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Scientists caution people that the common way of cooking rice can lead to serious health risks.
Research revealed that cooking rice by boiling it leaves high levels of the toxic substance arsenic. Although it exists naturally in various types of food, arsenic is most common in rice than in any other food. Since rice plants grow under flooded surfaces, they easily absorb arsenic sealed in the soil.
A Consumer Reports study published in 2014 revealed that arsenic was present in every one of the 233 samples of rice products examined. The study also found that arsenic levels in the urine of those who consumed one serving of rice were higher by 44% than those who did not.
Exposure to arsenic can result in illnesses such as bladder cancer, lung cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. Problems in one’s growth and mental development are also an alarming effect of absorbing the chemical.
Queens University Belfast professor Andy Meharg tested three new methods of cooking rice to see if they could modify arsenic levels. The first method, which cooked one part rice in two parts water, left the highest arsenic levels. The second method, which cooked one part rice in five parts water, cut the level of arsenic in half as the excess water was drained and the rice was rinsed. The third method, in which the rice was soaked overnight, was found to display the highest reduction rate at 82%.