Usually we consider red rice to be healthier. Yet many of us prefer to eat white rice. Which one is better in reality? Let us consider the pros and cons of these two types of rice grains. Number one advantage of red rice is that it is rich in fiber and food with high fiber content is beneficial for our health. It reduces cholesterol in blood, stops cancerous elements from staying close to our colon cells for too long. Aside from that red rice is also a great source of selenium.
Even a little bit of this mineral reduces the risk of colon cancer. Advantage number two would be that red rice contains vitamins B-1, B-3, B-6 and a number of minerals like manganese, phosphorus etc. in large amounts.
These nutrients are essential for our body to function. In the process of polishing red rice to get white rice from it many of these nutrients as well as fiber gets lost. Considering all these aspects red rice is undoubtedly better. Number three, there is a danger of arsenic pollution with red rice if it is grown in soil polluted with arsenic. Paddy plants absorb arsenic from soil and water quite easily which is dangerous. Arsenic gets absorbed in the outer skin and rice bran in greater amounts. red rice which we get just after husking paddy has a greater risk of arsenic pollution. In that case white rice is better. Though all red rice is not affected by arsenic pollution. Only arsenic prone regions are subject to risk of arsenic pollution. We should also consider the fact that according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, 10 parts per billion arsenic in drinking water is safe for human consumption. On the other hand, in a study conducted by the United States Food and Drug Administration has found that 2.5-7.5 micrograms (1/1millionth of a gram) of arsenic in one plate of rice is safe for human consumption. The level of arsenic could vary from region to region.
Low levels of arsenic could be found in Basmati rice. In Bangladesh we mostly use rain water, surface water and deep tube well water for irrigating rice fields. It reduces the risk of arsenic pollution. On this matter, Jeeban Krishno Bishwas, Director General of Bangladesh Rice Research Institute has said that, “…very small amounts of arsenic could be found in our homegrown rice varieties which could not be considered to be a health risk. Roots of the paddy plants prevent arsenic from reaching the rice grains.” (Source: The New York Times, March 17, 2015)