[New Delhi] An aromatic rice variety grown in India’s remote northeast, known as joha rice, not only prevents type 2 diabetes but is also rich in unsaturated fatty acids, which work against heart disease, scientists have found.
According to the International Diabetes Federation, diabetes is a major global health problem, affecting an estimated 537 million adults aged 20 to 79 in 2021. This number is predicted to rise to 783 million by 2045.
Early onset type 2 diabetes is increasingly common but the condition can be reversed with lifestyle and dietary changes, including moderation in white rice consumption. Rice is a staple food in many countries but it can affect blood sugar levels and increase the risk of diabetes.
Joha rice, a short-grained, winter variety known for its unique aroma and taste, has attracted the attention of researchers at India’s Institute of Advanced Study in Science and Technology (IASST) because of the popular belief that those who consume it regularly are protected from diabetes. and cardiovascular disease.
“Such claims citing important nutritional properties [health benefits] of joha rice called for scientific validation and thus we initiated investigations in our laboratories,” said Rajalakshmi Devi, research leader and professor at IASST’s Life Sciences Division in the northeastern capital Guwahati. State of Assam.
IASST’s investigation showed the presence of two unsaturated fatty acids, linoleic acid (omega-6) and linoleic (omega-3) acid, which are important for human health and need to be included in the diet because they are not naturally produced. The human body, said the goddess.
Joha rice has also been shown to be effective in lowering glucose levels and preventing the onset of diabetes in so-called “in vitro” tests in the laboratory and on mice.
According to India’s Department of Science and Technology, the rice variety contains valuable antioxidants that make it the “nutrient of choice” in diabetes management. It states that several bioactive compounds are found in joha which are known to have antioxidant effects, regulate blood sugar levels and protect the heart.
“Given that rice is a staple food in the Asia Pacific region and widely consumed around the world, we believe that popularizing a rice variety with strong anti-diabetic activity like Zoha could greatly help reduce the incidence of type 2 diabetes,” Devi told SciDev. Net.