Gluten Free August 01, 2014

Gluten-free cereals – the rice

Gluten Free August 01, 2014

Gluten-free cereals – the rice

Rice is definitely gluten free food most consumed in the world.




The rice plant is native to south-east; Thanks to archaeological excavations, we are now able to trace its presence in eastern China and Thailand, 5,000 or 6,000 years ago. It is estimated that the rice is cultivated intensively for more than seven years. Even in regions of the Ganges, the rice was known and cultivated already three thousand years ago. The cultivation techniques oldest however, date back to the Chinese tradition.

In 1952 a Japanese called Matsuo wanted to study the history of rice starting from his genetic profile. From his studies it showed that Oryza Sativa was originated Java island about eight thousand years ago, but some theories date it back to an area of Cambodia. Besides these theories, archeology gives us some information certain: in China, about seven years ago, was consumed and cultivated rice. Other excavations and artefacts found in India, specifically in the state of Uttar Pradesh, it appears that around 1000 BC the people of those lands fed on rice. These assumptions are also confirmed by the ancient tradition of oriental cuisine based entirely on rice.

A Chinese emperor, who lived between 1662 and 1723 BC, called Kang Hi, had, among others, also the passion for agriculture and often strolled through the fields to observe cultivations, plants and nature to look to understand their secrets. One day he was struck by the fact that some ears of rice matured more rapidly than others. He watched more carefully, studied them with his staff, and finally succeeded in isolating a type of rice: the “Yu Mi” or “Imperial Rice”, an early variety and can mature within three months, before the cold of regions north of the Great Wall could compromise the harvest.

The same discovery was made in other parts of the world: in Italy, Hungary, Romania and in Russian regions was identified a rice that could be cultivated in areas where the weather did not allow the cultivation of traditional varieties.

Egyptians and Jews didn’t know rice and neither the Bible mentions it. Maybe Alexander the Great introduced it in Greece. In Italy it was probably introduced by the Arabs or perhaps by the Venetians, but you do not have definite information about it. In the western world rice begins to be used as food to the first century BC. During the Greek-Roman this cereal was considered as an oriental spice and use sparingly. From reliable documents that rice was among the goods that passed under the “Gate of the pepper” in Alexandria. Around 500 AD, we find the rice in several documents Ethiopians, Arabs, Syrians and Armenians who speak the cultivation of cereals.

From the ancient Romans and until the Middle Ages, in Europe rice keeps this characteristic of exotic spice, sometimes used to make infusions against stomach ache or, later, as an ingredient for cakes, a role that lasted until the early Middle Ages. in a book of 1300 – the “Book of spending accounts” of the Dukes of Savoy – is recorded an output of 13 imperial pound of “rice cake”. In an edict in 1340 he was ordained to the tax collectors in Milan to apply high taxes to the “spice coming from Asia via Greece”. During the Middle Ages it was cultivated in the botanical gardens of the Monastic Orders. It seems that the monks of the Abbey of Montecassino have cultivated and studied extensively.

Another document dated 1371 mentions the cereal among the “spices” as the “Rice overseas” or “Spanish Rice”. With the passage of time the rice can redeem himself. The occasion is perhaps provided by the situation that has arisen during the twelfth century, full of great famine, war and epidemics, where the need for a highly productive cereal able to feed many people became indispensable. In Europe rice cultivation begins to spread in the late fourteenth and early fifteenth century. To understand the importance and strength of this “new” cereal you must remember that in 1475 Gian Galeazzo Sforza, duke of Milan, gave dukes of Este of Ferrara, a lot of rice seeds, ensuring that they would become 12 sacks if well cultivated. This ratio of 1 to 12, at that time outstanding, made multiplying the area of ​​land used as a rice paddy. In some regions of Italy, where in the fifteenth century rice fields occupied 5,000 hectares, in the sixteenth century it extended to 50,000 hectares.

Even in 1567, the market in Antwerp, the rice was used as a bargaining chip. Only in 1690, rice arrived in the New World, brought by European settlers, began to be cultivated in the state of South Carolina. In 1839, a Jesuit, Father Cellari, managed to get out illegally from the Philippines with the seeds of 43 varieties of Asian rice These seeds were carefully studied and gave origin to the modern rice cultivation made of many commercialized varieties and each with its own characteristics. Even today in Vietnam, in the delta of the Mekong river, wild rice grows abundantly. This is collected by the local people with the boats and making use of small scythes tied to a long stick.

Currently the major Asian producers are China, India, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Thailand, Vietnam, Burma, Japan, the Philippines and Pakistan. Rice is grown in parts of Africa and in Europe is found in Italy, Spain, Russia, Portugal, Yugoslavia, Hungary, Romania, Greece and France. In the New World the cultivation is carried out in Brazil, the United States and Australia. It should be emphasized that the production of China, approximately one third of world production is for domestic consumption. 92% of world production takes place in Asia.





Rice is an ally of gut, connective tissue, cardiovascular system.

The main property of rice there is definitely its digestibility which is associated with the high absorption in the intestine nutrient content. The carbohydrate component of rice also presents a regulatory effect on the intestinal flora, so much so that the white rice is used as adjuvant in the therapy of disorders affecting the gastrointestinal apparatus.

Rice also has an essential amino acid, lysine, and good quality protein. As for the lipid component, it contains mainly essential fatty acids. It has very little sodium and potassium, and is therefore a food indicated in those suffering from hypertension.