5 Reasons Why Day-Old Rice Is Healthier Than Fresh Rice

There’s a reason leftover rice remains a favourite with so many foodies. Besides its utility, it is also healthier! Experts all over the world have agreed that one-day-old rice has less of a glycemic load and leads to lesser sugar spikes. This has to do with starch formation and also with our natural digestion habits. 

It’s important to remember that the glycemic index (GI) of white rice, which measures how quickly a food raises blood sugar levels, is relatively high. When white rice is consumed, its carbohydrates are quickly broken down into glucose and absorbed into the bloodstream, leading to a rapid increase in blood sugar levels.

A recent study by the National Library of Medicine revealed that people who consume resistant starch supplements each day are less likely to develop cancer in the upper gastrointestinal tract, such as in the stomach or pancreas.

White rice is a carbohydrate-rich product and unlike brown rice or whole grains, white rice contains little to no fibre which can help slow down the absorption of glucose into the bloodstream. Without fiber to slow digestion, the carbohydrates in white rice are metabolized more quickly, leading to a sharp rise in blood sugar levels. 

But when you refrigerate rice, some of the moisture in the rice evaporates, leading to a denser texture and lesser caloric content. This is the main reason why some experts recommend day-old white rice, if you need to have rice at all. Let’s do a deep dive.

Resistant Starch Formation

One potential benefit of consuming day-old rice is the formation of resistant starch. When cooked rice is left to cool, the starches undergo a process called retrogradation, where some of the starch molecules reorganize into a structure that is more resistant to digestion. This resistant starch behaves more like fiber in the digestive system, promoting gut health and potentially contributing to feelings of fullness, which may aid in weight management and blood sugar regulation.

Lower Glycemic Index

Resistant starch, formed during the cooling process of rice, can also lead to a lower glycemic index (GI). Foods with a lower GI are digested more slowly, causing a gradual rise in blood sugar levels compared to foods with a higher GI. Consuming lower GI foods may help maintain more stable energy levels, reduce the risk of insulin resistance, and improve overall blood sugar control, which is particularly great for anyone who has diabetes or those watching their carbohydrate intake.

Reduced Caloric Content

Leftover rice that has been refrigerated overnight may undergo some changes in its nutritional composition. During refrigeration, some of the moisture in the rice evaporates, leading to a denser texture and potentially reducing its overall caloric content per serving. While the difference in calorie count may be minor, every calorie saved can contribute to a healthier diet, especially for if you’re trying to manage your weight or reduce calorie intake.

Enhanced Digestibility

For some individuals, particularly those with sensitive digestive systems or gastrointestinal issues, consuming day-old rice may be easier on the stomach compared to freshly cooked rice. The cooling and reheating process can break down complex carbohydrates further, making them easier to digest and reducing the likelihood of gastrointestinal discomfort, such as bloating or gas, that can sometimes accompany the consumption of freshly cooked rice.

Potential Reduction in Antinutrients

Antinutrients are compounds found in certain foods that can interfere with the absorption of nutrients in the body. While rice is not particularly high in antinutrients compared to some other grains and legumes, the process of cooking and cooling rice may help reduce levels of certain antinutrients, such as phytic acid. Lower levels of antinutrients can improve the bioavailability of essential minerals like iron, zinc, and calcium from rice, promoting better overall nutrient absorption and utilisation.