Rice is one of the most important and staple food variety in Asia. In India it is hardly impossible to spend a day without consuming rice atleast for a meal.
Traditional rice varieties which are rich in many of the nutrients have been slowly vanishing from years together. At the time of green revolution to meet the demand of rice many hybrid variety and fast yielding variety has been introduced. The seeds of these varieties are given to the farmers in very cheap rates. Hence the farmers left the practice of saving of grains for seeds.
This fast yielding varieties helped to yield more and gave more profit and helped to fulfill the demand for rice. But these varieties were lacking in some nutritional value when compared with the traditional varieties and were further processed. These processed rice took less time to cook.
Processing of rice is nothing but removing not only the hull but also the germ and bran. Thus it loses its nutrion. Rice is actually a nutritious food. Light to have, gives more energy and easy to digest but the process it undergoes makes rice as just a stomach filling food without any nutrition.
Now many becoming health concious and understanding the value of traditional rice varieties and the health benefits it yields started to save them. By conducting rice and seed festival, or food festivals with traditional rice varieties, awareness regarding preservation of the seed varieties is initiated. There are a number of varieties of rice, few are very popular by their nutritious values.
Mappilai samba rice:
It is one of the popular varieties which is rich in Iron and Zinc. It induces the production of hemoglobin and myoglobin which deliver oxygen to tissues and muscles and thus keep your body energetic. It contains pro-anthocyanin which helps to reduce cholestral and high blood sugar levels. This variety is suitable for organic farming and it also contains manganese, phosphorous and magnesium. It has high fibre content so helps in digestion and keep us away from obesity related problems and heart diseases. This rice apperes red in colour and doesn’t require any fertilizer or manure for its growth.
Black kavuni rice or karuppu kavuni rice:
This rice looks black due to the anthocyanin present in it. It reduces inflammation, as it has the highest number of antioxidants. It is said that this rice can cure all type of ailments and help us to remain healthy. So this rice was taken by the royal families and the common people have forbidden from having this rice those days. Hence this rice is known as forbidden rice. Consuming black rice acts as a detox for liver, prevent the risk of asthma and heart related problems and enhances eyesight. It removes the fat present in the walls of arteries and lowers the amount of bad cholestral.
This rice derives its name as it looks like a white jasmine bud. It has a distint flavour. This rice gives strength to our nervous system. This is a tasty and healthy rice which helps all the nerves to be active hence keep us active both internally and externally. It helps in easy digestion and keep us away from diabetes and quick aging. It also retains our skin health.
Bamboo rice or Moongil rice
This forest grown crop takes about long years to yield. This healthy rice taste like wheat and look green in colour. The seeds from the dried bamboo shoot is called bamboo rice. It has low glycemic index hence it prevents diabetes. It contains bioactive compouds such as flavonoids and alkaloids which are anti inflammatory thus reduces rhematoid arthiritis and joint pains. It strengthens the body, lowers the cholestral levels and regulates blood pressure.
Kattu yanam rice
It has anti oxidant poperties. Contains less carbohydrates and helps in weight loss. It is rich in calcium, minerals, vitamins, pottasium and magnesium. It contains both soluble and insoluble fibres and this type of rice is called as ‘enemy of diabetes’. This red rice variety delays our skin from aging and prevents us from anemia. This crop doesn’t require any fertilizer or manure. Once sown the farmers can go directly for harvest. This crop grows very height .
seeraga samba rice
It has a distint taste. It is one of the expensive rice. Seeraga samba rice strengthens the Cardiovascular System. It contains Selenium, Which helps to prevent from the risk of Intestinal Cancer and Colon Cancer. Seeraga samba helps to prevent from constipation. Traditional seeraga samba rice helps to good digestion. It has a distint taste. It has high calorific value, fiber and anti oxidants.
poongar handpounded brown rice contains anthocyanin. This rice helpful in eliminating women’s hormonal issues. It contains all the nutrients required for a pregnant and lactating women. It boosts the stamina. It has a nutty flavour and it is rich in iron, magnesium and zinc. It has many micronutrients in it and intake of this rice provides you with enough vital nutrients which gives strength to the body.
Kichili samba or Attur kichili samba rice contains Calcium and Iron. Kichilli samba rice gives healthy and glossy shine to skin, and strength to the body. It boosts immune system and strengthens the muscles. It is best suitable for diabetic patients as it has a lower glycemic index. Kichedi Samba has a unique flavor and a natural fragrance of the citrus fruit where it derives its name and thus has an enhanced taste when served with curries.
Many other varities like Basmathi rice which is well known, Navara rice which is known for its medicinal properties, Thanga samba rice, Kullakar rice, Sorna masoori rice, Iluppai poo rice also have lots of health benefits. Consuming these traditional rice varieties not only increases our immune system and health, it also creates a demand for these varieties and encourages the farmers who cultivate it. Our tradition always believes that “Food is Medicine”. So it is always better to eat healthy and stay healthy than to cure.