Rice is full of arsenic. Fortunately, there's a new way to cook your rice to help clean out 85 percent of the heavy metal, according to research published in PLOS one. The secret: your drip coffee pot.
When you cook rice by letting it sit in boiling water, that water is absorbed into the rice. If there's any arsenic in your water, this can lead to even higher levels of arsenic. However, when you cook it in a filtered coffee system, the water constantly passes over the rice, but most of the water (and the arsenic that gets flushed out) is discarded.
To cook your rice in a coffee pot, use a coffee filter and place the uncooked rice where you would normally put coffee the ground coffee beans. The researchers found that it takes about 4 pints of water to cook 500 grams of rice, or a 4-to-1 ratio. Check out photos of the process here.
Arsenic gets into your rice when the rice is grown in soil that's polluted with the heavy metal, but basically all rice products, including white rice, brown rice, organic rice, and infant rice cereal, are affected.
Keep in mind that most home coffee brewers have plastic coffee ground compartments. When exposed to hot temperatures, plastics can release toxic chemicals like BPA or phthalates. Unless you have access to a commercial coffee pot (many of which have metal coffee ground reservoirs) or a home version with a stainless steel reservoir, adapting a typical home coffee pot system for this use could still be an imperfect solution for making your rice more healthful; you may have to make a judgment call based on how much plastic versus how much arsenic you're already exposed to.
If you're really in a crunch, you can use your coffee pot to cook all kinds of other foods, too:
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