Be it biryani, curd rice or khichdi, rice is often a staple in Indian diets. Yet, for family caregivers or daily food delivery service for the elderly, including white rice in a senior’s daily diet needs some careful consideration.
While white rice is not all bad, given that it does contain some nutrients such as manganese, selenium and copper, it shouldn’t always be the first choice for the elderly. Here are some reasons to reconsider giving seniors too much white rice:
1. High on Carbs
It isn’t a myth that white rice is empty carbs. It’s essentially the grain devoid of bran and germ, the most nutrient-rich elements of rice. For seniors, switching out white rice with brown rice, millets or even quinoa might be a better option since they contain more essential nutrients including fiber, vitamins and minerals.
2. High Glycaemic Index
As family caregivers of the elderly, especially those with diabetes or a family history of diabetes, it may be good to note that white rice scores very high on the glycaemic index. A high glycaemic index in food can put seniors at risk for type 2 diabetes. Instead, consider increasing the portion of green vegetables, lentils and even oats for a low glycaemic index meal.
3. Increased Risk of Metabolic Syndrome
Metabolic syndrome is a set of risk factors that make one more prone to certain diseases such as heart disease, stroke and diabetes. White rice increases the risk of metabolic syndrome while a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, nuts and whole grains such as barley and oats can reduce its risk.
4. Higher Chances of Obesity
White rice is known to lead to weight gain. Some research suggests that it is also linked to higher levels of obesity. For seniors who consume white rice on a regular basis, it is essential to have a rigorous exercise regime to burn off the calories. The other solution is to look at rice alternatives like brown or red rice or even cauliflower rice for a change, which are all just as tasty but score higher on nutritional value.
This isn’t to say that seniors cannot eat white rice at all. Just like everything else, in moderation, white rice is okay for seniors. Daily food delivery services or caretakers for the elderly don’t necessarily have to reimagine their entire menu if it is rice-based. Including whte rice for a couple of meals a week or a helping of biryani on special occasions is completely acceptable. If possible, you can substitute white rice with some of its healthier alternatives. For instance, brown rice is rich in calcium, fibre and other nutrients while being lower on carbohydrates.