Two recent studies from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Consumer Reports confirmed potentially dangerous levels of cancer-causing arsenic in rice and rice products. Arsenic is found in soil and groundwater, and rice has been shown to naturally soak it up and store it more than other types of grains, fruits and vegetables do. Considering that people eat the equivalent of about 2 cups of cooked rice a week, according to the Centers for Disease Control, our risk of arsenic exposure is pretty high. The FDA stops short of recommending limiting rice consumption but suggests including alternative grains in our diet.
Microchange: Try quinoa, barley, polenta, couscous and bulgur wheat, as well as that Indian recipe you stuck on your fridge months ago (aromatic rices like basmati and jasmine showed about half to one-eighth the level of arsenic as rice grown in the southern United States). When you do eat brown rice, be sure to treat it like pasta and rinse it in plenty of water.