Chemical Compositions and Bioactivities of Selected Sri Lankan Traditional Rice Based Porridges

Sri Lanka boasts many traditional rice varieties that are remerging to replace the elite counterparts that have been bred by rice geneticists for better yields but not necessarily nutritional content. The traditional Sri Lankan rice varieties have higher nutritional properties compared to that of hybrid rice. A study was performed to unveil the beneficial outcomes associated with rice porridge made from a new traditional rice variety, Gurupiya, and four other traditional counterparts. Initially, a survey was performed on a cohort of Grade 8 school children chosen from the Colombo District in Sri Lanka, of whom 58.8% were of a midrange Body Mass Index (BMI). The team of researchers selected five separate traditional rice varieties, as the staple ingredient/s of the porridges. While the glycemic index and the glycemic load were measured using freeze-dried porridge samples, other parameters, namely, proximate analyses, mineral analyses, determination of fatty acid and oil content, and many biological activities (anti-oxidant, anti-glycation, anti-cancer, anti-amylase inhibition and anti-bacterial) were employed on powdered porridge samples.

Rice Based Porridges

The study yielded the following key findings: First, GI values determined for Madathawalu rice porridge was low range compared to other non-traditional rice porridges. Secondly, variable anti-oxidant and anti-glycation activities were also found for the five rice porridges. Thirdly, all porridges were inhibitory of Staphylococcus aureus, Pseudomonas aeroginosa and Escherichia coli. One recipe (KHP) derived from the traditional rice variety Kalu Heenati, demonstrated anti-cancer activity on NCI-human lung cancer cells. The new Gurupiya variety showed high oleic acid content, high calcium and potassium, while also possessing high fiber levels. Based on the current findings, it is suggested that traditional porridges made from traditional rice is a strong surrogate for breakfast cereals and can be a practice to fight malnutrition and deficiency diseases. A locally award-winning sachet (an instant meal) was developed as a ready to eat popular consumption which will be marketed as A Ready to Drink Healthy Herbal Instant Rice Porridge in near future.

Dr Pahan

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