Oryza sativa of the Poaceae family, is the Botanical name for what could be considered the most commonly consumed grains in the world. It is included in the diets in many Countries and of many cultures around the world. It is especially popular in South East Asia where it is consumed on an almost daily basis.

As far as production goes, Rice is likely second only to Maize, more commonly known as Corn.

Rice is likely the basis of at lest 20% of the calorie intake in the world by humans. Although its popularity is high, it is still a relatively untapped source of food security in third world countries where it has the potential to improve nutrient intake and improve health dramatically.

Rice can grow to almost 2 metres tall though it rarely reaches this height in annual cultivation. There are both Annual and Perennial species of rice. Most are treated as annuals and re-sown each year. Rice can grow almost anywhere providing it receives ample water. It can often be seen growing on the side of mountains in China and other countries in swale-like cut outs in the side of these mountains.

Rice is traditionally grown in flooded Rice fields or paddies. This serves many purposes including providing the water it requires to grow as well as keeping weeds away, since most weeds won’t grow under water.

Brown Rice differs from white rice in that it has only had the outermost layer (the hull) removed which maintains the nutritional value of the rice. White rice goes through a process of further milling and polishing which removes a large quantity of the nutrient value.

Rice is one of the most nutritious grains available for human consumption. Thiamine (B1), Riboflavin (B2), Niacin (B3), and Vitamin B6. Brown rice is high in biotin, Vitamin E and Vitamin K. It is rich in Folate and contains pantothenic acid.

Brown rice is high in Dietary Fibre and Carbohydrates.

Brown rice can be cooked and used in several ways. I prefer to use it in savoury based dishes, but I have seen it used in deserts and sweet dishes.

Brown rice is ideal to use as fried rice, typically with bacon pieces and egg.

Brown rice can be boiled and used plain with meat and salad, mixed with a sweet and sour sauce or sweet chilli sauce.

I like to replace noodles or white rice with any Chinese meal that suggests anything other than Brown rice be used.

Brown rice can be added to soups and stews though I would not add as much as I would pearl barley

Brown rice is a very versatile grain with many health benefits and should be included in a healthy diet at least 2 days a week. With its high carbohydrate content I always recommend dishes with rice be consumed as a mid day meal to allow the body to use its excess energy. Eating carbohydrates as an evening meal can prevent sustainable weight loss.

Author's Bio: 

Eric J. Smith is an Experienced Horticulturalist with a keen interest in Organic Gardening. Eric's interest in Organics also shows in his interest in Organic Nutrition and Organic Skincare. More information can be found on these by visiting his websites http://www.buy-organic-products.com/health/ or http://www.lifestyle-health-services.com. Subscribe to Eric's FREE Health and Organic Newsletters via these websites.