Although it doesn’t enjoy the same popularity and status in the Western World as it does in other countries, rice is probably the most important grain in the world, and when it comes to the Mediterranean diet, the spotlight is on basmati rice. To get an idea of why this type of rice has a lot of loyal fans around the world, let’s look at the origins of basmati rice and the many benefits that come with it.
If you like rice in your meals and are looking to adopt a healthier diet, this article on basmati rice might convince you to give the Mediterranean diet a shot.
Origins of Basmati Rice: A Short History
Sometimes referred to as “popcorn rice” because of its distinct aroma, basmati rice is generally chosen for its flavor, fragrance, and slender shape. What’s with the name? “Basmati” is in fact a Sanskrit word that means “perfumed one” or “fragrant.”
There are many hybrid varieties of basmati rice nowadays, like Texmati that is created and developed in Texas, but true basmati rice is produced in Pakistan and India.
India is the world’s second-largest producer of rice, which totally makes sense since the country is also its second-largest global consumer. Long-grained basmati is one of the most popular rice varieties grown and consumed in India, and it has generally been grown in the foothills of the Himalayas for millennia. However, the best kind of basmati rice can be found in what is called the “rice bowl of India”—the old Karnal district.
As such, basmati is classified as a protected product of the region, much like camembert cheese in the Normandy region of France or Scotch whisky in Scotland.
For basmati rice to develop its enticing aroma and unique taste, it has to be aged for long periods of time. Most producers age their basmati rice for nine months, but premium brands can go as long as 18 months or longer. Aside from its status as a protected product, this aging process is another reason why basmati rice is more expensive than most other rice varieties available today.
Benefits of Basmati Rice
Out of the many grains on the market, rice is the most easily digested, so it’s no wonder why rice cereal is often the first solid food given to babies. Rice is also a good choice for people who are gluten-intolerant or those who are following a restricted diet.
Around 4,000 types of rice exist nowadays, but basmati rice is obviously the prime choice for Mediterranean diet and cuisine. Here are some of the benefits that basmati rice offers and which also explain why it’s central to most healthy diets.
- High nutritional value
- Facilitates fat oxidation
- Great source of fiber and energy
- Helps maintain brain functions
- Lowers blood pressure
Be sure to add a good amount of basmati rice to your daily diet to reap its full range of health benefits.
Basmati Rice is a delicious and healthy grain option for you if you’re into the Mediterranean diet, but don’t take our word for it—drop by Hummus Bowls today and try it in your Hum Bowl! We have branches in Spring Valley, Summerlin, and Henderson and there’s always something healthy for everyone on our menu, be it for lunch or dinner.