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Beauty Is Wellness: Rethinking Rice

by Jolene Hart


Welcome to Beauty Is Wellness, a column about the link between nutrition, lifestyle and beauty based on my health coaching practice of the same name. I’m thrilled to share information about my favorite beauty foods, original recipes for beautiful skin, hair and nails and nutritional tips for beautifying from the inside out in the months to come. If you have specific questions about the beauty and nutrition connection that you’d like to have answered in this column, contact me at jolene@beautyiswellness.com.

With all of the exotic grains lining grocery store shelves, it’s hard to get excited by plain old rice. But if you haven’t looked at rice offerings lately, you’re missing out on both beauty nutrition and an easy, affordable staple for your beauty pantry. When it comes to rice, there’s a little something for every taste (there are over 100,000 varieties). Take a look at what these rice varieties have to offer (hint: there are a few that surpass the rest when it comes to beauty benefits), and get cooking for beauty.

Brown Rice. This type of rice comes in a few different varieties; you can find it in short, medium or long grains, or as brown basmati or brown jasmine, for example. Brown rice of any type has the germ and bran intact, and therefore contains more protein, minerals (like calming magnesium) and fiber than white rice.

White Rice. The germ and the bran—the most nutritious parts of rice—have been removed from white rice, so it has less fiber and a higher glycemic index.

Basmati Rice. This rice has a unique aroma, an amped-up nutritional profile, and a medium glycemic index. Choose brown basmati varieties and you’ll be making a better choice for beauty, since more fiber and nutrients are retained.

Jasmine Rice. Another uniquely aromatic type of rice (it smells both nutty and floral at once), Jasmine rice usually originates in Thailand and can be purchased as both brown or white varieties, brown being more nutrient-dense.

Black Rice. This inky-colored rice (sometimes called purple rice) has been dubbed a new superfood for its high content of antioxidants, both water- and fat-soluble, and its vitamin E. The antioxidants in black rice, found in the dark bran of the rice kernel, are anthocyanins, the same compounds that offer major anti-aging protection in foods like blueberries and acai. According to a CNN report on black rice, one spoonful of black rice hull, or ten spoonfuls of cooked black rice, has the same level of anthocyanins as a spoonful of blueberries. Want to make it tonight? Try my anti-aging recipe for Sweet Curried Black Rice, below.

Wild Rice. Protein-rich wild rice is a grass, not a grain! It’s one of your best choices for beauty, since it contains omega-3s and minerals like iron and manganese that are essential for healthy skin, hair and nails. Here’s my recipe for Wild Rice Detox Salad.

Red Rice.This pretty rice grain is high in protein, B vitamins, fiber and antioxidants, like its cousin black rice. The nutritional profile of red rice makes it a great choice for beauty— and it takes on a pretty pink color on your plate.

Sweet Curried Black Rice

Serve this easy, antioxidant-rich side dish as a companion to grilled veggies this summer.
Serves 4

2 cups water
1 cup black rice, rinsed and drained
2 cups organic grape tomatoes
3 tbsp shelled hemp seeds
1/4 cup, plus 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
4 tsp rice vinegar
2 tsp mirin
2 tsp raw honey
1/2 tsp curry powder
2 cups organic grape tomatoes, halved
3 tbsp shelled hemp seeds

In a medium pot, bring water to a boil. Add rice, reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Drain any remaining water and leave rice uncovered to cool.

To prepare the dressing, mix olive oil, vinegar, mirin, honey and curry powder in a small jar. Shake well to combine and toss dressing with cooled rice. Stir in tomatoes and 2 tbsp hemp seeds. Top with remaining hemp seeds and serve.

Connect with Jolene @JoleneHart

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