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Lose Weight and Fight Inflammation with Congee

by Dr. Elizabeth Langer

What is Congee?

Congee is a rice porridge commonly consumed in Asian cuisine. It is easy on digestion and provides many health benefits. Though it takes a long time to cook, it is a highly versatile recipe and can be a solid foundation for creating a variety of meals.

If you have problems with digestion, such as bloating and IBS, congee is a great addition to your diet. With congee, the rice is soft and more easily broken down and your body expends energy to absorb nutrients. And because it is slow-cooked on low heat, congee retains most of its nutritional value.

Health Benefits of Brown Rice                                                                          Congee can be made with any type of rice, though brown rice is the healthiest. The nutritional benefits of brown rice are primarily due to the high content of vitamins and minerals. As a whole-grain, brown rice is high in fiber and a great source of B vitamins, magnesium, manganese, and selenium.

B vitamins improve nerve conduction, boost metabolism, increase energy, and benefit mood.

Manganese helps to produce and regulate hormones, benefits the nervous system, improve energy, manage blood sugar, and increases calcium absorption.

Selenium assists in promoting cardiovascular health and improves the metabolism of insulin. Selenium helps to regulate the thyroid, which can impact weight. It also increases immune function and helps to fight against cancer and heart disease.

Along with benefiting blood sugar and insulin metabolism, brown rice has a glycemic index of 50, enabling it to provide energy without spiking blood sugar.

Brown rice is high in fiber which reduces cholesterol, regulates blood sugar, and protects against colon cancer

Both selenium and fiber help to reduce the risk of colon cancer.

Magnesium helps to reduce asthma symptoms, benefits blood pressure, reduces migraines and risk for heart attack and stroke. Magnesium regulates nerve and muscle tone by maintaining a balance with calcium. When supplementing with calcium, it is important to make sure that you are supplementing with magnesium as well as calcium.

Congee in Traditional Chinese Medicine

In traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), congee is considered a bland and neutral food. When consumed, it balances the body and improves health. Medicinally, congee provides people who have problems with digestion with essential nutrients to strengthen health. Conditions congee may be used for are rheumatoid arthritis, where there is simultaneous inflammation and weakness in a person. Cancer patients who are experiencing extreme nausea may find congee a particularly soothing method to ingest whole grains.

In Chinese culture, congee is often consumed for breakfast. However, congee may also be enjoyed by itself or with vegetables, fruits, fish and other meats. When combined in healthy recipes, the nutritional value and health benefits of congee are remarkably increased.

Even though congee takes a long time to cook, it is an easy recipe to prepare. The health benefits provided by this simple food are numerous and many will find an improvement in health by adding this food to their diet.

Basic Congee Recipe

1. Add nine cups of water to a large pot and bring to a boil.

2. Once the water reaches a boil, add one cup of brown rice to the water and cover with a lid.  Allow the rice to cook on medium-low heat for approximately three to five hours. Stir occasionally.

3.The congee is finished cooking when it has attained a creamy texture.

This recipe will yield about five to six cups of congee and can be enjoyed throughout the week. To save time, cook a half a cup of rice with four and a half cups of water. Congee may also be prepared in a crock-pot or slow-cooker.