Is your rice slowly poisoning you? How to reduce arsenic levels in your rice

The rice you eat may contain dangerous levels of arsenic. Arsenic is naturally found in water and soil, but it finds its way into rice because rice is grown in flooded paddy fields that use a lot of irrigation water. Irrigation water is often polluted with pesticides, preservatives, fertilizers, industrial waste, coal ash, and other pollutants that drain into the water. As a result, arsenic accumulates in the soil of paddy fields, and rice itself absorbs arsenic more readily than other types of food crops.

Consuming rice or other foods with arsenic can lead to chronic diseases and health problems such as cancer, vascular diseases, high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, reduced intelligence, lower social competence, impaired concentration, and cognitive issues. In response, soaking rice before cooking has been recommended to reduce arsenic levels. According to an article in the Telegraph, a researcher at Queens University Belfast found that soaking rice overnight can reduce arsenic levels by 80%.

Here's the method:

  • Measure the dry rice in a jug.
  • Soak rice overnight
  • Wash then rinse the rice really well, until the water is clear.
  • Drain really well.
  • Place rice in a saucepan with five parts water to one part rice (plus a little salt) and stir once.
  • Bring to the boil, then turn the heat all the way down and cover the pan tightly with a lid.
  • Cook on the lowest heat possible for 10-15 mins without uncovering the pan.
  • Use a fork to fluff up the cooked rice.

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