Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits of Rice

Rice has a number of health benefits, which are often overlooked. When we think about rice the first thing that comes to our mind is that it is loaded with carbohydrates. But rice is not just carbohydrates; it is an essential source of vitamin B1 too. It can provide fast and instant energy, normalize and improve bowel movements, and stabilize blood sugar levels.

Ask any body builder and he would recommend eating rice over wheat-based rotis. This is because rice can increase the metabolism and help digestion.

It can also give a boost to your skin health, aid weight loss, reduce high blood pressure, improve the immune system and provide protection against cardiovascular diseases, cancer and dysentery.

Rice is inexpensive and is a staple diet in many counties. There are 40,000 varieties of rice available throughout the world. The two main categories are white rice and whole grain rice.

Here are some of the nutrition facts and health benefits of rice.

Great source of energy: Carbohydrates acts as a fuel for the body, and rice is rich in carbohydrates. It aids in the normal functioning of the brain.

Cholesterol free: Rice is devoid of cholesterol, harmful fats, or sodium. It forms an integral part of a balanced diet. It also helps reduce obesity and is one of the most widely eaten foods in the world.

Blood pressure management: It is low in sodium and can lower blood pressure. Sodium can cause veins and arteries to tighten, increasing the stress and strain on the cardiovascular system as the blood pressure increases. It can lead to heart attacks, and strokes.

Cancer prevention: To prevent cancer, eat brown rice or wholegrain rice. They are rich in insoluble fibre that can guard against different types of cancer, especially intestinal cancer. Besides fibre, rice also has natural antioxidants like flavonoid compounds, vitamin C, phenolic and vitamin-A.

Skin care: Research shows that powdered rice can cure certain skin ailments. It has anti-inflammatory properties, so it is also good for redness and any type of skin irritation. To reduce wrinkles and other premature signs of ageing, make rice a daily part of your diet. This is because rice is rich in antioxidants and can give a beauty boost to your skin.

Alzheimer’s Disease: Brown rice contains nutrients in high level that aids the growth of neuro-protective enzymes in the brain and helps prevent Alzheimer’s disease.

Diuretic and digestive qualities: Rice significantly improves appetite, and lessens all problems related to the digestive system. Rice husk, being a diuretic, can help eliminate toxins from the body, and even aid weight loss. It increases bowel movement regularity as it is rich in fibre content and guards against various types of cancer.

Rich in vitamins: It is an excellent source of vitamins and minerals like vitamin D, niacin, fibre, calcium, iron, riboflavin and thiamine. These vitamins are essential to prevent diseases and boost our immune system. They are also essential for body metabolism, and general functioning of the organ systems.

Health Food Supplements Promise Increased Wellbeing

One of every three people in the world is suffering from Protein- Energy Malnutrition (PEM) or micronutrient malnutrition also known as “hidden hunger”. Like several nutritionists and doctors, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the American Medical Association (AMA) have admitted that modern diets should be complemented with vitamins, minerals and other health supplements to tackle ill-health.

Studies and research conducted in almost every country has proven that several nutrients are lost or reduced on consuming fast-food and convenience-food. With the growing awareness on different types of diseases and deficiencies, a marked increase has been recorded in the consumption of functional foods, super foods, fortified foods, dietary supplements and probiotics. Sale of vitamins – C, D, E and B complex, drinkable yoghurts, energy bars, ready-to-eat salads, fortified juices and drinks in addition to bottled mineral water has sky rocketed in the past two years. However all health food supplements do not come with the government’s stamp of approval. The FDA comes into the picture only when a manufacture self-reports an issue with his product or a health concern is raised.

It has been proved through researches worldwide that toxicity in the body can also increase with high dosages of vitamins A, D, E, C, Pyroxine and Iodine. Therefore health food supplements should only be taken under proper guidance because the effect may vary between individuals, depending on factors like age, sex, physical condition and the combination in which supplements are taken. As a general principle, “kitchen sink” combinations should be avoided. Unless necessary, it is advised that natural health food supplements be added to daily diet.

Researchers at National Institute of Nutrition (NIN), India, have conducted extensive research on health food supplements and concluded that spices are extremely beneficial to well being:

• Debitterised fenugreek seeds: Delay or impair glucose absorption when 25gms are consumed by diabetic subjects.
• Turmeric and its active principle called curcumin: Possess antimutagenic, anticarcinogenic, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant properties. Ingestion of 2gms per day enhances body defences.
• Onion and garlic: Rich source of compounds, like diallyl sulphide, diallyl disulphide, allium and ajoene. These have antimicrobial, hypolipidemic antimutagenic, anticarcinogenic and antioxidant properties. They stimulate enzymes in the body that detoxify mutagens/carcinogens.
• Ginger: Helps ameliorate conditions like rheumatic disorders, inflammation and gastrointestinal discomforts. Studies also suggest it to be usable as a chemo-preventing agent.
Other well researched health food supplements are:
• Chlorophyll: Builds blood, renews tissue, promotes healthful intestinal flora and activates enzymes that produce vitamins A, D, and K.
• Wheat Grass Juice: Has detoxifies the body and has a high concentration of beta-carotene and vitamins such as E and K.
• Alfalfa: Helps assimilate protein, fats and carbohydrates. It alkalizes and detoxifies the body, especially the liver.
• Barley grass: Contains folic acid, pantothenic acid, beta carotene and vitamins C and E.
• Spirulina: Helps to protect the immune system, lower cholesterol and facilitate mineral absorption. It is high in chlorophyll, protein, beta-carotene, B12 and nucleic acids.
• Flaxseed oil: Rich in Omega-3 and Omega-6. Provides essential fatty acids required for normal cell structure and function.
• Dark chocolate: If consumed in a moderate amount, helps to lower high blood pressure and keep the heart healthy. It is rich in flavonoids.
• Curds/Yogurt: Provides the digestive tract with beneficial bacteria that help to fight cancer, build bones and boost immunity. These are probiotic foods.
• Oats: Consumption of this food lowers the risk of heart diseases as it is rich in fibres, it also helps muscle growth.

In a nutshell, consuming a variety of edibles with the right health food supplements leads to increased longevity, proper hormonal functioning and physical as well as mental efficiency.

Controlling Your Health Care Costs in Retirement

It’s no secret that health care becomes a bigger concern for most of us as we grow older. More ailments are likely to develop, which means more money spent to visit health professionals and buy medication. Even if you remain healthy through your later years, the costs of preventative care and preparing for potential unexpected health situations are rising.

Health-related expenses will likely be one of the biggest components of your retirement budget. You need to be prepared to pay for comprehensive insurance coverage and potential out-of-pocket costs for care. Here are three strategies to help you manage this critical expense in retirement.

Understand how Medicare works

The good news for Americans age 65 and older is that you qualify for Medicare. That makes increased dependence on health care services more affordable. At age 65, most people automatically qualify for Medicare Part A at no cost, which primarily provides coverage for hospital stays and skilled nursing care. Medicare Part B must be purchased (approximately $109 per month in 2017 for most retirees). Part B covers the costs of visiting a physician, but with some deductibles. Many people purchase additional coverage to use for out-of-pocket expenses, such as a Part D prescription drug plan or a Medicare Supplement policy.

With Medicare, timing is important. Signing up when you first qualify for coverage will keep costs at the lowest level. If you maintain insurance through your employer after turning 65, you can delay Medicare enrollment without risking late penalties.

If you retire prior to age 65, you will need to purchase insurance on the open market to cover health-related expenses until you become eligible for Medicare. Individual coverage tends to get more expensive as you grow older, so work the cost into your retirement budget. Some employers offer retiree health insurance as a benefit. Check with your human resources department to see if this option is available to you.

Allocate sufficient funds for health care costs

As you develop your retirement income strategy, make sure you have money set aside for health expenses that will be your responsibility. By one estimate, the average 66-year-old couple will need to tap more than half of their lifetime pre-tax Social Security benefits to pay for health care expenses throughout retirement. Most people will likely have to rely, in part, on their own savings to help offset some medical expenses.

Along with other retirement savings, you may want to establish a health savings account (HSA) during your working years. HSAs are designed to help build tax-advantaged savings to pay for out-of-pocket medical expenses you incur during your working years. However, any leftover funds can be applied to health expenses later in life, including premiums for Medicare and long-term care insurance. Keep in mind that you must be enrolled in a high deductible health plan to open an HSA.

Focus on your own health

One way to potentially keep health care costs under control in retirement is to create or maintain a healthy lifestyle. Small changes you make today, such as eating right or prioritizing sleep, could reduce the likelihood that medical issues will impact you later in life. Being physically active may also benefit your finances in retirement – according to the American Heart Association, it could potentially help you save $500 a year today on health-related expenses.