We Indians love rice, it is our staple food, and we take immense pleasure in relishing delicious, earthy and aromatic rice-based dishes. Not just in India, rice is the essential food across the world from South America to South-East Asian countries, and it is the mainstay of our agricultural livelihood, supporting the economy to prosper.
Basmati rice is native to India and Pakistan, with India being responsible for 2/3 of the global supply. While its true origins aren’t clear, archaeologists have discovered a type of long-grain rice near Udaipur, India dating back to between 2000 and 1600 BC that they believe to be an ancestor of the basmati rice we enjoy today.
Basmati rice comes in two varieties, white and brown. Both have a nutty taste and a distinct smell. White basmati, however, is more processed. The hull, bran, and germ are all removed. With brown basmati, only the hull gets removed. Both types make for a delicious and healthy addition to your diet.
Why Ayurveda Values Long Grain Basmati Rice?
According to Ayurvedic terms, basmati rice is taught to be balancing three doshas –Vata, Pitta and Kapha. Every kind of food we eat has its own doshic balance, some inherent more heat, while others add pitta to the system and some foods are cold and wet and uplift the kapha element. It is very rare to find food that balances all three doshas, which is why basmati rice is so highly prized. However, if eaten in large quantities, it may increase kapha dosha. Basmati rice is also considered sattvic or pure, which has the potential in balancing the mind as well as the body. As per Ayurveda, basmati rice is good for building rasas or body tissue and also an abundant source of prana. Though, it is highly nourishing yet easy to digest and works as comfort food during an illness.
Health Benefits Of Long Grain Basmati Rice
1. Manages Diabetes
Long grain basmati rice although high in calories and carbohydrate contains a plethora of essential nutrients and dietary fiber that slow down the digestion process. This streamlines the blood sugar spikes, making basmati rice a diabetic-friendly cereal. As per the Diabetic Association of Canada, basmati rice has a lower glycemic index than other rice varieties, which is important for people with diabetes. Besides these, a noteworthy amount of fiber, amylase, and protein in basmati rice makes it low on the glycemic index and keep blood sugar levels under control.
2. Heart Healthy
Long grain basmati rice is low in saturated fats and sodium, which makes it a healthier option for those with cardiac ailments. Moreover, loaded with dietary fiber and vitamin B support to improve good cholesterol (HDL) levels and reduces bad cholesterol. This prevents fatty deposits in heart vessels, helping cardiac muscle function and optimizing heart health.
3. Averts Cancer
Long grain basmati rice is blessed with the goodness of dietary fibers, with 20% more fiber than many other kinds of cereal, which have the ability to prevent the growth of cancerous cells. Consuming a diet plentiful in fiber content regulates bowel functions, add fecal bulk and promotes smooth passage of food and other materials within the gastrointestinal tract. In addition, the consumption of whole-grain brown basmati rice is effective in preventing breast cancer as the fibers ease the system in maintaining hormone balance.
4. Manages Weight
It is a popular belief that a diet high on rice is the biggest enemy for weight loss. But evidence reveals that long grain basmati rice can incredibly help people to shed excess weight. The richness of natural dietary fiber slows down digestion, keep you satiated for longer time and control unwanted food cravings. Aside from this, it also contains a high amount of amylose, a type of carbs that makes it hard for the body to digest, thereby accelerating weight loss.
5. Regulates Blood Pressure
Profuse amounts of magnesium and potassium in basmati rice helps in reducing blood pressure remarkably. Potassium plays a vital role in relaxing blood vessels and improve circulation and blood flow to all the vital organs. Regular addition of long grain basmati rice can greatly help people with high blood pressure.
6. Promotes Digestion
Long grain basmati being rich in soluble fiber provides the system with ample amounts of roughage that helps in the smooth functioning of the digestive system. A diet high in fiber prevents constipation by adding bulk to the stool to aids the waste move through the intestines. Thus, including basmati rice to daily routine would greatly help people suffering from constipation and other gastrointestinal woes.