24 April 2015


It is a staple food in many cultures and has nutritional properties that suggest it’s beneficial for all of us to eat, especially if consumed in its unrefined form

Rice is the staple food of more than half the world's population, although its presence on the tables differs in quantities greatly, depending on the country: the per-capita consumption in Italy for example, is about 5 kg / year (equal to the average European consumption ), while in Laos it  is 170 kg / year (according to the Balance Sheet 2011 compiled by FAO).

It is part of the grasses family, along with wheat, barley and corn, but it is grown in a semi-aquatic environment. The rice plant has an annual life cycle, it is sown in spring and matures in early autumn. From the single grain of rice, as everyone calls it -  or as the experts say, caryopsis – a plant  is born that will produce a series of cobs, the bloom that contains the grains, enclosed by the husk; the hard, rough  shell that surrounds them.

Rice, apart from being widely used due to its high yield, is one of the most nutritious foods in nature as it contains complex carbohydrates, which are transformed into glucose and provide energy for  the body and it is relatively low in fats. 
It is the most digestible cereal in absolute terms, but many of its properties vary depending on the manufacturing and industrial processes through which the rice has passed. Brown rice, for example,  is not subjected to the process of glazing, it has more carbohydrates and protein, while considerably lower  in calories than refined rice, which descend to the center up to 100 percent of the grams produced. The husked rice becomes slightly oily, with petroleum and the with the possible addition of small quantities of other substances through  being processed with  wood  augers or enameled cast iron; The process   should be, along with other aspects, also for preservation of the rice , but it lacks the chaff, which contains vitamin B.
Parboiled rice, however, is richer in minerals and vitamins, thanks to the process of partially boiling the grains which in the rice plant , migrate inwards,  resisting  husking and other processing steps. Husking is the operation by which   the rice grain  is separated  from the  husks (or husk).
Brown rice, as compared to white rice, contains:

- Double the phosphorus
- Twice the manganese
- More than double the iron
- Three times the vitamin B3
- Four times the vitamin B1
- A quantity of vitamin B6 ten times higher

For these characteristics also  theFAO,  the United Nations Organization for Food and Agriculture, has clearly advised  the  consumption of  brown rice  in favor of  refined rice  especially for cultures that have nutritional deficiencies.

This food is so fundamental to the nutrition of the people around the world, that every year the FAO monitors its trade (Rice Market Monitor, RMM) and has also set up an international commission - The International Rice Commission - to address all  of the issues on the topic. In many respects,  it is therefore  a very valuable grain and it is the protagonist of a Cluster  at the  Milan Expo 2015, Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life.

Source: Magazine Expo 2015


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