How Adding Coconut Oil to White Rice Makes it 50% Healthier
It’s true that white rice is a highly processed grain and has a high glycemic index. But, the effect food has on your blood sugar can be altered depending on what you eat it with. Researchers from Sri Lanka might have uncovered a Holy Grail of rice cooking that could shake the way we view and prepare rice. They presented their preliminary findings last month at the National Meeting and Exposition of the American Chemical Society.
Research on Coconut Oil and White Rice
Authors of the research, Sudhair James and Dr. Pushparajah Thavarajah, tested 8 different recipes on 38 varieties of rice. The cooking method that proved to be the best at increasing the rice’s healthiness included adding coconut oil to boiling water, before stirring in raw rice. The rice was then cooled down in the refrigerator and consumed after 12 hours.
When the least healthy of all rice types was prepared in such way, its calories were reduced by 10 to 12 percent. The two scientists, conducting their research at the College of Chemical Sciences in Colombo, claim that further caloric reduction is possible. They predict that if the right variety of rice is prepared with coconut oil, the calories could be cut by about 50 to 60 percent.
How does this Method Work?
Intuitively, many cultures prepare food in a way to make it healthier. Some schools of nutrition, too, have believed all along that mixing certain fats with food rich in carbohydrates (such as rice) could lower the meal’s blood sugar raising effect.
The method of cooking with coconut oil and then chilling the rice cuts the calories by changing the rice’s chemical composition. Digestible starch turns into indigestible starch (or resistant starch), so the rice doesn’t get readily metabolized into glucose – if not used, glucose eventually converts into body fat and contributes to weight gain.
One cup of medium grain white rice usually contains about 246 calories. With this method, the calorie count goes down to as little as 147.
What’s more, resistant starch is considered a prebiotic and compliments the function of probiotic foods (read more in my article about 9 reasons to consume probiotics). It feeds the good bacteria in your gut and aids your immunity and digestive processes.
Recipe for Cooked Rice that Cuts the Calories in Half
- Boil 2 cups of water and add a tablespoon of coconut oil (always opt for organic virgin coconut oil)
- Stir in 1 cup of rice.
- Cook for about 20 minutes, until the rice is cooked.
- Put in the fridge for 12 hours.
- Use cold or re-heat it – according to the Sri Lankan research, the rice maintains its newly acquired benefits even after heating it again.
The white rice might become healthier when the above method is applied. Still, you shouldn’t now eat it in unlimited amounts. Also, consider using brown rice instead. Brown rice doesn’t have the germ and bran removed, so it’s a better option as it retains the bulk of its vitamins, minerals, essential fats and fiber.