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Cancer risk from arsenic: How much rice is just still healthy?


It is better not to put rice on the menu all the time

Rice is actually considered a healthy food, but the grains should not be on the menu too often. Because rice is often contaminated with arsenic. This can be particularly dangerous for young children.

Healthy rice

Rice is considered part of a balanced diet among health experts. It contains valuable protein, vitamins and minerals as well as important amino acids and fiber. In addition, the high potassium content ensures that the body is drained and detoxified. Still, the food should not be on the menu too often, experts warn. Because rice is often contaminated with arsenic.

Arsenic in food

Health experts have been warning of arsenic in our food for years. The dangerous substance has already been found in German beer.

Traces of arsenic can often be found in rice and rice products. This is indicated by the Bavarian Consumer Center.

Arsenic is often found in soils, groundwater and surface water and reaches the rice grains through the roots of the rice plant.

So-called inorganic arsenic is classified as a carcinogenic substance. Limit values ​​for inorganic arsenic in rice have been in force in the European Union since 2016.

When it comes to foods for toddlers and babies, such as rice porridge or rice waffles, producers must comply with particularly low maximum levels.

Children are particularly at risk

"A chronic intake of small amounts of inorganic arsenic compounds over a longer period of time can lead to skin changes, vascular and nerve damage, as well as promote cardiovascular diseases and have reproductive toxicity (harmful to the fruit)", explains the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR).

According to health experts, mild arsenic poisoning can lead to symptoms such as cramps, abdominal pain, nausea, diarrhea and kidney failure.

Children are particularly at risk, and they are often given rice cakes, rice porridge or rice milk that are excessively loaded. Experts therefore repeatedly point out that parents should only give their children such foods from time to time.

Proper preparation

But despite the potential health risk, it is not necessary to completely do without rice, says Heidrun Schubert, nutrition expert at the Bavarian Consumer Center.

Certain types or types of preparation reduce the risk.

"Since the element mainly accumulates in the outer layers of the grain of rice, brown rice and parboiled rice often contain higher amounts than white rice," says Schubert.

She recommends washing the rice thoroughly before cooking and boiling it in plenty of water.

A study by British scientists has also shown that rice soaked in water overnight contains less arsenic.

"Basically, rice-containing meals should alternate with rice-free meals," says Heidrun Schubert. (ad)

Author and source information


Video: Brown Rice Benefits and Side Effects (August 2020).