A plate of rice

Health benefits of traditional rice varieties of temperate region
Representational Pic
Representational Pic



In Jammu and Kashmir, agriculture provides a living for almost 80% of the population. Rice is the main source of basic food in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, especially among Kashmiris. The valley accounts for around two-thirds of the state's entire cropland (J&K). In the Kashmir valley, almost 75% of the state's rice is produced. Traditional rice varieties have thrived in the temperate parts of north India since prehistoric times, and traditional healers and local farmers have advocated them for medicinal purposes but these have been rapidly displaced as a result of the introduction of high-yielding variants, creating an extinction concern.

Traditional rice cultivars have a better nutritional value than hybrid rice variants. Rice is a major source of carbohydrate for more than two-thirds of the world's population, with rice being the main meal of practically the entire population of the Kashmir valley. This performs the critical job of providing fuel for the body's important functions. When opposed to hybrids, these traditional rice varieties have a lower lipid content and a higher oryzenol content, preventing the body from accumulating cholesterol.

As a result, it is a good source of food to be incorporated as part of a balanced diet in their daily diet. Traditional rice varieties have a low sugar level, making them a good alternative for diabetics, overweight people, or others who are watching their sugar intake. Traditional types are also credited with numerous health benefits, such as providing a cooling sensation in the body, improving vocal clarity, vision, fertility, and reducing rashes.

These traditionally produced rice varieties are rich in minerals and vitamins like niacin, thiamine, iron, riboflavin, vitamin D, and calcium, as well as having higher fibre and lower sugar content, making them an appealing alternative for diabetes patients. Rice does not contain gluten proteins (which are found in wheat), making it an excellent gluten-free choice for people with celiac disease or other dietary restrictions.

They do not require excessive fertiliser and pesticide applications during their developmental and growth stages, these kinds are non-allergic due to the lack of any additives. These rice cultivars have a greater amylose content and are high in resistant starch, which cannot be digested in the gastrointestinal tract and can be used as a bacterial fermentation substrate. These cultivars have a number of health benefits, including lowering the risk of type 2 diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular disease through lowering glycemic and insulin responses.

Pigmented rice is high in antioxidants and polyphenols, and it has two to three times as much zinc and iron than white rice, all of which have the beneficial effect of boosting, strengthening, regenerating, and energising the body. It's also used as infant food in the state, and it's sometimes substituted for white rice on special occasions. Red rice has a red bran layer. The red colour is limited to the bran layer and ranges from mild to dark red. Obesity, Diabetes, and Cancer are all prevented by eating red rice (Zag, Tel Zag, Gull Zag, Shel Kew, Kaw Quder). The presence of antioxidants in red rice has reignited interest in the past several years. Brown rice is high in soluble fibre, which has been shown to protect the body against a number of cancers by scientists.

These are particularly beneficial foods for those with hypertension because of their low sodium content, and they are a good source of protein because they contain all eight amino acids. Red rice has a stronger antioxidant and scavenging activity than white rice. Red rice has been proven to have antifungal, antibacterial, antiviral, ant-diarrheal, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anticancer, anti-thyroid, and anti-hypercholesterolemic properties in pharmacological and clinical investigations. Aside from its radical-scavenging properties, it also increases protein secretion.

Aromatic rice has the best health and nutritional benefits. These are regarded healthier since the outer bran layers contain more vitamin and fibre. Brown aromatic basmati rice has 20% more fibre than other brown rice varieties, which helps to prevent malignant cells from forming in the body.

According to the Canadian Diabetes Association, basmati aromatic rice has a lower glycemic index than other rice kinds, making it ideal for diabetics. Its characteristics are supported by Ayurveda, and it has been proven to be a powerful therapeutic meal. Scientists have discovered that traditional scented rice cultivars contain higher levels of Fe and Zn, which aids iron bioavailability. The current imperative is to market these kinds and promote them by raising public awareness of their key traits.

(Source:Bhat FM and Dr. Riar CS)

Moneesa Bashir, Ph.D. Agriculture, SKUAST-K

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