Rice is the most important food crop in the world and feeding many people every day. It is also the staple food across Asia and is becoming increasingly important in Africa and Latin America. It is spectacularly diverse, both in the way it is grown and how it is used by humans. It is unique because it can grow in a wet environment in which other crops cannot survive.
Rice is the seed of the grass species Oryza glaberrima or Oryza sativa. It is the agricultural commodity with the third-highest worldwide production, after sugarcane and maize. It is the most important grain concerning human nutrition and calorie intake. There are many varieties of rice and culinary preferences tend to vary regionally.
History Of Rice
It is regarded as the first cultivated crop of Asia. Many cultures have evidence of early cultivation in China and India. Based on archeological evidence, it was believed to have first been domesticated in the region of the Yangtze River valley in China. Morphological studies of rice phytoliths from the Diaotonghuan archaeological site clearly show the transition from the collection of wild rice to the cultivation of domesticated rice.
The earliest remains of the grain in the Indian subcontinent have been found in the Indo-Gangetic Plain and date from 7000–6000 BC though the earliest widely accepted date for cultivated rice is placed at around 3000–2500 BC with findings in regions belonging to the Indus Valley Civilization. Perennial wild rice still grows in Assam and Nepal. It seems to have appeared around 1400 BC in southern India after its domestication in the northern plains.
Mainly two types of rice species are grown all over the world. Asian rice (Oryza sativa) is most widely known and widely grown, with two major subspecies (indica and japonica). It was cultivated by China between 8,200 and 13,500 years ago, then spread to South and Southeast Asia. Worldwide there are more than 40,000 different varieties.
African rice (Oryza glaberrima) grown in parts of West Africa. It is believed to have been domesticated 2,000–3,000 years ago in the inland delta of the Upper Niger River. It also has lower yields than O. sativa, but it often shows more tolerance to fluctuations in water depth, iron toxicity, infertile soils, and severe climatic conditions.
It is divided into three sizes: short-, medium-, and long-grain. Each type has distinct characteristics and works best in a specific dish. Short-grain rice, like arborio, bomba, and sushi, rice is similar in length and width and takes on a sticky texture when cooked. Brown or white, it has the least amount of arsenic and the most vitamins and minerals.
It goes through a series of processes before finally reaching the table. Its production can generally be divided into the following stages: seed selection, land preparation, crop establishment, water management, nutrient management, crop health, harvesting, and postharvest.
The traditional method for cultivating is flooding the fields while, or after, setting the young seedlings. This simple method requires sound planning and servicing of the water damming and channeling, but reduces the growth of less robust weed and pest plants that have no submerged growth state, and deters vermin. While flooding is not mandatory for the cultivation, all other methods of irrigation require higher effort in weed and pest control during growth periods and a different approach for fertilizing the soil.
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It can be part of a balanced diet, particularly if you choose the unprocessed, brown rice varieties. It has many health benefits and consist of vitamins and minerals. It serves as a good source of vitamin B and iron. It is also an excellent source of manganese and magnesium. Some health benefits are :
Improves Colon Health
It contains resistant starch, which can lead to the formation of certain fatty acids that help the colon stay healthy. These fatty acids may also decrease the risk of colorectal cancer.
Lowers Risk of Heart Disease
Consuming whole grains, including brown rice, is associated with a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease. It contains several heart-healthy components, such as minerals, antioxidants, lignans, and dietary fiber.
Provides Quick Energy
It has a lot of energy in the form of carbohydrates can get it from white rice. Many prefer white rice over brown for its high-carb, low-fiber profile. It also contains antioxidant properties that protect the heart by minimizing the occurrence of heart diseases and stroke.
Helps In Weight Loss
It is considered good for people who want to lose weight. A rice diet has low carbohydrate and fat content and therefore is great for people who want to lose weight.
It contains a very low amount of sodium, hence, it helps in controlling high blood pressure. It is an excellent source of healthy fiber. These help in the growth of beneficial bacteria that improve digestion and regularise the bowel movement.