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Is the way you cook rice doing you more harm than good?

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It is well documented that people who eat a lot of rice are putting themselves at risk because of the arsenic content. But that risk can be substantially reduced depending on how you cook it according to a report in the Huffington Post.

The rice takes in inorganic arsenic because when it is grown in water filled paddy fields, the soil releases the chemical which is normally contained within the minerals in the soil.

Apparently as the grains of rice absorb the arsenic they accumulate a large amount of the chemical in the outer hulls, which are stripped in the process of creating refined white rice. But brown rice, which contains some nutritional benefits, has more arsenic.

According to the UK TV BBC2 program ‘Trust Me, I’m a Doctor’, the way we cook the rice can determine how much arsenic is released.

Researchers tried three popular ways of cooking the rice to see which was posed the least risk; cooking in twice as much water as rice, soaking overnight, and boiling in a lot of water.

The latter method reduced the arsenic release by almost 50 percent, while the soaking overnight method was even higher at 80 percent, making the soaking method the most effective and safest way to cook rice.

Dr Gary Ginsberg said: “The data does suggest that basmati rice is typically lower than other forms and that brown rice contains more arsenic than white. Presoaking the rice in water that is then discarded may remove some of the arsenic, but you may also lose some nutrients this way.”

So it would seem that whatever way you choose to cook rice, there’s some reason why it might be wrong.

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