6th Grade - Health

LESSON PROBLEM: Nutrition: Which health conditions are helped by eating rice?


Rice is used as a mainstay in many cuisines, but did you also know that it is a food that is beneficial to your heath? Rice helps to lower cholesterol and aids in digestion. Additionally, people with a condition known as Celiac Sprue disease rely on rice to obtain the grain requirement in their diets. People with this disease are unable to eat foods made from grains that contain the protein gluten. This includes wheat, barley, rye and oats. Rice contains no gluten. People with allergies to dairy products can use rice products as substitutes.

Rice contains no cholesterol, therefore it can be used as part of a healthy diet to reduce cholesterol. Persons with high cholesterol levels have an increased risk of heart disease. In addition, brown rice contains a small amount of a compound called oryzanol that slows the production of cholesterol by the liver. Interestingly, this natural compound is very similar to chemical agents in cholesterol controlling medication.

Adding brown rice to the diet, in conjuction with other high fiber foods, is one way, to increase the amount of fiber in the diet. The consumption of fiber has been shown to keep the digestive system working properly.

White rice is a home remedy used by many parents to settle a child's upset stomach. The so-called BRAT diet, banana, rice, applesauce and toast, provides nutrition for an ill youngster.

Rice is an important food for people with Celiac Sprue disease. Those with Celiac Sprue disease cannot digest gluten, a protein found in most grains. In people who suffer from this disease, the gluten damages the villi of the small intestine and so nutrients cannot be absorbed. The cause of Celiac Sprue disease is unknown, but it has been found to occur within families. Patients with Celiac Sprue disease can eat rice and rice flour products without harm to their digestive systems since rice contains no gluten. Products made from wheat, barley, rye and oats contain gluten.

Rice is also an ideal food for persons who may have additional food allergies since it is non-allergenic. Some people are unable to digest dairy products because they do not have the enzyme lactase, that is required to break down the sugar in milk. This sugar is lactose, and people with this condition are diagnosed as lactose intolerant. A child may be born with a lactase deficiency or may develop it during adolescence. The condition may be temporary or permanent. Dairy substitutes, made from rice liquids, can be used in place of milk.


How does brown rice lower cholesterol levels in the bloodstream?

What is Celiac Sprue disease?


Some researchers believe that Celiac Sprue disease may be a genetic disorder. Using the Internet, find information that supports this theory. Write your
information in an essay.


Celiac Disease

Celiac Sprue Disease

The Facts and Importance of Fiber

About.com - Nutrition

The Healthy Fridge


  • mainstay
  • compound
  • digestive
  • gluten
  • protein
  • remedy
  • villi
  • fiber
  • cholesterol

Click here to play Rice Rampage!
How is Rice Grown:
Farming rice is hard work. Click here to learn more about the Stages of Farming Rice.
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