Rice a healthy and humble kitchen ingredient may not be good for your health as you may think it to be. We are in a chemical age where use of pesticides and insecticides enhances agricultural yield. But on the other hand they also increase health risk factors.The common toxic consumption associated with rice is Arsenic poisoning.
Arsenic is a chemical element found naturally in minerals in combination with other metals. Its common use is in the production of pesticides and insecticides on an industrial scale.Arsenic is highly toxic and is also present in rice even after cooking.Chronic exposure to arsenic is health hazardous and can lead to a medical condition called Arsenic poisoning.
Arsenic poisoning causes nausea, vomiting, diarrhea,abdominal pain, skin lesions and even cancer. In addition to this, long-term exposure is associated with heart diseases, diabetes, developmental effects, cancer, and neurotoxicity.
Various studies show that improper agricultural practices increase arsenic toxic levels in rice. The Institute for Global Food Security, pointed around 58% or rice-based products in the UK possess arsenic toxicity. Scientists warn that common methods of cooking rice can leave arsenic traces in rice which can lead to arsenic poisoning.
Thankfully, no need to panic; yet cooking rice in a correct manner can reduce arsenic levels to a minimum.
Andy Meharg, professor at Queens University Belfast, carried out a series of experiment to reduce arsenic toxicity in rice through proper cooking. In the first experiment, he cooked rice by using two parts water to one part rice. He allowed the water to steam out during cooking. It contained arsenic.
Next in the second experiment, he used five parts water and one part rice. The excess water was washed off before serving and it reduced arsenic levels to half. Finally, in the third experiment, he soaked rice overnight before cooking. This resulted in an 80% arsenic level reduction.
These experiments suggest that cooking method of rice is a key factor to prevent and reduce arsenic poisoning. It also reduces toxic exposure to other naturally occurring toxic chemicals. So, for the safest result, soak overnight and wash with water thoroughly until it becomes clear. Then boil them by using five parts water to one part rice.