Updated: May 1, 2020
We have been eating rice since ages and have been following the tradition of doing Annaprasannam, introducing babies around 8 months of age to dal rice, banana rice, and finger millet porridge. During special occasions, the older generation blesses the younger generation with rice atchatha. Throughout the time of Kumbabisekha, all types of grains are saved in the Gopura kalasa of temples. All these examples show how sacred we consider rice to be.
Rice is known for its versatility. We can make N number of recipes. For instance, water can be added to cooked rice and consumed the next day as a rich probiotic drink. In addition, with acute medical conditions such as fever, vomiting, and diarrhea, rice porridge can be consumed. Seniors with dental issues can also drink rasam with rice.
The rice we eat today is not the same as the rice of olden days. Today’s rice is hybridized and polished. B Vitamins and trace minerals are lost during the polishing process. These nutrients act as antioxidants to our bodies. Metabolically, damage and repair occur at the cellular level in our bodies every single day. Antioxidants are crucial for this repair to happen. If we don’t have specific nutrients for the repair to happen, it will lead to low grade inflammation of our systems. When these situations are not addressed, chronic degenerative diseases manifest.
Hand pound wild rice in the form of kanji (porridge) is best suited for human consumption.
Lectins are antinutrients found in the outer layer of all grains. Soaking and fermenting grains remove lectins from rice and protect us from causing any damage to intestinal systems. Soaking and fermenting rice starts bacterial activity and serves as pre and probiotic rich food. Cooked rice has a specific kind of fiber called resistance starch.
The best way to cook rice is to soak it for a minimum of 2 hours.
Starting from the oral cavity (mouth) to the anus, this pathway is lined by mucosal membranes. This is where all microbial activity happens.
Good bacteria should outnumber bad bacteria, fungus, yeast, and protozoa for us to lead a healthful life. Bacteria lives in symbiosis with us. The foods we eat feed good bacteria and in turn help us secrete specific vitamins like K2 and B12. They also produce nearly 50 to 60% of neurotransmitters.
Rice can be helpful in sleeplessness and vitamin deficiencies. Rice kanji can be taken to boost immunity.
The rich bio ecosystems in our guts are responsible for mucosal immune health. When the mucosal membranes are healthy, functions like peristalsis and the secretion of digestive juices, enzymes, and hormones are secreted the way they are supposed to. Digestive and metabolic health depends on the integrity of mucosal membranes.
People who have bloating, constipation and hemorrhoids can implement all these probiotic rich foods in their diets.
According to Hindu dharma, during Ekadesi, one can abstain from all grains (including rice), legumes, pulses, roots, and tubers. This tradition makes sense in terms of food sustainability.