According to scientists, the way the majority of us cook rice could actually be a risk to our health.
The 'normal way' to good the good stuff is usually by simply boiling in a pan until the water has steamed out. But according to the people that know, it is thought that traces of the poison arsenic – a chemical that contaminates rice as a result of industrial toxins and pesticides used in the growing process – can be found in the rice even after cooking.
Chronic exposure to arsenic has recognised links to a range of health problems including heart disease, diabetes and cancer. According to research from Channel 4's Dispatches and the Institute for Global Food Security, around 58% or rice-based products in the UK contain high levels of arsenic.
Thankfully, there's no reason to panic just yet, as a series of experiments showed that it is possible to reduce our levels of exposure to arsenic by simply changing the way we cook rice.
Andy Meharg, professor of biological sciences at Queens University Belfast, tested three ways of cooking rice for the BBC programme 'Trust Me, I'm a Doctor', to see whether it altered the levels of arsenic.
In the first method, he used a ratio of two parts water to one part rice, allowing the water to 'steam out', as identified above. In the second, he used five parts water to one part rice, washing off excessive water before serving. This saw the levels of arsenic almost halved.
Finally, the rice was soaked in water overnight before being cooked the next day, resulting in an 80% reduction of the toxin. For the safest results, the overnight rice should be rinsed until the water is clear, before being drained and boiled in a saucepan using a ratio of five parts water to one part rice.
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