Saturday, January 12, 2008

Microscopic View of Red Rice [15th blog]


Bahasa of the Day

Milky Way - Bima Sakti
New Zealand - Selandia Baru

When I was a child I have been introduced to different kind of rice and have consumed them innumerably. Yellow rice, Hainan rice, and Uduk rice are examples of these variants. Yet, I have never eaten red rice until several weeks ago, even when I know that such rice exists. It is then realized, through lazy research, that inside these little grains are nutritious compounds which not only covering our daily diet needs, but they also promoting our health to a higher level.

Yellow rice appears yellow because the rice grain has been mixed with turmeric; explaining such unique aroma produced by it. The red appearance in red rice, however, is by nature's gift. Though it appears as a pale color, red rice contains not only carbohydrate which supply our daily energy. It also contains fat, fiber, magnesium, phosphorus, protein, vitamin A B C, Zinc, as well as vitamin B complex which is responsible to prevent illnesses (insomnia, constipation, intestine cancer) as it contributes to our body defense. It also lowers down cholesterol and sugar level because, from what I could recalled, it acts as antioxidants: absorbing malicious bacteria and kick them out from our body. Scientifically, red rice can lowers down bad cholesterol up to 30%, and raise the good cholesterol 19%. This antioxidants role can also prevent coronary heart disease as well as cancer too.

We should not be terrified when I mentioned red rice contains fat. Not all fat is ugly, and the existence of fat is actually important to our body since it equipped us with insulation (cold-proof), buoyancy (less energy exerted during swimming), and backup energy. The 12% fat within red rice is unsaturated fat, where it won't give you such flabby appearances since it existed not as solid. The existence of flabbiness body is actually because our slow metabolism (the food you eat are converted into fat and energy, instead of energy alone). In other words, fatness occurs because we rarely do physical exercise. This is also why some people eat so much and yet they are not fat; they are gifted with high metabolism even when they do less exercise.

Again as I said before, red rice contains protein. I think this is good because as teenagers, we do need protein because this is our life's phase where we are very active and do relentless activities as well. We also need it to develop muscle either for fitness or sport purposes, and to remain as hyperactive delinquents. Thus, aside from eating eggs, why don't we add red rice as our daily diet? We get extra protein consumption without ruining our eating habit, and it tastes good.

Anthocyanin is another thing in red rice which I like the most. Originally, Anthocyanin is a pigment that is responsible to give the dark purple color in flowers or plants, which is make sense why red rice have purplish color. The spectra of this pigments differs in accordance to their pH: from reddish brown until purplish. This color gradient can be seen if you purchased red rice from different cities in Java like Sumedang, Bogor, Kadipaten, etc.

Why do I like this anthocyanin? It is because this pigment is responsible as antioxidants, anti hypertension, and most of all it enhance our sight - a very crucial and adored function for a glasses wearer like me. *You can also find anthocyanin in red wine too I think.* Maybe you will think that this pigment is not affective enough since the red color is only on the surface of the rice? Well, think again! Anthocyanin is actually covering the whole rice crops.

However, the availability of red rice in general is very scarce. Its availability in markets are so limited that the price is quite expensive than normal rice (around Rp.7000/kg). This low productivity might be caused by its crop that is classified as an upland rice. Such type of rice requires good weather, location, and even nutrients. From what I know, upland rice usually requires no water and rely on something else in order to survive, but I don't know for sure.

Red rice is an underdog rice whose healthy potentials are not recognized by the dominance due to the existence of modern food such as junk foods. The probable chance of other beneficial mysteries behind these little red grains are still unknown as well. Such anonymousness occurred because other food science aspects are more prioritized by researchers. Now after we realized the list and function of nutrients within these petite rice, I could not think a better reason why I should not consume red rice. In the end, it is all up to us to decide which food serves the most proportional nutrients for our healthy living.

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