Discover the 5 shocking health benefits of wild rice.
You can equate the benefits of wild rice with those of lower quality rice, but the truth is that this less common rice provides numerous health favors.
For starters, it’s slightly higher in protein than most whole grains and is a good source of fiber, folate, magnesium, and a host of other beneficial nutrients.
And like black rice, it’s better for your waistline and overall health than most grains that are packed with refined carbohydrates.
Evidence points to the potential that wild rice can reduce birth defects, improve bone health, and much more. Let’s discuss why you should include wild rice in your diet.
As a high antioxidant food, wild rice can fight chronic diseases such as coronary heart disease, stroke, and potentially even some forms of cancer.
The antioxidant activity of methanol extract from wild rice was studied in research and found to be up to 10 times higher than that of white rice, making it an excellent food to combat free radical damage. The results showed that wild rice is abundant in phenolic acid followed by sinapic acid, a natural phytonutrient.
Phenolic acids are found in plants, and since wild rice is considered an herb, it falls into this category, playing a protective role against diseases such as coronary heart disease, strokes, and cancer, among other chronic diseases.
Folate is a member of the B vitamin family and naturally occurs in some foods, primarily green leafy vegetables. Wild rice is a great source of folate as well, which provides many benefits in its own right.
Folate is necessary during rapid cell growth and division, so it is important during pregnancy. Pregnancy can double the need for folic acid in the diet, but it is important to note that folic acid and folic acid are not the same.
Folic acid is the synthetic version of folate, so to help ensure a healthy pregnancy, I recommend going to plants and wild rice for your folate instead of folic acid supplements when possible, and always check with your doctor, especially if you are pregnant.
Regardless, folate deficiency has been reported as one of the most common deficiencies in the US and can cause serious illnesses, such as anemia, incidence, and recurrence of birth defects of the spinal cord and brain, increased risk of certain cancers, cardiovascular disease, and stroke, as well as many other health conditions.
Since one serving of wild rice contains 11 percent of the recommended daily value, it can potentially help reduce the risk of birth defects.
Wild rice is a food rich in phosphorus, and phosphorus is known to help eliminate weak bones and reduce the risk of stress fractures.
The studies determined by adding calcium and phosphorus supplements to subjects’ diets to prevent decreases in bone mass and structural strength during a short-term exercise program compared to exercise alone.
A short-term exercise experiment was performed for three weeks while a long-term exercise experiment was performed for eight weeks.
The results indicated that by increasing the mineral intake in the diet, especially during an exercise program, increases in bone mass were evident, which greatly aided the resistance of stress fractures.
This shows that foods high in phosphorus like wild rice can strengthen bones and improve overall bone health.
Wild rice contains the important mineral magnesium. By adding magnesium-rich foods to your diet, you may be able to help your body create energy by activating adenosine triphosphate (ATP); With enough ATP, you can help prevent fatigue, not just from everyday activities, but even when exercising, as it is generally more difficult for cells to get oxygen.
During exercise, there is an increase in oxygen demand, which is met by increasing muscle blood flow.
A study shows what happens when the body is depleted of its magnesium levels and how it affects our energy metabolism, a lack of magnesium is associated with the need to increase oxygen during exercise.
During moderate activity, study participants who had low magnesium levels in muscle are likely to use more energy, depleting them more quickly than those with positive magnesium levels.
Since magnesium or ATP helps provide this much-needed energy, if you lack it, your energy levels are likely to be depleted much faster.
Both the benefits of wild rice, like brown rice, are naturally gluten-free, making it a great option for people with gluten intolerance or celiac disease.
Eating gluten-free can help promote an overall healthier diet if unhealthy gluten-containing foods are replaced with healthier options.
Gluten is a type of protein found in grains like wheat, barley, and rye, making up about 80 percent of the amino acids found in these grains. However, since it is difficult for many to digest, avoiding it may be best.
Although grains or grain substitutes such as brown rice, oats, quinoa, rice, or corn do not contain gluten, food processing techniques can contaminate these foods with gluten.
Make sure you are informed about the source of each food if gluten is a concern for you, read labels carefully, be aware of the brand, or contact the company or manufacturer.
A cup of wild rice contains approximately:
• 166 calories
• 35 grams of carbohydrates
• 6.5 grams of protein
• 0.6 grams of fat
• 3 grams of fiber
• 0.5 milligrams manganese (23 percent DV)
• 2.2 milligrams zinc (15 percent DV)
• 52.5 milligrams magnesium (13 percent DV)
• 134 milligrams phosphorus (13 percent DV)
• 2.1 milligrams niacin (11 percent DV)
• 0.2-milligram vitamin B6 (11 percent DV)
• 42.6 micrograms of folic acid (11 percent DV)
• 0.2-milligram copper (10 percent DV)
• 0.1-milligram riboflavin (8 percent DV)
• 0.1-milligram thiamine (6 percent DV)
• 1-milligram iron (5 percent DV)
• 166 milligrams potassium (5 percent DV)
Wild rice has few concerns unless you have celiac disease due to cross-contamination. If you choose to use wild rice for natural magnesium intake for pregnancy, check with your doctor first.
Cooking wild rice is not difficult. Check the label for instructions, but generally, to cook it, follow these steps:
Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cover over low heat for 35-50 minutes. Wild rice expands and explodes when cooked.
To make sure it’s ready, you can try a few bites. If it hasn’t reached the desired tenderness, continue cooking for a few more minutes.
You may need to add a little water if everything has been absorbed. I use a timer when I cook rice to make sure it comes out well.
Storage and Freezing: Since it is low in fat, raw wild rice can be kept indefinitely in a dry, airtight container.
Cooked, drained, and tightly covered wild rice can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week and in the freezer for up to six months, making it perfect for meal planning.
• When cooked, it expands three to four times its original size.
• Wild rice is Minnesota’s official state grain.
• You can pop wild rice like popcorn. Just heat in a little oil and shake until uncovered.
• In 2009, California produced approximately 10,200,000 pounds of finished wild rice, Minnesota and Canada together produced 10,000,000 pounds; and Hungary produced approximately 720,000 pounds.
• Wild rice grows naturally in waterways in almost every state in the US For example, it is native to the Connecticut River and Delaware River basin and also grows along the Gulf Coast, where it can reach 12 feet tall.
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