Is white rice healthy?
When it comes to eating, it’s better to go against the grain (pun intended).
So you thought wheat was better than rice, and brown rice was preferable to white rice. You will be surprised to know there are myriad other colors of rice in between.
Barring a few native varieties, almost all of these are loaded with carbs, including the so-called ‘diabetic rice’.
Just as something cannot be termed ‘more good’, we cannot call a certain variety of rice or wheat as ‘lesser evil’.
So you might ask haven’t we been eating these food grains for generations. Strictly speaking — NO.
The rice or wheat variety that your grandfather or father ate is not the same as you are eating now. Yes, Indians grew thousands of varieties of these grains across the country. No doubt those were low-yielding types, but they were highly nutritious.
When did rice start becoming unhealthy ?
With the Green Revolution spearheaded by Magsaysay Award winner Norman Borlag in the 1970s, India lost much of its nutrient-rich indigenous food grain seeds forever, which were replaced by the high-yielding, nutrient-deficit grains that have been attributed to our bulging waistline and a growing number of avoidable diseases such as cancer, diabetes, blood pressure, strokes and heart ailments apart from autoimmune diseases including psoriasis.
Alternatives to white rice.
So, you might wonder ‘what do I eat?’ The answer is not far to seek. Eat what your ancestors ate — healthy millets (Siridhanyalu), unpolished raw rice, red rice (Kerala matta rice), brown rice, or quinoa. Your choice of food grains need not be too expensive. Choose something which is grown locally and from reliable sources.
These grains no doubt contain carbohydrates but have a low glycemic index (GI).
What is Glycemic Index?
Glycemic Index is a number which measures how fast your body converts the carbs in food into glucose.
It ranges from 0-100. The higher the number, the faster it gets converted to glucose, with 100 being pure glycose.
How does glycemic index affect insulin?
High GI food items spike insulin in the body. Insulin is a fat-storing enzyme. And when the body produces insulin in abundance because of the high-carb and unhealthy food that we eat, it leads to insulin resistance, which exposes us to all sorts of new-age, lifestyle diseases.
Rise and Act !
While the need for physical activity cannot be discounted, half the battle is won if you eat the right kind of food grain that forms your staple diet.
Millets are power-packed grains that have been around for centuries as a food group, but somewhere down the line, we seem to have replaced them with polished rice and wheat.
However, with the talk of Covid-19 and the need to raise our immunity comes the mention of millets, which have now attained the superfood status.