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Arsenic is a substance known to cause all sorts of health problems in people and animals the world over. It has certain healing properties, but like many other organic substances, it can have detrimental health effects in large enough doses. Like cyanide, with regular and long enough exposure, it can cause similar health effects over time. Unfortunately, the dangers of arsenic in food supply stores are quite real, and one of the leading culprits is rice.
Just How Bad is the Problem?
The arsenic is measured in micrograms, and it has been shown that approximately 50 micrograms per liter in water is enough to start causing cancer concerns over time. Unfortunately, it is practically impossible to eliminate it from the diet altogether. Not only is it a natural substance in the earth, but the concentration levels increase in areas with a lot of vehicle traffic or where unclean energy sources like coal is burned.
Basmati and other aromatic types often have far less per cup than other types. Interestingly enough, the types imported from places like Thailand and India often contains less than the same types produced in the United States. Some White Basmati from India contains so little per serving that it is barely traceable. The same grown in California contains around 2.3 mcg per serving. Non-basmati types can contain as much as 11 mcg per serving. That whole grain brown may not actually be that great after all.
Alleviating the Dangers of Arsenic in Food Supply
Rice is one of the few grains that work well with a GFCF diet. It is easy to substitute it for pasta as a side dish or main ingredient in many recipes, and the milk is a great substitute in recipes. If arsenic is a concern, consider eliminating milk made from it and opting for almond or coconut milk instead. To further lower the potential risks, rinse the grains before cooking until the water runs clear. The mere act of rinsing can reduce the levels by about 25 percent. Using triple the water during cooking can further drop levels by another 50 to 60 percent. Simply drain off the excess water when cooking is complete as you would do with pasta.
However, make sure the levels in your water source are not very high, because that can negate or worsen any effects rinsing may have. You can also reduce the amount eaten each week. Have it once or twice a week instead of three or five times. Finally, switching to other acceptable grains like quinoa may help too. It is not necessary to completely remove it, but reducing the whole grains and eliminating processed rice products will go a long way in reducing the risks.