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The humble grain of rice boasts of a diverse variety depending on its length, shape, texture, colour, and aroma. Hence, it comes as no surprise that it is a staple food item in South Asian countries.
In India alone, there are nearly 60,000 to 1,10,000 varieties of rice! Amongst these many options, Basmati rice is the crème de la crème that dons the crown of popularity. It features prominently in dishes like Biryani and Pilaf, and one cannot possibly imagine a rice-based cuisine without the royal Basmati rice!
At present, organic basmati in India is gaining traction due to consumers adopting a healthier lifestyle. How does organic basmati rice fare against regular basmati rice? Does organic basmati boast of better nutritional value or extra health benefits? Let’s take a look!
The basmati rice derives its name from the Sanskrit word, bāsamatī, which literally translates to “fragrant.” This rice variety emits a floral yet spicy aroma. In terms of flavour, basmati bears a soft, grainy, and nutty texture.
One of the most prominent characteristics of basmati is its distinct structure. It is one of the longest grains of rice, with tapered ends, and lengthens as it cooks. Given its low-starch content that offers delightful fluffy consistency, you can hardly go wrong while cooking basmati rice!
The ease with which you can beautify a dish with basmati rice is yet another reason why it is a crowd favourite!
India harbours over 29 varieties of basmati rice (as declared by the APEDA). Interestingly, these varieties are notified by the Government under the Seeds Act of 1966!
The following Indian states are the largest producers of basmati rice:
Apart from its delicious taste and flavour profile, basmati rice offers a host of health benefits. Here is a quick overview:
While the scientific community stands divided on the role of rice in weight loss/gain, rice gets a poor reputation nonetheless. However, basmati rice is an exception to the rule!
Basmati rice is loaded with amylose, a starch that contributes to its non-sticky, fluffy texture. A study published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry indicates that amylose slows down the starch digestion process, making you feel fuller. As a result, the body takes longer to digest basmati rice.
The slower digestion of basmati rice allows for better blood-sugar management. A UK-based Research states that that the glycemic index of basmati ranges from 50 to 58, meaning that it is a low to medium GI food. As a result, basmati is a healthier, diabetes-friendly alternative to easily digestible rice.
Brown basmati rice is a whole grain as it contains the germ, bran, and endosperm. Thus, regular consumption of brown basmati rice can grant you additional health benefits such as a lower risk of type 2 diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and premature death!
Those suffering from food allergies have witnessed their food options dwindling. With items like wheat or dairy out of the picture, it may feel like the end of the world!
However, basmati rice comes as a whiff of hope (pun intended) as it is a low allergenic food (source: South Korean Journal of Pediatrics). Rice is gluten-free, which makes it suitable for conditions like Celiac disease. On the other hand, rice milk can be an excellent substitute for dairy and dairy products.
In a country like India, where the consumer is price sensitive, purchasing something that is a tad bit more expensive may not make sense. Typically, organic products cost more than their regular counterparts. But what makes organic basmati rice worth your money? Let’s find out:
Basmati rice has varying nutritional value that primarily depends on its type. It is normally high in carbohydrates, with traces of folate, selenium, thiamine, and other micronutrients.
Typically, 100g of cooked white basmati rice contains (source: US Department of Agriculture):
On the other hand, 100g of organic basmati rice, when cooked, has the following nutritional content (source: US Department of Agriculture):
Remember, the above values are indicative. However, it becomes apparent that organic basmati rice is relatively lower in calorific content. Furthermore, there are several varieties of organic basmati rice that have higher protein or dietary fibre content.
In addition to being nutritionally healthier, organic basmati rice is often enriched for enhanced nutritional value. As a result, they contain higher doses of minerals such as potassium, zinc, calcium, and iron, and vitamins, like thiamine, folic acid, and niacin. Thus, consuming organic basmati rice may help you meet your regular dietary requirements.
One of the greatest deterrents could be the high concentrations of arsenic, as highlighted in a study published in the National Library of Medicine, found in rice. Arsenic poisoning may impede the functioning of the brain. However, organic basmati rice contains the lowest levels of arsenic (source: Journal of Pediatrics), making it a healthier choice. Moreover, organic farming involves the use of bio-fertilizers and other agricultural practices that not only make the crop healthier but also helps in the conservation of the planet. Thus, consuming organic basmati rice not only protects you from chemical exposure but also contributes to sustainability!
Basmati rice is the finest variety of rice available worldwide! Its culinary diversity makes a much sought-after ingredient whether you like it steamed or paired with curries.
In essence, basmati rice is a treat to all your senses. From its characteristic fragrance to its fluffy, long-grained texture – everything about the basmati rice is poetry on a plate!
In terms of health benefits, brown basmati rice trumps over white basmati. At the same time, the organic variety is nutritionally dense and free from harmful chemicals. Thus, even though organic basmati rice may come at a comparatively higher cost, it is well-worth every paisa that you put into it!
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