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New Way to Cook Rice Due to Arsenic Levels

Updated on September 25, 2017
Chuck Bluestein profile image

At age 16 I was a volunteer at a hospital bacteriology lab. I became a chemist for U.S. government. Then I studied health & related fields.

Arsenic in Rice

Arsenic in rice.
Arsenic in rice. | Source

Preparing Rice so it has Less Arsenic

Arsenic has increased in rice to levels that are too high. The reason for this is due to the use of pesticides and because rice is grown in areas flooded with water. This was not the case before, so it is something growing. It is similar to growing levels of mercury in the ocean. You can give up eating all seafood or to try to minimize the levels of mercury by eating the smaller fish that have lower levels of mercury. Someday all seafood from the sea will be inedible. Farmed fish is less healthy.

A big cause of this is pesticides that are only needed because of the wrong growing of food. They are used to kill pests but also kill us. In Russia it is illegal to use pesticides to grow foods. Here is an article on Huffington Post from 6 months ago telling about the new problem of high arsenic levels in rice. They suggest cooking the rice differently and eating different whole grains. It is healthier to eat different whole grains anyway. Yes, There Is Arsenic In Your Rice. Here’s What You Need To Know. This article says:

Yes, there is arsenic in your rice.

Yes, arsenic is toxic. And it has been associated with lung, skin and bladder cancer, among other health concerns.

And yes, even though it contains arsenic, you can still eat rice.

There are over a billion Indians and most eat rice daily. This new method uses a lot more water but a video by an M.D. shows that it gets rid of a lot of nutrients sprayed on refined rice but gets rid of few nutrients in the whole grain rice. So this issue is a lot more important to people that eat rice daily than to people that eat it once in while. Even though the paleo diet suggest not eating grains or beans, studies show that adding beans or whole grains to a diet increases health.

The new way to make rice is to soak it overnight to get rid of some of the arsenic. Also instead of cooking rice like normally you cook it, cook it with 5 times more water and pour out that arsenic laden water when you are done cooking it. Cooking with steam does not take out arsenic.

Cooking vegetables with steam is a great way to cook it. If you boil potatoes, you will have a lot of potassium and other nutrients that you throw away with the water. It is best to use organic vegetables with no pesticides. Here is more information on pictures.

Arsenic levels

The article that this is from has a lot of good information including the South having a lot of arsenic from growing cotton. See excerpts from it.
The article that this is from has a lot of good information including the South having a lot of arsenic from growing cotton. See excerpts from it. | Source

Quotes from article about rice, lead and arsenic

This has quotes from the article that the above picture is from, Does your Rice have Arsenic, Lead and other Heavy Metals?

Rice is a good source of complex carbohydrates (the right quality of carbs) needed by your body. However, so many rice products are contaminated with arsenic as a result of modern agriculture.

But scientists warn of complacency. “We already know that high concentrations of arsenic in drinking water result in the highest known toxic substance disease risks from any environmental exposure,” says Allan Smith, M.D., Ph.D., a professor of epidemiology at the University of California, Berkeley. “So we should not be arguing to wait for years until we have results of epidemiologic studies at lower arsenic intake, such as from rice consumption, to take action.” His studies of arsenic in public water in Chile and Argentina helped show that it causes lung and bladder cancer and other diseases.

Nearly half of the 1.6 million tons of arsenic used for agricultural and industrial purposes in the U.S. has been used from the mid-1960s to today, according to the federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. So, for those who say “people have been eating rice for hundreds of years without the fear of arsenic toxicity,” – you’re right. But, we’ve been dumping a significantly larger amount of arsenic into our soil in just over the last 50 years – more than ever before. Residues from decades of use of lead-arsenate insecticides linger in agricultural soil today, even though their use was banned in the 1980s.

Basmati Rice and Arsenic

Some good information.
Some good information. | Source

Arsenic and Basmati Rice

They say that basmati rice has lower arsenic levels than other rice. Originally it comes from the foothills of the Himalayan mountains. Over a billion Indians eat it. Note that Indians have nothing to do with native Americans. The ships commanded by Christopher Columbus thought it was India. Also the people in America thought that the bison were buffalo.

Basmati rice is the best tasting rice. A friend was over and said he smelled popcorn. I told him that I cooked brown basmati (which is a whole grain) and it smells like popcorn. Indians use it as a base and put on it different sauces with different vegetables. I love eating Indian food and have eaten a lot of it. It is mostly vegetarian so it is great for vegetarians to eat. Americans serve vegetables in a puddle of water and are surprised they do not like vegetables.

See my article The Healthy and Unhealthy Aspects of Eating Indian Food. The whole grain foods have the bran that has a lot of the fiber in it. The U.S. National Library of Medicine, Pub Med says:

Individuals with high intakes of dietary fiber appear to be at significantly lower risk for developing coronary heart disease, stroke, hypertension, diabetes, obesity, and certain gastrointestinal diseases. Increasing fiber intake lowers blood pressure and serum cholesterol levels. Increased intake of soluble fiber improves glycemia and insulin sensitivity in non-diabetic and diabetic individuals.

Make sure to read Why Whole Grains Are Much Healthier Than Refined Grains.

Rice, Turmeric, Curcumin and India

There are many people in India that eat rice daily. But they also eat a lot of turmeric and curry that contains turmeric. Turmeric contains a lot of the phytochemical curcumin. A phytochemical is a plant medicine. They do not attract much attention since they do not make any money like drugs for the drug companies that is also called big pharma.

Studies show that eating turmeric with curcumin in it can neutralize the bad effects of arsenic. That is great news. Turmeric has many other benefits. See 12 Health Benefits of Turmeric and watch video below this.

Benefits of Turmeric for Arsenic Exposure by Dr. Greger

How to Cook Rice to Lower Arsenic Levels by Michael Greger, M.D. Note that he reads all the studies about health and diet so you do not have to.

Dr. Greger in above video

In the above video, Michael Greger, M.D. explains that brown rice have higher levels of arsenic but the new cooking method removes most of it without removing nutrients. The cooking method for refined rice removes a lot of the nutrients that were added by man. Then you have the question, are the nutrients added by man anywhere near as good as the ones in there from nature or God.

Arsenic In Rice- Should We Stop Eating Rice? Very educational video about cooking rice to lower arsenic levels.

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