Eaters of white and brown rice have healthier diets— they take in more fruits and vegetables and less saturated fat and added sugar, a Baylor College of Medicine study of more than 14,000 adults showed. But all’s not well in Riceville. It turns out, the grain is often tainted with carcinogenic metals, especially when crops are grown in once industrial areas. In China, the concern is cadmium, a metallic compound that may cause cancer and kidney disease. In fact, a Greenpeace East Asia test found unsafe levels of cadmium in 12 of 13 rice crops sampled. Stateside, arsenic is the enemy, though the FDA has so far deemed levels too low to cause immediate adverse health effects.
Still, fear is growing that tainted rice poses major health risks: “Arsenic is a carcinogen, as is cadmium,” says Arsenic & Rice author Andy Meharg, Ph.D. “Small amounts over a long time will increase cancer risks.” Thankfully, you don’t need to ban rice from your diet. Here are six waysto ensure that your favorite carb source is the healthiest it can be.