Rice is maybe one of the most eaten foods in the world, but it also brings the most arsenic to our diet. Rinsing and cooking rice does help to remove some of its natural arsenic, but one recent study shows that cooking rice in a coffee machine is the most effective way of removing the toxins from your food.
Arsenic is a chemical that is naturally found in groundwater. Many fruits and vegetables contain minimal amounts of arsenic, but rice takes up the higher levels of this toxin because it is grown in spacious flooded paddies. However, the experts say that these arsenic levels in rice are unlikely to cause any problems to your health, but still, they advise that rice should be rinsed thoroughly with hot water to remove as much arsenic as it is possible before you consume it.
If ingested in large amounts, arsenic can cause arsenicosis a condition characterized by abdominal pain, dark urine, diarrhoea, vertigo and delirium. In severe cases, poisoning with arsenic can even lead to death.
Andrew Meharg, a plant and soil scientist, and his colleagues from the Queen’s University in Belfast, UK, were researching this issue and they’ve started from the fact that arsenic levels drop if rice was thoroughly rinsed and after that cooked in a large amount of water.
For the purpose of the research, the team has created a special apparatus that continuously condenses steam to produce fresh distilled hot water. They also cooked rice in a coffee percolator to simulate a way of cooking in a real life.
The results showed that the steam apparatus removed 60 to 70% of rice’s arsenic while the coffee percolator removed around 50%.
Far from the idea researchers are expecting consumers to start cooking rice in coffee machines, but they hope that these discoveries will inspire manufacturers to develop simple and low-cost rice cooking machines that lower the concentration of arsenic.
Until then, you can try limiting the amount of arsenic in your nutrition by eating different types of food and choosing various types of grains (see the picture above).
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