A new study suggests that before eating rice it should be soaked overnight to reduce the chances of increase in heart disease, diabetes and cancer. According to researchers from the Queens University Belfast in England, the common method of cooking rice – simply boiling it in a pan until the water has steamed out – can expose those who eat it to traces of the poison arsenic, which contaminates rice while it is growing as a result of industrial toxins and pesticides. This chemical has been linked to a range of health problems including heart disease, diabetes and cancer, as well as development problems..
While it is generally believed that traces of arsenic are expelled when the rice is cooked, it has now been claimed this only takes place when the rice is soaked overnight. For the research, Andy Meharg from the university tested three different ways of cooking rice. In the first, he used a ratio of two parts of water to one part of rice, where the water was ‘steamed out’ during cooking. In the second, with five parts of water to one part of rice, with the excess water washed off, levels of arsenic were almost halved. And in the third method, where the rice was soaked overnight, levels of the toxin were reduced by 80 per cent.