Health Benefits of Green Dragon Rice
Rice is one of the most important cereal crops in the world – the staple carbohydrate of a huge population, with nearly half of the world obtaining 50% of their caloric intake from some form of rice. Rice is so important in some food cultures that there are languages where the verb “to eat” is the same word as the word for “to eat rice”. Without rice, the planet goes hungry – but with it the whole planet thrives.
Green Dragon rice is something that you would find in any Chinese market. Green Dragon is one of the best known rice brands across Asia, and they deal in several different rice varieties. But what exactly is rice, and what makes it so beneficial to health?
Botanically speaking, a rice grain is the seed of a species of aquatic grass. As a cereal crop it has been cultivated in various parts of the world for at least eight millennia. As with other cereals a number of varieties of rice are grown. The more you learn about the different rice varieties and the benefits they deliver, the more you'll appreciate this simple but crucially important food.
Although there are many different varieties of rice, the major difference comes down to whether the rice is brown or white. They are in fact the same grain, just milled in different ways, with brown rice retaining the husk and white rice being stripped of it. Because rice is such a massive subject and we have limited space, we will concentrate on the benefits of white rice here.
As an excellent source of carbohydrates, white rice will support your energy levels, releasing energy to the muscles gradually. This makes rice an excellent breakfast food – like so many other cereal based breakfasts, a rice dish can really set you up with the energy you need to tackle your day. It is also an excellent food to eat before exercise, and to replenish your body’s fuel after exercise.
This is why athletes will often choose simple white rice dishes as their preferred source of energy, particularly when they need to refuel after a workout or training session. White rice is a fantastic source of quick, easily accessible carbohydrate which is perfect for renewing muscle glycogen after intense physical exertion.
White rice is also very easily digested. It is relatively low in fibre and incredibly unlikely to be the cause of any kind of gastric upset. This makes it something of a lifesaver for people suffering from any kind of stomach issue and it can be particularly useful for people who are suffering from nausea or heartburn. White rice can also be helpful for people experiencing the flare-ups which are associated with gastric conditions such as diverticulitis and Crohn’s disease. White rice is also a naturally gluten free grain, which makes it an especially important option for people who are living with coeliac disease or a non-coeliac gluten intolerance issue.
Even though white rice is a refined grain it delivers a big dose of soluble fibre, known in the nutrition trade as butyrate. Butyrate can help you to develop a healthy gut by reducing any inflammation which is why people are often advised to eat boiled white rice when they have suffered a case of diarrhoea.
While white rice contains a great deal of starch and comes in reasonably high on the glycemic index, when you eaten in conjunction with other foods such as vegetables, it can be very helpful in the prevention of blood sugar spikes, keeping you on an even keel throughout the day.
There are other benefits to be gained from the consumption of white rice too. The grain is rich in both manganese and magnesium, rich enough in fact that one rice based meal a day can make a significant contribution to your recommended daily intake of magnesium. When you consider that this is a mineral that contributes to a vast array of functions it really underlines the value of a rice based diet.
Magnesium is an important contributor to bone health and is an important part of the structure of healthy bones. It also assists in a number of enzyme reactions that enable your body to make proteins and even DNA. If all that were not enough the mineral is also involved in nerve conduction and muscle contraction.
But perhaps the most far reaching health benefit that is delivered by white rice is its versatility. Yes, on its own white rice can be quite bland – which is what makes it such an excellent food for people with gastric issues after all – but that makes it the perfect base for presenting the flavours of other foods. A small amount of sauce can flavour a large portion of rice, which means that it is relatively easy to create tasty and satisfying dishes without resorting to large quantities of fats and sugars.
It is surely no coincidence that white rice is at the core of Japanese and Korean cuisines that are regarded as amongst the healthiest in the world. These are cuisines that are very sparing in their usage of meat, which makes them very low fat but very good for heart health. In general terms the best thing that you can do for your health is eat a balanced diet. White rice makes that easier to do – indeed because many rice based cuisines are very low in their usage of meat they make it easy to follow the maxim of Professor Michael Pollan that you should “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants” which he suggests is the best way to live a healthy life.
Rice really is a wonder food with, as you have seen, a number of health benefits which should never be discounted. But at the same time we should also remember that this is food, and not medicine. Rice is incredibly good for you as part of a healthy and balanced diet, and a bowl of rice never hurt anyone. But if you are experiencing the symptoms of gastric disorders or other health issues that bowl of rice should be eaten after a visit to your doctor.
So you should eat your Green Dragon rice confident in the knowledge that you are eating as healthily as you possibly can, but eat it also in the knowledge that it is a satisfyingly delicious staple food that you are eating because you enjoy it – as well you might. After all, can half the population of the World really be wrong?