U.S.-Grown Rice Powers a Healthy Heart

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"Hearty" recipes and tips from USA Rice Federation for American Heart Month

Good health requires a focus on healthy eating and exercise. If you've already slacked off on your New Year's resolution to eat better and get in shape, there's no better time than February, American Heart Month, to recommit to a heart healthy lifestyle. And, rice can help -- it offers a delicious, nutritious base for a multitude of heart healthy recipes and provides long-lasting fuel for workouts.

Nutrient rich U.S.-grown rice is among the most heart-friendly because it is low in calories, has just a trace of fat, and contains no cholesterol, sodium, saturated or trans fats. Rice also partners well with other heart healthy foods, such as beans, seafood, vegetables and fruits. To show your heart some TLC, try adding rice to meals and snacks to improve overall heart health.

Studies show that rice is the foundation for heart-healthy eating. Brown rice is a 100-percent whole grain food, while white rice is enriched with B vitamins, including folic acid, which has been shown to help maintain a healthy heart.

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), diets rich in whole grain foods, such as brown rice and other plant foods, and low in total fat, saturated fat and cholesterol, may help reduce the risk of heart disease and certain cancers. Furthermore, the American Heart Association reports that evidence has shown low blood levels of folic acid are linked with a higher risk of fatal coronary heart disease and stroke. One cup of cooked enriched white rice delivers 23 percent of the recommended daily value of folic acid. Also, 100-percent whole grain wild rice provides many nutrients, protein and fiber.

Including a healthy complex carbohydrate, such as natural whole grain brown and enriched white rice into a balanced diet, can help improve overall health and reduce the risk of heart disease... and at only 10 cents per serving, rice is a smart, affordable choice for heart-healthy eating.

The DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet focuses on food rather than medicine to help lower blood pressure. According to "Your Guide to Lowering Your Blood Pressure With DASH" developed by the National Institutes of Health, eating at least 6-8 servings daily of whole grains, such as brown rice, may help control blood pressure.

Recent research published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association and Nutrition Today show that eating enriched white and whole grain brown rice helps improve overall diet and may reduce the risk for many chronic diseases. Compared with non-rice eaters, rice eaters are less likely to have risk factors associated with cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and metabolic syndrome; they are more likely to have an overall better diet quality. Rice eaters also eat more vegetables, meats, poultry, seafood and fiber, and consume less added sugar and total fat and saturated fat than non-rice eaters, all important factors for cardio protection.

Show your heart you care... try these terrific heartwarming rice meals and side dishes, loaded with heart-healthy omega-3s, folic acid and whole grains. For more recipes and tips on rice preparation and storage, visit http://www.usarice.com.

Confetti Rice Pilaf

Teriyaki Salmon with Gingered Vegetable Rice

Orange Chicken Vegetable Rice Bowl

Health Nut Brown Rice

The USA Rice Federation is the global advocate for all segments of the U.S. rice industry with a mission to promote and protect the interests of producers, millers, merchants and allied businesses. About 85 percent of the rice consumed in the U.S. is grown here. U.S. rice farmers produce an abundance of short-, medium-, and long-grain rice, as well as organic and specialty rices such as jasmine, basmati and Arborio, in Arkansas, California, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri and Texas, according to the highest-quality and wholesomeness standards. Sustainably grown U.S. rice helps to reduce your food miles because it is a domestically grown product. Look for the "Grown in the USA" logo on packages of 100-percent U.S.-grown rice. Be sure to visit usarice.com, find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.

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Anne Banville

Shaily Jariwala
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