Rice is an essential part of the diet of many populations on several continents. However, arsenic is often present in high quantities. Thanks to their study, scientists believe they have found the best way to cook rice to eliminate this arsenic while preserving the nutrients in this cereal.
How to cook rice to eliminate its arsenic
Rice is a cereal made from a plant, but the term most often refers to the grains that we eat. Constituting the staple food of populations living in Asia, Africa, and South America, rice is one of the most widely consumed foods in the world. However, inorganic arsenic is often found there. It is a metal that is very common on Earth and toxic to humans. According to a 2007 study, rice absorbs ten times more inorganic arsenic than other grains. This phenomenon can be explained simply: rice grows on flooded land, which facilitates the absorption of substances present in the soil such as arsenic.
On the risk side, some countries like the United Kingdom and the United States have regulations aimed at limiting exposure to inorganic arsenic through the consumption of rice. However, health risks still exist in these countries. A separate study published in June 2020 suggests that risk in the UK. Researchers have estimated that more than half of the rice varieties sold in this country have high arsenic levels. These rates exceed in particular the regulation concerning the consumption of children under five who are particularly sensitive to the substance.
What is the ideal method to cook rice?
In recent years, several cooking methods have emerged to reduce arsenic levels. Unfortunately, some of them also remove the nutrients found in rice. In a study published in the journal Science of The Total Environment on October 29, 2020, researchers at the University of Sheffield (UK) took an interest in the problem. Researchers tested four ways to cook rice. The goal? Determine which method effectively reduces arsenic while retaining the nutrients in that food.
According to the results, the best method is to bring four glasses of water to a boil for one glass of rice. Then add the rice and leave the water on the heat for five minutes then discard the water. Researchers indicate that this water eliminates a large amount of arsenic contained in rice while preserving the nutrients as much as possible. Finally, it is necessary to cover the rice with a lid and then continue cooking over low heat. For the scientists of the study, this method of cooking is particularly recommended for consumption by the youngest.