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