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Written by Dr Ashwini Konnur,
in Food & Nutrition
An essential component of the Indian diet, Rice has since centuries symbolized fertility, wealth and good health. It is one of the staple foods in many places of the world and particularly in India. There are many benefits of eating Rice and Ayurveda recommends the long-grained rice for its Saatvic nature, high prana (or vital force) as well as for its easy digestive properties.
In India, rice is of much importance. It is used in pujas/ prayers, thrown at newlyweds to bless them with healthy offspring and also given as the first food to babies during the time of annaprashana, the Hindu rite of introducing solids to infants.
Rice, also known as “Anna” contributes to the sweet taste to your diet. It is known to balance the Vata and Pitta and can be combined with vegetables, pulses, nuts to make it wholesome and nutritious.
Ayurveda believes that anytime is a good time for rice. It looks not only at the quality of the rice itself, but who’s eating it and when. Even old rice is proven to have a great healing effect on the body and hence Ayurveda recommends the consumption of old rice to everyone. Out of several varieties of rice available most common ones are polished rice, unpolished rice, parboiled rice, boiled rice, basmati rice, etc.
With its low-fat, low-calorie, high nutritional, gluten-free and non-allergenic properties, every variety of rice is gaining popularity today.
Some of the varieties of rice that are native to India are:
There are many more varieties of rice that are available in the market but these above varieties of rice are considered to be the best in Ayurveda.
So, is rice good to consume?
There are several doctors today who advise their patients not to consume rice if they are suffering from high blood sugar levels (diabetic)/ if they are obese/ or have high cholesterol. When doctors say rice they mean white rice. The barn and fibers in white rice are removed by polishing it and so it is empty in its nutritional value and makes it equivalent to refined grains. White rice, like white bread, is just refined carbohydrates. It digests quickly and increases the sugar level in the body.
Consumption of this would definitely increase weight in the person and the glycemic index of white rice is 89% which means to say that the sugar levels have peaked after consumption of polished rice. So it very important to understand that shifting from usage of polished rice to unpolished rice would help you. Unpolished rice has all the essential nutrients required and is also filling. Consuming it with lots of vegetables will provide you with strength and stamina to the body. Consuming unpolished rice or the variety of rice mentioned above would help in the reduction of blood sugar levels and also reduces the risk of obesity.
Ghee Rice: There are few pleasures on earth that rival the taste of freshly cooked rice flavored with ghee. You can either add ghee while boiling the water or top the cooked rice with spices heated in Ghee.
Kitchari: A rice dish highly recommended by Ayurveda is the Kitchari. Kitchari or Kichadi, made by mixing rice and moong dal and spices is tridoshic; balancing all three doshas and, especially when cooked with spices, is appropriate for each dosha. It is very nourishing and relatively easy to digest, generally not creating abdominal gas or bloating. Read the recipe here.
Amla Rice: Also call Gooseberry rice, Amla rice has several health benefits. Amla is rich in Vitamin C, calcium and iron. It has amla rasa (Sour taste) and Madhura vipaka (sweet after digestion). Amla rice can pacify Vata, Pitta and Kapha dosha. Amla rice is anti-inflammatory and is a natural antioxidant. This rice is also good for respiratory disorders, heart disorders, skin, eyes, hair, and nails. It is a very good rejuvenator and increases immunity and youthfulness of the person. Amla is one of the best Rasayana herbs know to Ayurveda.
How to make Amla Rice.
Method of preparation:
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