Whether you love it or hate it, there’s no denying that rice has been an important part of Indian culture for centuries. There seems to have been about a hundred varieties of rice, but only about 20 types are said to be existing. While many people are familiar with white, brown or black rice, there also exists a variety of rice called Navara rice or Njavara rice.
Navara rice is one of the many types of rice found in India. It is a unique grain plant that originated in Kerala and is popularly known for its medicinal and healing properties.
Despite being rich in nutrition and having many health benefits, Navara rice is still unknown to many people in India. Therefore, In this post, I have compiled a list of the 10 Navara rice benefits that everyone should know.
But before getting to the list, let’s familiarise yourself with Navara rice.
Navara rice is a whole grain that can only be found in Kerala. It has been cultivated by farmers for more than 2000 years. It is often referred to as a medicinal plant, as it is used in the Ayurvedic treatment system alone or combined with other herbs.
There are two varieties of Navara rice – white glumed and black glumed. Both the varieties are sweet in taste. It is easy to digest and can be eaten by people of all ages. The rice is sometimes ground into powder, mixed with milk, and enjoyed as a cereal. Besides health benefits, Navara rice also has religious significance and is often used in temples for ceremonies.
Navara rice is more expensive than other rice due to its low yield and restricted cultivation areas. This is the reason most people compared it to “gold” because of its low availability and superior health benefits.
Navara rice is a nutritionally powerful variety of rice consisting of 73% carbohydrates, 9.5% protein, 2.5% fat, 1.4% ash and 389 calories. It is also a rich source of fiber, antioxidants, polyphenols, vitamins and minerals like Iron, zinc, and calcium.
Good for your skin
Navara rice is an excellent source of antioxidants such as flavonoids, oryzanol, phenolic, proanthocyanidin and phytate.
For those who don’t know, antioxidants are substances that help protect your body from damage caused by free radicals (toxins) and other environmental stressors. They can also help reduce the signs of aging as they pose anti-aging effects.
The antioxidants in Navara rice help to neutralize free radicals and prevent them from causing cell damage. This cell damage can lead to wrinkles, fine lines, and other signs of aging. Therefore, eating Navara rice can help keep the skin looking young and healthy.
Boost immune system
One of the key benefits of Navara rice is that it is a good source of vitamin C that helps to boost the immune system.
When our bodies are low on vitamin C, we experience a host of symptoms, including fatigue, weak immunity, and slow healing. Vitamin C plays a crucial role in boosting the immune system by helping repair tissue and producing white blood cells, which are key to fighting off infection.
Easy to digest
Navara rice is a good source of fiber that makes it easy for your digestion. It helps to add bulk to the stool, making it easier to pass. Also, it helps absorb water and keep the stool moist, which can help prevent constipation and other gastrointestinal issues.
In addition, eating enough fiber in your diet also helps you feel fuller for longer, which eventually helps you maintain a healthy weight.
Good for babies
While Navara rice may not be as popular as other cereals, it can be a healthier option for your baby. In Kerala, newborn babies are fed angri, a dish made of Navara flour and dried powdered Kunnan banana.
You can also combine Navara flour and milk to make a cereal for your baby that will replace all other unhealthy processed cereals on the market. This will ensure that the baby receives all the natural nutrients required for proper growth development.
Furthermore, Navara rice can be used as a natural ‘weight gainer’ for underweight infants.
Good for diabetes
Navara rice is a good choice for people with diabetes as it has a low glycemic index of 60. This means that it does not cause spikes in blood sugar levels, making it a better alternative than white rice.
In addition, Navara rice is a good source of fiber and other essential nutrients for people with diabetes.
Lower your risk of cancer
Navara rice is an excellent source of an antioxidant called Proanthocyanidins (PCs) that can help lower your cancer risk.
Proanthocyanidins (PCs) is a naturally occurring compound also known as one of the most powerful antioxidants in the world.
According to a study, Proanthocyanidins can prevent cancer risk in people due to their ability to absorb oxygen radicals and prevent DNA damage. The study also suggests that ingesting proanthocyanidin-containing foods can help treat both alcoholic and non-alcoholic fatty liver.
Use in Ayurveda treatment
Navara rice is commonly used in Ayurvedic medicine due to its medicinal properties. Ayurvedic physicians may prescribe Navara rice for a wide range of ailments such as rheumatism, arthritis, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, and blood pressure, as well as for relaxation and rejuvenation of weak muscles in the elderly.
In addition, oil prepared from Navara bran is used in the treatment of nervous diseases, body aches, numbness, and wasted muscles due to myopathies and motor neuron diseases.
Being a good source of Iron, eating Navara rice can prevent the risk of anemia and other Iron related deficiencies such as:
- Extreme fatigue
- Shortness of breath
Increase bone strength
Despite calcium being one of the most abundant minerals in the body, many people still suffer from bone-related problems such as osteoporosis.
Including Navara rice in your diet can help you get strong bones. This is because Navara rice contains a good level of calcium, which is essential for bone health.
Moreover, calcium helps with other bodily functions such as blood clotting and muscle contraction.
Good for pregnant women
Navara rice is a good choice for pregnant or lactating women because it contains many essential nutrients, including fiber, protein, calcium, and Iron. The high fiber content of Navara rice helps to prevent digestive issues such as constipation, which is common during pregnancy, while the high iron content helps to maintain blood levels.
Navara rice is a very nutritious, balanced and safe diet for people of all ages. It is packed with many essential nutrients that make it safe to eat daily. However, being rich in nutrients, eating too much of it can do certain nutrient overdose, which might not be good for health.
It’s best to consume Navara rice daily but in limited amounts.
Navara rice has been a staple in many cultures for centuries, and there have been no documented side effects from its consumption. However, as with any food, if eaten in excess, the high calorie content may lead to weight gain.
Consume in limited amount, and you will have no side effects from Navara rice.
For those who want to try out this rice, here is a simple recipe to get started.
- 1/2 cup Navara rice
- 1 cup milk
- Sugar as per taste (you can also use jaggery to make it more healthy)
- Little raisins, cashews and almonds (optional)
Steps to follow:
- Soak the Navara rice for 30 minutes and grind it into a coarse paste with very little water.
- Boil the milk in a pan
- Add the rice paste to the boiling milk and stir for five minutes. Make sure there are no lumps.
- Now add sugar or jaggery and the dry fruits of your choice and mix well till the milk thickens and turns creamy.
- Pour it into a bowl and serve it among the kids and elders.
Although Navara rice is not so popular among people and has low productivity, it is very remunerative rice. Also, the market value of Navara rice is 3 to 5 times more than other ordinary rice varieties, but it is worth it due to its many health benefits. This makes Navara rice a must to try or include in your diet.
Found this information helpful? Share it and let the world know the power of this little-known rice variety.