If you know how to make a mean pot of rice, it’s probably because you’re simply following the directions. Whether it’s what the package says or what your parents taught you to do, cooking one part rice with two parts water is pretty standard when it comes to achieving light, fluffy goodness. But you might want to rethink your strategy — for your own health.
According to research conducted two years ago in the U.K. by the Institute for Global Security, over half of rice-based products contain high levels of arsenic, a chemical which can lead to illnesses like diabetes, heart disease and cancer.
But it wasn’t until recently that Andy Meharg, a professor from Queen’s University Belfast, tested three different ways to cook rice and found which method was most successful at getting rid of arsenic. And surprisingly, the most popular way of cooking rice proved to be the most harmful.
Meharg first tested the tried-and-true ratio of two parts water to one part rice — almost barely any of the arsenic was boiled away.
For the second test, he used five parts water and one part rice, which cut the arsenic level by nearly half. We imagine it’d take forever to boil all that water away (and would still probably be left with a big bowl of mush).
In his third and final test, Meharg soaked the rice overnight and the levels of arsenic were reduced by 80 per cent.
We’re not thrilled that we’ll be eating arsenic no matter what, but getting rid of 80 per cent of the poison is certainly better than ingesting all of it.
If you no longer want to slowly poison yourself, why not try this recipe for simple soaked brown rice? You’ll swallow a lot less arsenic and it’ll be fluffier to boot. Why wouldn’t you?