Rice is the oldest known food – people started to eat it around 5000 BC. Today, the ingredient is extremely popular in Asia, which produces and consumes 90% of all rice in the world. However, in our time rice is said to be not so nutritious as it used to be. Is that the truth or mere gossip? Let’s get things straightened out now!
A recent research conducted by a popular scientific journal states that over the last century, global temperatures and carbon dioxide levels have raised significantly. The study says that these factors may cause the decrease of vitamin content as well as of the amount of protein and other micronutrients found in rice.
In Bangladesh, for example, three of every four calories are received from rice, which means that if the nutritional value of rice declines people literally start to underfeed. To check if the hypothesis is true, scientists chose several fields in China and Japan and grew different rice varieties there. One area was exposed to carbon dioxide particles and then the results have been analyzed.
The differences in nutrients depended on the differences in rice varieties. Rice grown in the areas exposed to big amounts of carbon dioxide lost 5 to 20 % of zinc and iron and up to 45% of B Vitamins including Vitamin B9 that is essential for fetal development.
Some people still say that the increased level of carbon dioxide increases the harvest, but it’s not completely true. While the yield, indeed, becomes bigger the amount of healthy nutrients doesn’t increase. The good news is that some rice varieties are more immune to such changes, which gives scientists an opportunity to make crops more resistant.