Welcome to the third part of the Superhuman Food Pyramid series. Various types of grains and legumes or non-vegetable sources of carbohydrates will be explored. Today’s article will focus on the health benefits and practical uses of wild rice.
While it is distantly related to the staple food consumed in Asia and Africa, wild rice is actually classified as grass that happen to produce edible grains. Three of the four known species are native to North America and has long been harvested by the region’s indigenous peoples. The fourth is native to China where it is now more common to consume the stem as a vegetable instead of the grain.
Wild rice is semi-aquatic and grows in the shallows of lakes and slow rivers. The seeds germinate in the mud under water and then the stalks eventually rise above the surface. The traditional way of harvesting wild rice involved carefully navigating wetlands with a canoe and using sticks or “knockers” to thresh the grains into the boat. Now cultivation in paddy fields is more common.
Among other whole grains, wild rice is considered to be exceptionally nutritious. Keep reading to find out the benefits of wild rice and how it can help you Become Superhuman (and be sure to also check out recommended soak times for beans, grains, legumes, nuts and rice).
Wild Rice Benefits:
One cup (around 164 grams) of cooked wild rice can provide helpful amounts of B vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber, protein and complex carbohydrates.
Among the B vitamins, niacin, pantothenic acid and folate are the most significant in wild rice as their amounts in the said serving fulfill 11% of your body’s daily need for these nutrients. All B vitamins play various important roles in metabolizing food and helping the body use the nutrients. Pantothenic acid for example is needed in the oxidation of fatty acids and carbohydrates while folate is necessary for normal cell division.
For minerals, the amount of manganese in one cup of wild rice satisfies 23% of your daily requirement. Only trace quantities of this mineral may be needed but it is still important. For one thing, manganese is part of an antioxidant compound your body creates called superoxide dismutase.
Wild rice is considered to have a good protein quality profile as it provides all the essential amino acids with only a slightly low amount of lysine. One more advantage is that, just like actual rice, there are no traces of gluten in wild rice. This makes it a safe alternative for those allergic to wheat. There are a total of 6.5 grams of protein in one cup of cooked wild rice.
This whole grain is not widely consumed and has only gained popularity in the later part of the 20th century. Fortunately research into its nutritional value is growing. There is one study for example that has looked into the antioxidant properties of wild rice and has found it has 30 times more antioxidant activity than white rice. Another initial animal study showed how wild rice was able to lower cholesterol and oxidative stress in the test subjects even after being fed with a high fat diet.
Wild Rice Practical Uses:
As with actual rice, wild rice can be steamed or boiled. But the procedures will take longer and more water per cup of wild rice is necessary to make sure the rice is tender enough. 1 cup of raw wild rice will typically yield 3-4 cups after cooking.
The most convenient way to go about steaming rice is to use a rice cooker as it works like a toaster – the switch pops up when the rice is done. In this manner all you have to worry about is applying the right water-raw rice ratio.
- Rinse the wild rice in cold water. You can do this directly in the pot or use a large enough strainer.
- The ratio for steaming is 3 cups water per 1 cup wild rice with ½ teaspoon of salt.
- Put all these in the rice cooker pot, place the pot inside the cooker, plug the appliance and depress the switch. This will pop up when much of the water has been absorbed and evaporated.
With boiling, you’re going for a moister or more porridge-like result. Thus you will have to apply 6 cups water per 1 cup of wild rice and 1 teaspoon of salt. It is better to accomplish this with a typical pot and stove as you will need to lower the heat after bringing the rice to an initial boil, a task you can’t do on an automatic rice cooker. The whole procedure will likely take about 45-50 minutes.
In the next post, I’ll tell you the benefits of brown or white rice in your quest to Become Superhuman.
In the meantime, if you care to jump ahead, here is a complete listing of the grains and legumes on Superhuman Food Pyramid:
• GMO Corn
• Soy Nuts
If you have questions, comments or feedback about the benefits of wild rice, the Superhuman Food Pyramid, this website, or other aspects of Becoming Superhuman, then leave your thoughts below, as well as any tips you have on the benefits of wild rice.