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Jasmine rice promotes healthy pregnancy, may combat cancer according to study

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By Prof. Raphael Nyarkotey Obu

In The Gambia and Ghana, many people eat white rice.  What many people do not know is that white rice comes in different forms.  Many people also buy any type irrespective of the brand. In this article, I aim to inform you of the importance of this particular brand called jasmine. Though jasmine and white rice are the most popular. They are quite similar, with some notable differences.

Jasmine rice got its name from the fragrant jasmine flower.  Jasmine rice is an aromatic, long-grain rice that is favored for its unique taste and texture. Native to Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Laos, this popular ingredient is also prominent in southeast Asian cuisine and can be spotted in dishes ranging from curries to stir-fries. Other types of white rice are, basmati, arborio, jasmine, and originario, they are all very similar nutritionally.

Jasmine rice is also nutritionally loaded including manganese, folate, selenium and iron. whole grain varieties  has more benefits, including improved heart health, decreased oxidative stress and protection against chronic disease.

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Jasmine is a bit shorter and thicker than other types of rice, such as basmati, and has a clingy texture that makes it well-suited for eating with chopsticks. It also has a unique signature scent, which is due to the plant’s natural production of aromatic compounds like 2-acetyl-1-pyrroline.

This compound is also found in other foods, such as white bread and basmati rice, and is said to have a scent similar to hot buttered popcorn.

Like other types of rice, both white and brown jasmine rice are available. While white rice has undergone processing to remove the bran and germ, brown rice is a whole grain that contains all three parts of the rice grain.

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Jasmine rice nutrition facts

Roy et al. ( 2011) study agrees that all white rice is processed, meaning that the husk (hard protective shell), bran (outer layer), and germ (inner core) have been removed.  Another study by Dipti,et al. (2012 found that the processed white rice deprived of its fiber and diverse nutrients. USA Department of Agriculture reports that white rice and jasmine has the following nutrients in a 1-cup (140-gram) serving of cooked:

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Also, other white rice naturally contains small amounts of zinc, magnesium, manganese, copper, and B vitamins.

Guerrero et al. (2009) underscored that due to a loss of nutrients during processing, producers now add iron, thiamine (vitamin B1), niacin (vitamin B3), and folate to white rice. 

Jasmine rice, science

Though  jasmine is high in carbs and calories, it is linked  with diverse health benefits eaten  in moderation as part of a balanced diet.

Jasmine, iron

One study by Abbaspour et al.(2014) found that iron is  an important mineral that is involved in a number of metabolic processes in the body, including DNA synthesis, oxygen transport and red blood cell production. Jasmine rice is loaded with iron with 11 percent of the recommended value packed.  This is  beneficial to pregnant women.

Jasmine, antioxidants

Jasmine rice  is loaded with antioxidants. For instance, one study by  Avila et al. (2013) found that jasmine is also high in manganese, an essential mineral that acts as an antioxidant and plays a key role in health and disease.

One study by Pintha et al. (2014) found that some specific varieties like red, purple and black rice could  have higher antioxidants to avert  in disease.   The in vitro study conducted in Thailand, for instance found that red jasmine rice may  reduce cancer cell growth, this is due to the content of helpful compounds, such as phenolics, oryzanol, tocotrienol and tocopherol.

Jasmine, heart health

Brown jasmine rice is regarded a whole grain,  this means that all three parts of the rice kernel are embedded in it. One large systematic review of 45 studies by Aune et al.(2016)  found that adding whole grains in the diet could help improve overall heart health. The study further found that eating at least three servings of whole grains per day was associated to a lower risk of heart disease. Additionally, an earlier study by  Fang et al,(2015) linked whole grain consumption  to a lower risk of stroke as well.

Another key difference between brown jasmine rice vs. white rice is the fiber content. It has been found that since brown rice contains more fiber, it may possibly help reduced levels of cholesterol and blood pressure( Anderson et al. 2009).

Jasmine, cancer

One study by Makarem et al.(20116) agrees that eating  more whole grains like jasmine rice and brown rice might perhaps aid decrease the risk of cancer. The study compiled the results of 20 studies and found that six showed that whole grain intake was linked to a significantly lower risk of developing cancer over time.

Due to the higher fiber content in brown rice, one study by Kunzmann et al. (2015) found that

Eating fiber enrich diet  may avert some types of cancer specifically  colorectal, ovarian, head and neck, and breast cancers.

Jasmine, promotes healthy pregnancy

One article by Rachel, Link(2020) explain that jasmine rice nutrition profile is full with folate, knocking out nearly a quarter of the recommended daily value in a single cup. Folate, also known as vitamin B9, becomes especially important during pregnancy as it plays a central role in fetal growth and development.

Within the past few decades, food manufacturers have begun adding folate to enriched foods such as pasta, rice, bread and other grains. This can help protect against neural tube defects in infants, which is a type of birth defect that affects the brain, spine or spinal cord.

Warning

While jasmine rice can be an excellent addition to a balanced diet for most, there are some risks and side effects that need to be considered as well.

For starters, it’s best to opt for brown jasmine rice over white rice whenever possible. Not only is brown rice much less processed, but it also retains a higher amount of fiber and beneficial nutrients.

Because there are a relatively high amount of jasmine rice calories and carbs in each serving, it’s important to enjoy in moderation as part of a balanced diet. Be sure to also round out your meal by pairing rice with plenty of fruits, veggies, protein foods and healthy fats.

Additionally, rice plants tend to absorb more arsenic than other food crops, which may be a concern if rice is a regular part of your meal plan. While one paper published in Environmental Health Perspectives did note that aromatic varieties like jasmine and basmati rice tend to contain the lowest amount, it’s best to alternate rice with other whole grains in your diet, such as quinoa, couscous or farro.

Although jasmine rice is naturally gluten-free, it’s important to check the label carefully if you have celiac disease or a sensitivity to gluten and look for products that are certified gluten-free. Some flavored rice mixes may contain flavorings, thickeners or additives that contain gluten.

Other products may also be manufactured in facilities that process ingredients with gluten, which can increase the risk of cross-contamination.

Finally, some people may be allergic to jasmine rice and may experience symptoms like rashes, nausea or hives after consumption. If you notice any of these side effects after eating rice, discontinue use immediately and talk to your doctor.

NB:

Prof. Nyarkotey has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations to justify his write-ups.  My articles are for educational purposes and do not serve as Medical advice for Treatment. I aim to educate the public about evidence-based scientific Naturopathic Therapies.

The writer is a professor of naturopathic healthcare, a medical journalist, and a science writer. President, Nyarkotey University College of Holistic Medicine & Technology (NUCHMT)/African Naturopathic Foundation, Ashaiman, Ghana. Currently BL Candidate at the Gambia Law School, Banjul. E. mail: [email protected]. + 2207452652(for more information)

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