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A Simple Way to Maximize Arsenic Removal While Cooking Rice


A recent study funded by the UK Science and Technology Facilities Council indicates that replacing cooking water part way through the process of cooking rice decreases naturally occurring trace arsenic in brown rice by over 50 percent and in white rice by 74 percent.

Here's how for 1 cup of uncooked brown rice:

1.  Bring 2 cups of water to a boil.

2.  Add 1 cup of washed uncooked rice and boil on low heat for 5 minutes.

3.  Discard most or all of the cooking water which may have trace amounts of naturally occurring arsenic.

4.  Add 2 fresh cups of water and bring to a boil. Use just 1 cup of water for white rice - for some varieties of rice, you might only need a half cup of fresh water to produce desired consistency of rice.

5.  Allow rice to cook on low heat with a lid on until water is fully absorbed and rice is ready to eat.

Please consider sharing this information with family and friends.

Link to study: Improved rice cooking approach to maximise arsenic removal while preserving nutrient elements.

If the method suggested above is too much of a burden or if you prefer to use a rice cooker, you can always wash and rinse your rice several times before cooking, which also seems to be effective in reducing trace arsenic that might be present in rice.

Related Post:

How to Make Perfectly Steamed Rice - Korean and Japanese Style


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Dr. Kim, would soaking rice before cooking and discarding the soak water not do pretty much the same thing?

Yes, Claire, though I think the best approach is to wash and rinse rice several times before cooking. Soaking is always helpful. - Ben

thank you......but pre-soaking grains, beans, nuts, seeds, reduces phytic acid and starts the enzyme/sprout process......

For sure, Rachel. Washing and rinsing several times plus soaking for a few hours before cooking are all beneficial measures. Thanks for sharing. - Ben

Can you recommend cooking instructions for using a rice cooker (vs stovetop) to help reduce arsenic?

For those who found the suggested cooking technique to be too time-consuming, alternatively, I can recommend washing uncooked rice a good 6 to 7 times before cooking, as thorough rinsing is likely almost as effective in removing trace arsenic if present.  

You can also soak rice for a few hours before rinsing, which should also help remove impurities and ensure that phytates are not present to interfere with mineral absorption within your small intestine.

After rinsing as described above, you can cook as you normally do in a rice cooker.

These days, I've been doing the first 3 rinses with hot water and finishing off with 3-4 more rinses with cold water - the goal is to see the water run relatively clear when poured off.

For those who missed my video on rinsing rice with a bowl made for this purpose:

Dr. Kim, just the process of cooking rice removes phytates. The heat kills off most of them. So there's really no cause for alarm. The same applies to beans. The majority of phytates are killed during the cooking process.