Have you ever tasted our traditional rice? Do you know that Sri Lanka is home to more than 2000 traditional rice varieties and that our ancestors mainly fed only on these native varieties? Sri Lankans are strong people and never experienced diabetes, blood pressure and heart attacks and other noncommunicable diseases because of their healthy environment, dietary habits, and lifestyle. With time our health has deteriorated mainly due to the consumption of unhealthy diets. Because of these developments, unfortunately, we are deliberately losing most of our valuable food varieties which have nutritional and medicinal values. According to statistics, the extent of the traditional rice in our country is nearly 0.83 % of the total cultivated area of rice.
According to historical evidence, traditional rice varieties were organically grown which relied on eco-friendly techniques such as crop rotation, green manure, compost, biological pest control and ancient irrigation systems for a sustained water supply. Those methods have preserved the nutritional values and environmental sustainability. Today there are a few popular traditional rice varieties like Suwendel, Sudu Heenati, Kalu Heenati, Pachchaperumal, Pokkali, Gurusinghe wee, Kahawanu, Sudu murunga, Unakola samba, Nilkanda, Ma wee and Kurulu thuda. Let’s go over some health benefits of these varieties
1. Suwendel- Contains more carbohydrate, vitamin, fat and micronutrients. This variety is especially recommended for hard working people. It promotes fair and glowing skin, improves the functioning of the excretory system, enhances the male sexual potency and helps control diabetes, ulcers, and constipation. It reduces high blood pressure while inducing the nerve cells connected to the eyes and the brain.
2. Rathel – Suitable to control cirrhosis, virus fever, skin rashes, diabetes, diseases in the urinary system and prevents the formation of stones in the urinary system.
3. Pachchaperumal – Contains more proteins, vitamins, micronutrients and the grain is rich in antioxidant agents. It helps to cool the body, increases the production of insulin and reduces the production of thyroxin in the body, aids the proper function of excretory system and production of some enzymes and hormones which are needed for the development of red blood cells. In addition, it is good for diabetes and cardiovascular diseases like high blood pressure.
4. Kalu heenati – Rich in minerals and micronutrients such as iron and zinc and recommended for lactating mothers for daily consumption due to its nutritional value. It enhances immunity, physical strength and male sexual potency. And also its high fiber content helps regulate bowel movement (for example if there is constipation). Moreover, in ancient time, this variety was used as a medicine for diarrhea, diabetes and to lower cholesterol.
5. Rathu heenati – Grain is rich in iron, zinc and natural antioxidants. It contains more fats. This variety is highly recommended for expecting mothers as well as the first meal of infants while it can be used to treat hepatitis and diarrhea patients.
6. Sudu heenati- Has high nutritional and medicinal values and is rich in vitamin E, iron, zinc and other natural antioxidants. Studies have proved that this variety is suitable for the treatment of inflammations, diabetes, cancer, neurological diseases, cholesterol, constipation, oxidative stress and helps to improve the human immune system.
Courtesy of dailymirror.lk