Written by Phin Upham
How Rice Helped to Grow Civilization
Throughout history, rice has always been a high-producing crop. It produces more protein and food energy per yield than wheat or corn maize. Thus, rice has an unrivaled ability to support more people per land unit. So, it’s not entirely unusual to find that civilization growth has closely mirrored rice expansion.
Rice has somehow managed to gain traction in regions where other foods have traditionally thrived. Plants like potatoes and millet were good alternatives for a time, but rice has better nutritional value pound for pound. As a result, countries like Africa have had sharp increases in the amount of rice consumption for the country.
Rice is also very easy to prepare, another good quality for a super food. When fully cooked, rice has a soft texture and unoffending taste, suited for almost any palette and digestive system. Asian countries prefer rice over wheat, corn maize, and the sweet potato.
Rice has gone from being a simple super food to something we use everyday. Rice goes into foods for infants, it’s a part of breakfast cereals, it’s an ingredient in beer and rice wine too. Rice is even used in construction, where the silica-rich makeup is useful in concrete mix. The Chinese used a form of sticky rice during the construction of the Great Wall, which is supposedly so strong that weeds still can’t grow through the mortar.
Rice straw was also used in both paper and rope making for a time, although the practice has fallen out of favor in modern society. Rice powder is also free of allergens, so it is often used as face powder, or as a base ingredient in infant formulas. Humans have managed to find some incredible uses for this super food.