Rice and potatoes are among the most commonly consumed staple foods in the world, notes the University of Illinois. They both provide energy to fuel your active lifestyle, and work well as a base for a variety of dishes. Cold rice and potatoes offer a number of advantages because they contain resistant starch, a specialized carbohydrate, and they also benefit your health because of their mineral content.
Resistant Starch and Digestive Health
The process of cooking and then cooling potatoes and rice leads to the formation of resistant starch, a type of dietary fiber. Like other types of fiber, resistant starch helps prevent constipation, according to a study published in "Preventative and Therapeutic Medicine" in 2013. An additional study, published in the May 2012 issue of the "Journal of Nutrition" found that resistant starches also prevent DNA damage in colon cells. Because DNA damage contributes to cancer development, consuming resistant starch might offer protection against colorectal cancer.
Other Benefits of Resistant Starch
The resistant starch in cold rice and potatoes offers a number of other health advantages. One study, published in the "British Journal of Nutrition" in 2010 found that rice containing resistant starch aids in blood sugar regulation after a meal. In addition, an animal study published in the "Journal of Oleo Science" in 2008 found that resistant starch from potatoes helps lower blood triglyceride levels. Because high triglycerides increase the risk of heart disease, the beneficial resistant starch in potatoes might offer cardiovascular benefits.
In addition to their resistant starch content, cold potatoes and rice contain minerals that benefit your health. Rice -- especially brown rice -- serves as an excellent source of selenium, and each serving provides 35 percent of the selenium you need each day, recommended by the Institute of Medicine. Potatoes boost your potassium intake, with each cup of cooked potatoes providing 13 percent of your daily potassium requirement. The selenium in cold rice boosts your metabolism by supporting thyroid function, while potassium benefits your cardiovascular health and lowers blood pressure.
Cold potatoes and rice can taste bland served on their own, so combine them with nutrient-packed ingredients to make healthy meals. Use cold brown rice as a bed for chilled steamed vegetables, or toss a handful of rice onto your favorite green salad. Combine cold brown rice, your favorite chopped raw vegetables and a lemon juice and Dijon mustard vinaigrette for a healthful salad. Lightly coat cold potatoes with olive oil, lemon juice and fresh chopped dill for a nutritious side dish, or combine them with eggs, green onion, celery and Greek yogurt for a healthful potato salad.
- University of Illinois Extension: Potato
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Potatoes, Boiled, Cooked in Skin, Flesh, Without Salt
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Rice, Brown, Long-Grain, Cooked
- Linus Pauling Institute: Fiber
- Kansas State University: Starches and Insect Control
- Experimental and Therapeutic Medicine: Preventive Effect of Resistant Starch on Activated Carbon-Induced Constipation in Mice
- Journal of Nutrition: Resistant Starches Protect Against Colonic DNA Damage and Alter Microbiota and Gene Expression in Rats Fed a Western Diet
- British Journal of Nutrition: Postprandial Glycaemic and Insulinaemic Responses to GM-Resistant Starch-Enriched Rice and the Production of Fermentation-Related H2 in Healthy Chinese Adults
- MayoClinic.com: Triglycerides: Why Do They Matter?
- Journal of Oleo Science: Ingestion of Gelatinized Potato Starch Containing a High Level of Phosphorus Decreases Serum and Liver Lipids in Rats
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