Elizabeth S. Reames | 9/23/2005 3:13:36 AM
In a salute to September as National Rice Month, LSU AgCenter nutritionist Dr. Beth Reames says rice is delicious, nutritious, economical and versatile. It’s also an excellent source of energy-rich carbohydrates.
Most U.S. rice is enriched with iron, niacin, thiamin and folic acid. Rice is considered to have one of the highest quality protein profiles compared to other grains. It contains no cholesterol and is practically fat-free and sodium-free.
Rice is part of the grain group of the food guide pyramid. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans from the U. S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommend consuming 3 or more ounce-equivalents of whole-grain products per day, with the rest of the recommended grains coming from enriched or whole-grain products.
In general, at least half the grains should come from whole grains, Reames says.
Six-ounce equivalents of grains are recommended for adults based on a 2,000 calorie level. In general, one slice of bread, 1 cup of ready-to-eat cereal, or ½ cup of cooked rice, cooked pasta or cooked cereal can be considered 1-ounce equivalent from the grains group.
Brown rice is a wholegrain. Whole grains are an important source of fiber and other nutrients, according to Reames.
Louisiana is one of the major rice-producing states, along with Arkansas, California, Texas, Mississippi and Missouri. Rice has been grown in the United States for more than 300 years. The United States produces long-, medium- and short-grain rice, as well as specialty and aromatic varieties.
Rice consumption has been increasing in the United States for the past two decades, currently standing at about 26.5 pounds per year.
American-grown rice is a clean product that does not need washing or rinsing before or after cooking, Reames explains. In fact, she says that rinsing American rice, or cooking it in excess water and draining it, results in loss of enrichment and other water-soluble vitamins. She says for best results, follow package directions.
For additional information about rice, contact the LSU AgCenter Extension agent in your parish. For information on related family and consumer topics, click on the Family and Home link on the LSU AgCenter homepage, at www.lsuagcenter.com.