Recent studies have shed light to a newly identified problem in the food chain. Worldwide, the majority of rice and rice products found on the market contain high amounts of arsenic. Arsenic is one of the world’s most toxic elements and has been classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer as carcinogenic to humans. The levels of arsenic are higher that before due to environmental pollution and some pesticides that are being widely used. Arsenic is found at high levels only in rice as rice is the only grain that grows in the water and arsenic enters the plant through the water.
Follow these tips to make sure you and your family are not being exposed to high levels of arsenic through your food:
- Leave the rice overnight in water. Rinse well and cook in a high amount of water, using the analogy 5:1 to 10:1 if possible. After boiling for 6-7 minutes throw out the boiling water, rinse again and add some more water until the rice is cooked. This has shown to reduce about 60-70% of the arsenic in rice.
- Basmati rice contains lower levels of arsenic than other rice.
- Brown rice usually contains more arsenic than white rice and it is more difficult to remove the arsenic compared to white rice.
- Growing rice organically doesn’t make a difference in the arsenic levels of rice as arsenic is absorbed from the soil.
- Rice cakes and rice milk contain high levels of arsenic and it is better to avoid them. Specifically the levels of arsenic found in rice milk far exceed the levels that would be allowed in drinking water.