Is Rice Good for You? A Traveler’s Guide

As an avid traveler, I know all too well just how easy it is to slip into the trap of over-indulging in rice-based meals whilst pottering around certain parts of the world; it is a food which is hugely popular in key areas of the world due to its availability and how easy it is to cultivate. But, is rice good for you, or should it be avoided?

Asian Girls cleaning riceThis is a question on many people’s lips and it is something which has been hotly debated. In some parts of the world, it is almost impossible to avoid the stuff – it is everywhere – and, as a carbohydrate, it can leave you feeling bloated and lead you to start piling on some extra pounds!

#1: White vs. Brown Rice

All forms of rice consist (pretty much) entirely of carbohydrates with no fat and trace amounts of protein. Rice comes in two distinct forms: white; and brown.

Thai Fried RiceWhite and brown rice are two entirely different things and, as such, have entirely different nutritional values. Brown rice is a whole grain and contains all parts of it, including its bran (fiber), germ (nutrition) and the endosperm which is rich in carbohydrates. White rice, however, has had the bran and germ taken out of it and so does not have as much nutritional value.

Because of this, white rice has virtually no nutritional value and this is why brown rice is considered to be much healthier than white rice.

Tilling the rice fields#2: How to Use a Rice Cooker

A rice cooker is perhaps the best way to prepare rice; there are some delicious recipes out there which can involve rice and this marvelous machine can make the job a whole lot easier. Instead of trying to get the perfect rice by boiling it in a pot (and risk burning it, amongst other things), just chuck it in the rice cooker.

It’s super simple and you will have the perfect rice in four simple steps –

  • Wash the rice in cold water, removing all the excess starch;
  • Add one cup of water to the rice and put it in the cooker;
  • Choose the relevant setting on your cooker (such as white rice or brown rice); and
  • Serve it! Really it’s that simple – cooking rice need not be difficult!

Granted, you may not have access to a rice cooker on your travels, but it is something you can do back home!

Rice Fields Vietnam#3: Can You Re-Heat Cooked Rice

It is generally advised that you do not re-heat rice and eat it – it can make you seriously ill! Uncooked rice can contain Bacillus cereus, a bacterium which can cause food poisoning. The longer the cooked rice is left at room temperature, the more time the remaining bacterium have to spread and make the rice unsafe to eat. There are several ‘safe methods’ out there for re-heating rice, but we recommend that you always err on the side of caution and avoid it if you can… food poisoning is not a joke!

Throughout the world, especially throughout Asia, rice is a hugely popular staple source of food. Although you may have it on occasion at home, its prevalence in certain parts of the world can start to (literally) weigh down even the most seasoned of traveler. The good news is that, whilst not the ideal food, rice is not particularly bad for you – especially brown rice – and it is a hugely versatile food which can easily be prepared in a rice cooker if you decide to try and re-create some of your favorite dishes at home.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *