As more people embrace veganism and other alternative lifestyles, many are experimenting with their food. In particular, different grains are making their ways to our plates from our past for their nutritional value e.g. wild rice. There are numerous health benefits of wild rice – a cultivar native to the Americans.
Many other grains such as farro, quinoa and chia have become popular among health enthusiasts lately.
Obijwe Indians and Floating Grains
To understand completely the health benefits of wild rice, a little background information is necessary.
Currently, almost all rice sold labeled as ‘wild’ is actually a farmed, cultivated variety that used to grow in the wild, floating on the lakes of North America.
Native Indians, especially from the Ojibwe people (Northern Minnesota) have been gathering, harvesting, drying and eating wild rice for centuries.
Every year to this day, from August to September the Ojibwe people harvest the highly nutritious grain by hand, on canoes.
The wild rice is then roasted and jigged to remove the outer inedible husk. The process is labor intensive, so no excess rice is harvested.
Traditional harvesting and processing methods are ecologically sustainable.
Before the colonization of the America by Europeans, Native Americans depended on wild rice for their nutritional needs as it helped them prevent various diseases.
This can attest to the correlation between ancient grains such as wild rice and better health.
An interesting fact about wild rice is that it is actually the seed of an aquatic grass, and merely resembles rice and is cooked in much the same way.
The protein content of wild rice is almost twice that of other rices, and a low calorie count – as far as high protein, low carb, low fat diets go, that is a perfect blend.
In layman’s terms this means that as humans we do not need other protein sources to have all the building blocks to fulfill our protein needs.
As you might have expected, wild rice is also high in fiber. Compare that to white rice, which is almost completely devoid of fiber.
Obviously, being fuller helps us avoid over consumption of food, and thus stay away from the leading killer in the United States – Obesity.
Wild rice is also gluten free, just like This is good news for those with gluten insensitivity who have been relying on white rice as their carbohydrate source.
Another nutritional plus: wild rice contains higher amounts of a variety of nutrients. Namely manganese, zinc, phosphorus and magnesium.
Our bodies need these nutrients for various purposes such as bone health, metabolism, immunity and sexual health among others.
Conclusion: Healthy but Tasty
As opposed to the blank canvas that white rice is, wild rice has a slightly grassy flavor and has a chewy texture. Also, the roasting process gives it a smoky tone, further enhancing it’s flavor.
It may be expensive, but this ancient grain is worth a try for both it’s nutritional and flavor profile.