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The Health Benefits of Rice
Rice is the seed of the grass species Oryza sativa (Asian rice). As a cereal grain, it is the most widely consumed staple food for a large part of the world's human population, especially in Asia. It is the agricultural commodity with the third-highest worldwide production (rice, 741.5 million tonnes in 2014), after sugarcane (1.9 billion tonnes) and maize (1.0 billion tonnes).
Rice depending on the type can serve as a good source of B vitamins, Thiamin, Niacin, Riboflavin, Fiber, and Iron. Rice is also an rich source of manganese and magnesium.
Rice is the staple food of over half the world's population. It is the predominant dietary energy source for 17 countries in Asia and the Pacific, 9 countries in North and South America and 8 countries in Africa. Rice provides 20% of the world's dietary energy supply, while wheat supplies 19% and maize (corn) 5%.
Cooked, unenriched, white, long-grained rice is composed of 68% water, 28% carbohydrates, 3% protein, and negligible fat (table). In a 100 gram serving, it provides 130 calories and contains no micronutrients in significant amounts, with all less than 10% of the Daily Value (DV). Cooked, white, short-grained rice also provides 130 calories and contains moderate amounts of B vitamins, iron, and manganese (10–17% DV) per 100 gram amount.
A detailed analysis of nutrient content of rice suggests that the nutrition value of rice varies based on a number of factors. It depends on the strain of rice, such as white, brown, red, and black (or purple) varieties having different prevalence across world regions. It also depends on nutrient quality of the soil rice is grown in, whether and how the rice is polished or processed, the manner it is enriched, and how it is prepared before consumption.
A 2018 World Health Organization (WHO) guideline showed that fortification of rice to reduce malnutrition may involve different micronutrient strategies, including iron only, iron with zinc, vitamin A, and folic acid, or iron with other B-complex vitamins, such as thiamin, niacin, vitamin B6, and pantothenic acid. A systematic review of clinical research on the efficacy of rice fortification showed the strategy had the main effect of reducing the risk of iron deficiency by 35% and increasing blood levels of hemoglobin. The guideline established a major recommendation: "Fortification of rice with iron is recommended as a public health strategy to improve the iron status of populations, in settings where rice is a staple food."