Sticky Rice: Nutrition & Health Benefits

Sticky rice is a staple cereal grain in many Asian countries, but it has a surprisingly large number of health benefits and is increasingly being found in different regions around the world.

What is Sticky Rice?

More formally known as glutinous rice, sticky rice is a particular type of rice that is grown in certain Southeastern Asian countries. The rice grains themselves are uniquely opaque, and they take on a very sticky consistency when cooked. This makes the rice very popular as sushi rice and for other dishes that are traditionally eaten with chopsticks. Although the name glutinous rice makes many people think it contains gluten, this is not the case; the name stems from the glue-like consistency that this rice takes on when it is cooked.

Having been grown for more than 2,000 years in certain parts of Asia, namely China, this type of rice has a very low level of amylose, but a high level of amylopectin, the component that gives the rice its “sticky” texture. Widely used in different ways throughout Asia, it is considered a staple part of diets in Bangladesh, China, Burma, Indonesia, and the Philippines, among others.

Sticky Rice Nutrition

This form of rice does have a unique nutritional profile that includes high levels of protein, as well as roughly 170 calories per cup of cooked rice. There are also various B vitamins, selenium, zinc, magnesium, copper, and phosphorous. This rice does contain fiber, but not as much as is found in brown rice and other forms of white rice. There is almost no fat or cholesterol of any kind in this rice.

Sticky Rice Benefits

The health benefits of sticky rice include its ability to regulate diabetes, prevent chronic diseases, reduce inflammation, and optimize digestion, among others.

Chronic Disease

Selenium and various other vitamins and minerals in sticky rice take on antioxidant properties in the body, which can lower your risk of chronic diseases and reduce oxidative stress in the body.

Diabetes

The decent amount of fiber in sticky rice can help to lower your risk of diabetes, as the fiber is able to regulate the release of insulin and glucose into the body.

Inflammation

The copper, zinc, and B vitamins in this form of rice are known to boost the strength of the immune system, which can reduce unnecessary inflammation and reduce strain on your system.

Bone Density

With a variety of essential minerals in sticky rice, this popular variety can help to build strong bones and lower your risk of osteoporosis as you age.

Heart Health

With no fat or cholesterol to speak of, sticky rice is a wise choice for those with heart conditions, high blood pressure, or those struggling with their weight.

Metabolism

Many of the B vitamins found in sticky rice are directly tied to the metabolism of the body, including enzyme creation, hormonal balance, and other essential metabolic processes.

How to Make Sticky Rice?

Many people choose to make their own sticky rice at home, which is surprisingly simple if you follow some basic steps.

  • Step 1 – Choose a bag of long-grain sticky rice from the store or market.
  • Step 2 – Add 2 cups of rice to 4 cups of water in a pot; allow this to soak (unheated) for 3 hours.
  • Step 3 – Add 1/2 teaspoon of salt and place the pot over high heat and bring to a boil.
  • Step 4 – Reduce heat to medium and continue cooking for 10 minutes, allowing some steam to vent.
  • Step 5 – Do not stir while the rice is cooking.
  • Step 6 – Continue cooking until all the water has been absorbed.
  • Step 7 – Serve hot (and sticky!).
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