalizing effect.

Cardiac disease
The recommendation of rice in cases of cardiac disease is simply because it contains little or no sodium. When there is a cardiac failure, fluids are retained in the tissues and the kidney does not eliminate enough urine. Thus, the consumption of foods rich in sodium are not recommended at all since they will only cause the retention of even more fluid. That is why only foods with little or no sodium content are recommended.

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abbati
abbati
Abbati is a student from the department of Biological sciences, Ahmadu Bello Univeristy, Zaria. He loves learning about the medicinal properties of foods, and the need to explore them!

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