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Rice (Oryza Sativa)
The most important cereal grain in the world; an aquatic grass-species grown in paddy fields in hot moist climates.
Rice is estimated to be the staple food of one-third of the worlds population but comes in many varieties. Most of the major ones are available to us here, and each has its own uses.
It contains a valuable 8-9% protein, and when brown, or unhusked, has B vitamins, most of which are lost in husking and polishing - most of the rice served in the Western world is, however, sold in polished form.
In Britain around 80% of households regularly eat rice, and consumption increased by 16% between 1996 and 2001.
Brown rice is a rich source of the B vitamins, vitamins E, fibre and unsaturated fatty acids, but unfortunately refining removes most of these nutrients.
Rice is the least allergenic of the cereal grains and is well tolerated even by infants and people with digestive disorders. It can also be used by coeliacs because it doesn't contain gluten.