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Rice in the diet

Rice has been used for thousands of years

Rice has been used as food for humans for thousands of years and its cultivation has spread around the world.

Although not grown in Britain, we consume nearly 10 kg of rice per person annually.  Rice appears in many forms – the familiar grain accompanying a dish; as part of a dish such as risotto or paella or a rice pudding; in ready meals and microwaveable packs; as crackers or noodles on the side; in sauces where it is used as a thickener; and increasingly in gluten free foods and foods for infants where it’s non-allergenic properties are particularly prized; and even as a refreshing drink such as rice milk.

Rice is a complex carbohydrate - providing high energy value and slow energy release. It also contains protein used for growth and repair of the body. Health experts urge us to cut down on fat and fill up with fruit and vegetables and starchy fibre-containing foods like rice.

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Rice fits the healthy eating profile as it :

contains very little fat and no cholesterol

contains fibre – especially brown rice

contains almost no sodium (although salt is often added in cooking)

is gluten free and so is a useful food for coeliacs

does not cause allergic reactions

is easily digested - suitable for the very young and elderly

is a relatively inexpensive food and can form the basis of a satisfying, nutritious low cost meal

Content of various nutrients in rice (grammes per 100g of dry rice unless otherwise indicated)

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Did you know?

It takes 1260 litres of water to grow 500g rice.

On cooking, rice swells to three times its original weight.

The Chinese word for rice is the same as their word for food.

The Japanese word "gohan" means both rice and complete meal

The Indonesian word "rijstaffel" (table rice) refers to a table set with rice and savoury dishes - and now included in Holland's culture.