Have a Rice Day!

Move over, pasta! Here's an ancient secret that meets today's ayurvedic dietary needs and tastes delicious too.

First, some impressive rice facts:

  • More than half the world's population virtually lives on rice.
  • In Japan, the words for "rice" and "meal" are the same. An average Japanese eats 200 pounds of rice a year. Interestingly, Japan has one of the highest longevity rates in the world.
  • The rice crop takes up a whopping 150 million hectares of land worldwide.

America, however, is not very partial to rice — even though at least six American states grow several varieties of it.

If you are among those who have thus far been less than fond of rice, here are some reasons why you might like to look at the grain again:

  • Rice is every bit as versatile as pasta.
  • Ounce for ounce, rice contains fewer calories than pasta.
  • It is an excellent complex-carbohydrate food.
  • Rice is gluten-free and non-allergenic.
  • It is low in fat and sodium, and free of cholesterol.
  • Last, but not the least — rice is delicious!

Ayurveda and Rice

In India, rice has for centuries symbolized fertility, wealth and good health. Ancient priests used it as an ingredient in worship, and to this day, rice is thrown at newlyweds to bless them with healthy offspring and prosperity.

While research in the West gives high scores to brown rice for its bran and fiber content, ayurveda recommends the long-grained, fragrant basmati rice. That's because basmati rice is easy on the digestive system. Also, it is sattvic, or pure, and balances the physiology. According to The Council of Maharishi Ayurveda Physicians, basmati rice builds body tissue and is very high in prana, or vital life energy.

The Council goes on to enumerate more benefits of rice:

  • Rice contributes the sweet taste to your daily diet — and ayurveda recommends getting six basic tastes on your plate at every meal: sweet, sour, salty, bitter, pungent and astringent.
  • Rice balances Vata and Pitta doshas. Kapha types, however, should avoid eating rice too often, and they should dry-roast it before cooking to reduce the heaviness.
  • Rice can be cooked in an amazing variety of ways. Combined with beans, nuts, vegetables, fruits, and milk — or simply boiled with a dash of ghee — it is wholesome and nutritious.

Recipes



Disclaimer
The sole purpose of these articles is to provide information about the tradition of ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of any disease. If you have any serious acute or chronic health concern, please consult a trained health professional who can fully assess your needs and address them effectively. If you are seeking the medical advice of a trained ayurvedic expert, call or e-mail us for the number of a physician in your area. Check with your doctor before taking herbs or using essential oils when pregnant or nursing.