Various grains of rice (Source:www.cnn.com)

Rice is a staple food for the people from Asia and is consumed by many people all over the world. Together with Wheat, Maize and Soybeans, Rice is one of the most important food crops in the world.

Rice is part of the Gramineae family and the Oryzae genera. There are 20 different species that comprise this genera but only two of which are cultivated: Oryza sativa L. (‘Asian rice’) and Oryza glaberrima Steud. (‘African rice’).  Of the two aforementioned rice genera, it is O. sativa which is cultivated more because of its higher yield potential.

In terms of structure, the rice plant has round and hollow stems, flat leaves, and panicles at the top of the plant. It is also a very flexible/adaptable plant that grows well under both flooded and rain fed conditions.

Parts of rice (Source: https://sites.google.com/site/cpsc116spring2015cropteamrice/biology-of-rice)

When prepared correctly and with the right side-dishes, rice can prove to be a valuable part of a meal. But did you know that over the years, different functions and purposes for rice have been discovered. Rice is present in breakfast cereals, frozen and baby food and soups, but also breweries use rice to make beer.

In Japan, it is used to make rice wine or sake. When used correctly, rice can be used to clean coffee grinders, make hot compress, save wet electronics, prevent tools from rusting, clean glass bottles and vases, and even reduce tarnish from silver.

Aside from these household functions, rice provides many health benefits! To sum up a few: it is a great source of energy, cholesterol-free, regulates blood pressure, helps in cancer prevention, contributes to skin care, can help prevent Alzheimer’s disease, has diuretic and digestive qualities, is rich in vitamins, promotes cardiovascular health, and relieves chronic constipation.  O. sativa is an all-time, all-star stellar crop! (Pauline Amelinckx)


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