In a recent study published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, researchers led by Jiang, et al, revealed that arsenic can increase the risk for developing hypertension (high blood pressure). The study looked at people in Bangladesh whose water supply (wells) has been found to be contaminated with arsenic. You may ask how that would affect people in the rest of the world. Arsenic in the environment is almost universal, contaminating our water supply and our food chain.
One of the main sources of arsenic in our diet is through the consumption of rice. It is estimated that rice will soak in up to 10 times the arsenic that other grains will. Also, a number of strains have been bred to thrive in high arsenic fields. All of this should make people reduce the amount of rice in their diets.
Removing or reducing rice is a difficult dietary change. If that is not an option, there are things you can do to lower the amount of arsenic in rice. The most important thing you can do is select a strain that is grown in low arsenic areas such as California. Rice grown in Asia seems to be much higher in arsenic content. The other thing you need to do is to rinse your rice, dispose of the water and then cook it. While it doesn’t eliminate the heavy metal, it does reduce it by a significant amount.
Children should be the one group that needs to greatly reduce their rice intake as they, along with the elderly are at greatest risk for detrimental health outcomes due to arsenic exposure. Rice milk is to be avoided at all costs as it has higher levels of arsenic than is allowable in drinking water.
If you want to learn more about this go to the Environmental Working Groups page on the subject by clicking here.