Diet & Nutrition

Dinner with a side of arsenic? How to cook rice without making yourself sick

Trust us, this is a (super-simple) life skill you'll want to commit to memory, stat.

By Ellie McDonald

If, like us, can’t get enough of any fried-rice variation or a flavour-packed nasi goreng (guilty!), then you might want to think twice about how you cook each dish’s key ingredient: rice.

Because, as suggested by researchers, you could be at risk of arsenic poisoning.

Yes, we’re serious.

Rice-contamination expert, Professor Andy Meharg of Queens University Belfast, explains that if you’re not using plenty of water to cook your rice, then you’re, ultimately, harming your health (being exposed to arsenic in high quantities has been linked to cancer, diabetes and, in some cases, heart disease).

This is because when rice is growing in the soil, it is more prone to pesticide and toxin exposure than other plants because of its ability to quickly absorb water.

This is how you cook it safely

According to Professor Meharg, who, along with a team of researchers cooked rice three different ways to find the best solution, soaking rice the night before you want to cook it then rinsing it could cut arsenic levels by up to 80 per cent.

Not only that, but Professor Meharg also measured arsenic levels in rice by comparing the first method of cooking rice with two parts water and one part rice with the second method of five parts water and one part rice (the excess water drained and the rice rinsed).

The second method managed to cut arsenic levels in half.

Want to test your new culinary, rice-cooking skills? Visit Food To Love for more healthy and delicious rice-based recipes.