As a food staple for more than 3.5 billion people around the world, few foods are enjoyed as extensively as is rice. Italians use if for risotto, the Japanese use it for sushi, Americans use it for Cajun jambalaya, and pretty much everyone enjoys it as a standalone dish that can be prepared and enhanced countless different ways.
But beyond the fact that it’s delicious, accessible, affordable and popular, rice is also rich in some important nutrients and has some unique health benefits such as providing the body with energy and being a good vehicle for eating other nutrient-rich foods. “Enjoying some rice in your diet on occasion and eating it in moderation can be part of a healthy diet,” says Uma Naidoo, MD, director of nutritional and lifestyle psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital and the author of “Calm Your Mind with Food.”
What are the different kinds of rice? There are tens of thousands of different rice varieties available. According to the U.S. Rice Federation, these varieties are classified by degree of milling, aroma and flavor, how they are processed, and, most commonly, their kernel size or length. These include long grain, medium grain and short grain. When cooked, long grain rice tends to be fluffy and light and is popular in rice bowls, stir fries and casseroles. Medium grain rice is chewy and tender and is popular in many side dishes. And short grain rice is soft and sticky and is popular in lettuce wraps and rice pudding.
Excerpted from USA Today