Facts About Ayurveda and Rice

Low Fat, Low Calorie, High in Nutrition

Single Rice Grain / Chopsticks
Single Rice Grain / Chopsticks. Maciej Toporowicz, NYC / Getty Images

Move over, pasta! Here is an ancient Ayurvedic secret that meets the low-fat, low-calorie, high-nutrition criteria of the new American diet.

Some Impressive Rice Facts

  • More than half the world's population virtually lives on rice.
  • In Japan, the words for rice and meal are the same. An average Japanese eats 200 pounds of rice a year. Needless to add, Japan has one of the highest longevity rates in the world.
  • Rice crop takes up a whopping 150 million hectares of land worldwide.

America, however, is not very partial to rice, even though at least 6 American states grow several varieties of it.

If you are among those who have thus far been less than fond of rice, here are some reasons why you might like to look at the grain again:

  • Rice is every bit as versatile as pasta.
  • Ounce for ounce, rice contains less calories than pasta.
  • It is an excellent complex-carbohydrate food.
  • Rice is gluten-free and non-allergenic.
  • It is low in fat and sodium, and free of cholesterol.
  • Rice is delicious!

Ayurveda and Rice

In India, rice has for centuries symbolized fertility, wealth and good health. Ancient priests used it as an ingredient in worship, and to this day, rice is thrown at newlyweds to bless them with healthy offspring and prosperity.

While research in the West gives high scores to brown rice for its bran and fiber content, Ayurveda recommends the long-grained, fragrant basmati rice. "That is because basmati rice is easy on the digestive system. Also, it is saatvic or pure, and balances the physiology. Basmati rice builds body tissue and is very high on prana or vital life energy," explains vaidya Ramakant Mishra, director of Product Research and Development at Maharishi Ayurveda.

Vaidya Mishra goes on enumerate more benefits of rice:

  • Rice contributes the sweet taste to your daily diet. Ayurveda recommends getting six basic tastes on your plate at every meal: sweet, sour, salty, bitter, pungent and astringent.
  • Rice balances Vata and Pitta doshas. Kapha types, however, should avoid eating rice too often. Dry-roasting it before eating will reduce the heaviness.
  • Rice can be cooked in an amazing variety of ways. Combined with beans, nuts, vegetables, fruits, and milk (or simply boiled with a dash of ghee) It is wholesome and nutritious.

Rice and Ghee Recipe

Few pleasures on earth rival the taste of freshly cooked rice lightly flavored with ghee. Maharishi Ayurveda makes premium-quality ghee in a variety of flavors: among these, the garlic, fennel and basil flavored ghee work very well with rice. How to cook your rice with ghee: Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup rice
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp. Ghee

Rinse rice with water. Boil water. Add rice and Ghee, stir once, turn heat down to low and cover. Simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, until rice is fluffy and water is almost evaporated. Remove from heat and let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes. Put rice into serving dish. Lightly fluff with fork.

Another Option for the Recipe: Spicing Your Rice

Prepare rice by following the instructions above, but omit the Ghee. Heat Ghee to melting in a separate pan. It is done when a tiny drop of water sputters across the top of the Ghee. Put your recommended spice blend in the Ghee. Heat and stir until the spices release a sudden burst of aroma. Put into rice, mix gently and serve immediately.

Rice and Ghee Recipe courtesy of Vaidya Rama Kant Mishra