Fermented Rice Water may Remedy Digestive Disorders, Study Finds

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Researchers at Srimad Andavan Arts & Science College, Trichy, in India have found that consuming fermented rice water offers numerous digestive health benefits, making it a valuable addition to a healthy lifestyle.

The study, led by Koperuncholan M. and colleagues, highlights that the probiotics, which are richly found in fermented rice water, are beneficial bacteria that support gut health. These probiotics, including strains such as Lactobacillus, Pediococcus, and Leuconostoc, enhance digestion and nutrient absorption, making fermented rice water a suggested remedy for digestive disorders such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and diarrhoea.

The presence of lactic acid bacteria in fermented rice helps maintain a balanced gut flora, promoting overall gastrointestinal health.

The study affirms that the fermentation process significantly enhances the bioavailability of essential nutrients in rice. For example, the iron content in rice increases dramatically after fermentation, from 3.4 mg to 73.91 mg per 100 grams. Additionally, the availability of other micronutrients such as potassium, calcium, and vitamins B6 and B12 is improved. By degrading anti-nutritional factors, fermentation allows for better absorption of these nutrients, making fermented rice water a nutrient-dense food.

Additionally, the presence of short-chain fatty acids, produced during fermentation, supports a healthy gastrointestinal tract lining, enhancing overall digestive health. Fermented rice water can help manage lactose intolerance. The 2022 research published in the International Journal of Multidisciplinary Research and Growth Evaluation asserts that the fermentation process breaks down lactose, making it easier to digest for individuals who are lactose intolerant. This allows those with lactose intolerance to benefit from the nutrients in rice without experiencing the discomfort typically associated with dairy products.

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Fermented rice water is not only beneficial for digestive health but also offers numerous other health advantages, as listed below;

  • Rich in vitamins and minerals

Fermented rice water is rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, particularly vitamins B and E, and minerals like magnesium and potassium, which are enhanced during the fermentation process. These nutrients contribute to overall health and well-being.

 

  • Improves skin health

Fermented rice water has been noted to improve skin elasticity, reduce signs of ageing, and provide hydration due to its antioxidant and vitamin content. The antioxidants help neutralise free radicals, reducing oxidative stress on the skin. Additionally, fermented rice water has anti-inflammatory properties, which can benefit conditions like acne and eczema. The lactic acid in fermented rice water also acts as a gentle exfoliant, promoting smoother and brighter skin.

  • May aid in the management of blood sugar levels
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Fermented rice water also contains bioactive compounds that can help manage blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of atherosclerosis. These effects make it beneficial for individuals with diabetes and those looking to improve their cardiovascular health.

  • Serves as a natural hair conditioner

Moreover, fermented rice water can be used as a natural hair conditioner. The antioxidants and vitamins present in fermented rice water can enhance hair strength and shine. Regular use of fermented rice water can lead to healthier skin and hair.

  • May improve mood and mental health

The probiotics in fermented rice water positively influence gut-brain interactions, helping to reduce anxiety and depression. Studies have shown that these probiotics can improve mood and mental health by promoting a healthy gut microbiome.

The study provides a straightforward method for preparing fermented rice water at home:

  1. Rinse a cup of rice thoroughly to remove any impurities.
  2. Soak the rinsed rice in two to three cups of water for 30 minutes.
  3. After soaking, drain the rice and collect the water in a clean container.
  4. Cover the container and leave it at room temperature for 24–48 hours to allow fermentation.
  5. After fermentation, store the fermented rice water in the refrigerator to slow down the fermentation process and maintain its freshness.
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This preparation method ensures that the rice water develops beneficial probiotics and retains its nutritional content. Fermented rice water can be stored in the refrigerator for up to one week. Refrigeration slows down the fermentation process, helping to maintain the freshness and efficacy of the probiotics. It is recommended to consume the fermented rice water within this time frame for optimal health benefits.

The study suggests that fermented rice water is generally safe for consumption and does not have notable side effects when consumed in moderate amounts. However, as with any probiotic-rich food, individuals may experience mild digestive changes initially, such as increased gas or bloating, as their bodies adjust to the probiotics. It is advisable to start with small amounts and gradually increase your intake to avoid any potential digestive discomfort.

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