Parboiled rice is very popular, specially in Southern parts of India. The process of parboiling includes soaking rough rice in water until it is saturated, draining excess water and then steaming or heating the grain to gelatinize the starch. It is then dried and packed.
A reader sent in this query: "Is parboiled rice safe for daily consumption? According to Ayurveda pre-cooked or par-boiled grains are not recommended to eat."
According to a ScienceDirect article, parboiled rice can trace its roots to ancient India and today, 1/4th of all paddy grown around the world is parboiled. So parboiled rice has been in use since centuries and it's use is widespread.
Is it Safe for Consumption?
FIT reached out to Nutritionist Rupali Datta, Kavita Devgan and Ayurveda expert and director of Jiva Ayurved, Dr Pratap Chauhan.
All three dismissed the claim that parboiled rice is unsafe, suggesting that it is a better option to the refined white rice we eat. Parboiled rice is also believed to be rich in fibre, protein and vitamin B.
Compared to refined, polished white rice, parboiled rice is richer in fibre and some essential nutrients.
The higher amount of resistance starch in the parboiled rice means it prevents blood sugar levels from rising and that's why it is recommended to diabetics, according to nutritionist Kavita Devgan.
Since it is partially cooked, it retains the essential nutrients that are lost during refining process to make white rice.What Does Ayurveda Say?
According to Dr Pratap Chauhan, even in Ayurveda, you cannot say parboiled rice is unsafe. Parboiling comes with its own benefits.
Dr Pratap ChauhanParboiling reduces the glycemic index of the rice, and if you eat it, the glucose levels in blood will not rise as much. So if you are looking to lose weight, or are diabetic, parboiled rice is a healthier option to refined white rice.
To get the nutrients that are present on the cover of the rice, parboiling is a good option. But it is also true that Ayurveda recommends brown rice more.
While parboiling is considered perfectly safe, and even an healthier option to refined white rice, brown rice benefits outweigh parboiling according to Ayurveda.
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