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Common Method of Cooking Rice Can Leave Traces of Arsenic in Food, Scientists Warn

New experiments in methods for cooking rice suggest that if you do it the “normal” way, you may be setting yourself up for certain health problems, including heart disease, diabetes and cancer, the Independent reports. This means if you simply boil rice in a pan until the water is out, you need to change your ways: Let it soak overnight; wash and rinse it until the water is clear; then drain and boil it at a ratio of 5 parts water to 1 part rice.

Rice in one form or another is one of the most important staple foods in the world, and has been for possibly thousands of years. The main concern here, however, is that boiling rice without soaking it first exposes you to traces of arsenic, which contaminates rice when it’s grown with pesticides and other toxins.

There are more than 40,000 types of rice, including white, brown, black and wild varieties. Each has its own nutritional profile, benefits and points that invite discussion relating to how they’re grown, processed and prepared. Today, basmati rice from India, jasmine from Thailand and Arborio from Italy are growing in popularity. Koji, a type of fungus added to cooked rice, is also a rage.

Comparatively speaking, wild rice is more nutrient-dense, plus it has significantly fewer calories and carbohydrates than white rice. And while white rice is much more plentiful and available on supermarket shelves than brown, black or wild rice, eating it four or five times a week is linked to heightened type 2 diabetes risk.