As the main part of many diet plans all over the world, rice has often been touted as a healthy form of carbohydrate. Despite this, as time has gone on, more and more people consider white rice as a ‘bad’ carbohydrate.
White rice might be delicious, but it’s had several nutrients removed while it’s been processed. Thanks to today’s technology, we can enjoy several rice alternatives that claim to be more nutritious.
One of these substitutes is enriched rice, but is this form of rice actually healthy?
Overall, enriched rice is a great substitute for white rice, as it still contains a lot of the nutrients that are removed from its white counterpart.
Provided that you source enriched rice from trustworthy sources, you can enjoy the benefits of eating this nutritious rice form.
Despite its advantages, there are things that you should be aware of before you purchase enriched rice.
You’ll learn more about these in this article, including what enriched rice is, whether it needs to be washed and if it is really good for you.
Keep reading to learn more about this nutritious form of rice!
Enriched Rice: The Basics
Enriched rice has its beginnings around 50 years ago. After the rice industry began to take away the bran from rice grains, its nutritional value began to plummet, as a lot of the nutrients were kept in the bran.
To compensate for this, the rice industry began to make enriched rice.
Once the rice grain barn has been eliminated, nutrients that were initially lost from the rice are added back.
These include folic acid, iron, and niacin. Enriched rice began becoming more popular as it was seen as a healthier form of white rice.
Compared to other types of rice, enriched rice is packed with nutrients. This makes it a good choice for charities that aid malnourished areas in developing countries.
The same amount of enriched rice can give those in need more nutrients compared to traditional rice.
Does Enriched Rice Need Washing?
We all know that we should wash our rice before eating it, but some of us are guilty of skipping this step when cooking.
It’s important to wash rice before eating it, as this removes the starches from the grain’s surface.
This will make the rice grains stickier while they cook, resulting in a pleasantly even consistency. Instead of cooking tougher or stringy rice, you’ll end up with a fluffy, tastier dish.
Washing your rice won’t take that long, but it’s a simple step to making it a lot tastier. Practically every chef recommends washing rice before cooking with it, but does the same advice ring true for enriched rice?
The answer depends on how the rice was enriched. The process involves adding micronutrient powders to the grains. The substance sticks to each rice grain to add nutrients to the rice as a whole.
Rice manufacturers can also do this by spraying the grains with the desired nutrients.
Both methods of enriching rice involve coating the rice grains with nutrients. As washing the rice will wash the starch, as well as other substances off from the grains, the nutrients can be removed from washing the rice too.
The whole point of enriched rice is that it is more nutritious than traditional white rice, so you should avoid washing it. Any dirt or undesirable substances will have already been eliminated from the rice during production.
Remember to use exactly the right amount of water to prepare enriched rice. If too much water is used, you’ll wash away some of the rice’s nutrients while you drain it.
Are Converted Rice And Enriched Rice The Same Thing?
Another form of rice that is like enriched rice is converted rice. Converted rice was designed to have more nutritional value than regular rice.
Converted rice is produced differently from enriched rice. The process aims to solve the issue of coating the rice grains with nutrients so that they can’t be removed as easily. This is done through steaming.
Converted rice involves husking the grains after they have been steamed. As the rice has soaked up water, then boiled with intense steam, the nutrients are held underneath the husk within the rice’s layers.
This allows the nutrients to stay within the grain, even after they have been husked.
Converted rice is available in most grocery stores and is relatively easy to find. Ben’s Orignal is one of the more popular manufacturers of converted rice.
You can also find converted rice within South Asian markets, as they often use rice in their dishes.
As the nutrients are kept within converted rice, they have a lot more nutrients compared to standard white rice. Just a single cup of converted rice has the total amount of nutrients that are in 3 ¼ cups of traditional rice.
Is Enriched Rice Healthy?
We’ve seen how enriched rice has more nutrients added to it, but is it healthy?
Enriched rice does give people a way of eating rice and benefiting from all of the extra nutrients. Despite this, enriched rice does come with a few issues.
The main concern is whether the extra nutrients added to enriched rice are a good replacement for the natural ones that are removed from white rice during processing.
Our bodies can absorb these artificial nutrients, but not as easily as natural ones, as the body struggles to identify them.
Another issue is whether the nutrients are of high quality or not. Lower-quality nutrient powders can often include large amounts of sugar, sodium, and fat.
In higher quantities, these aren’t good for you, so you need to make sure that your enriched rice is from a trustworthy source.
Always check the label on your packaging to check what nutrients were added to the grains, as well as if it contains any more additives.
The Bottom Line
White rice has had its nutrients removed from the grains during processing. Enriched rice attempts to be more nutritious by adding these nutrients back into the grains.
However, do be aware that as enriched rice is coated with micronutrient powders, you should avoid washing the grains, as this will remove the nutrients.
While enriched rice can be a healthier option, make sure that your brand doesn’t contain any additives, like sugar or salt.
Always examine the label to ensure that you’re getting the most out of your enriched rice, but if you’re worried, you can always switch to whole-grain or brown rice.