Yes, grains are contraindicated for an increasing number of people, as they exacerbate autoimmune disease and leaky gut, or intestinal permeability. If grains challenge your digestive system, here’s a way you can eat rice and be free of uncomfortable side effects like bloating, memory fog, or weight gain.
As strange as it may sound, when rice is cooked and cooled, the starch resists digestion and becomes an amazing health boon. Below you’ll find four excellent reasons to try it, and I’ll conclude with practical tips for using starch resistant (SR) rice, beans and other foods.
But first, what is starch resistance? It is a type of starch that resists digestion in the stomach and small intestine, and so it functions rather like a soluble fiber. Because you can’t digest or absorb it, it cannot be stored as fat. But in your large intestine, it becomes dinner for your intestinal flora; they slowly metabolize resistant starch into short-chain fatty acids that have impressive health benefits.
SR rice is not a new-fangled, bioengineered crop; it is cooked rice that’s cooled and then not reheated above 130°F. As the rice cools, its starch crystalizes into a form that resists digestion in the small intestine.
Here’s how SR rice benefits:
- Reduces appetite to give a sense of fullness and so it helps treat obesity.
- Improves insulin sensitivity and lowers blood sugar level and so helps treat and prevent diabetes.
- Strengthens the immune system by transforming starch into short-chain fatty acids, in particular butyric acid (butyrate), which boost the growth of probiotics.
- Reduces intestinal permeability (leaky gut) and inflammation in the large intestine.
In addition to rice, other foods including beans, potatoes, underripe bananas and various grain products such as breakfast cereals and bread contain resistant starch. There’s even a fabricated starch resistant corn product, Hi-maize (I do not recommend it). So to gain the SR properties of beans or potatoes, for example, cook first and then serve them barely warmed or cold, as in a salad.
If you’re wondering what type of rice works best—brown or white; short, medium or long grain—I asked Paleo nutritionist, Amy Kubal, RD, this very question. She said, “For SR properties, white jasmine rice seems to be the variety best tolerated by folks.”
So let’s get underway. Rinse one cup of white rice very well. Place in a pot with 2 cups of water, salt to taste and a teaspoon of oil. The oil helps keep the grains separate; otherwise, when reheated, the rice tends to gum together. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until done. Let it steam, covered, for 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork. Remove the rice to a storage container and cool, either in the refrigerator or on the countertop.
Alternatively, for even more separate grains, add one cup of rice to four cups of boiling salted water and cook, as you would pasta, until tender. Strain, drain and then place the rice in a storage container; cool, either in the refrigerator or on the countertop.
Now use the cold rice in a salad, sushi, soup or pudding, but don’t serve it hot. Or lightly warm the rice, but not above 130°F, because higher temperatures will melt down those desirable SR crystals. So, for example, if you want to have rice in a stir-fry, cook all the other ingredients, then at the very end, over low heat, stir in the rice and mix continuously until the rice is just as hot as is typically the hot water from your kitchen faucet. For a soup, cook the other ingredients and add the rice at the very end, watching carefully to not overheat it. You’ll soon get the hang of it.
As always, when reintroducing a food, try a test spoonful and make sure you’re not reacting to it. If there are no symptoms, enjoy it in moderate portions for one day. Now wait several days before trying it again; then continue to pulse it back into your diet with intervals of several days between. If you’ve been rice free for a while, you have a treat in store!
May all beings be well nourished,