Researchers in India are trying to popularize a variety of rice that can help reduce the prevalence of type 2 diabetes. According to research conducted at India’s Institute of Advanced Study in Science and Technology (IASST), Joha rice– a short-grain, winter variety grown in remote northeast India– has been shown to have antioxidant properties, lower glucose levels and is rich in unsaturated fatty acids, making it suitable for people with diabetes and those who wish to prevent the onset of diabetes and heart disease. Laboratory research found that diabetic rats fed on Joha rice recovered and showed improved sugar metabolism. Given that the top ten countries for diabetes prevalence have rice as their main staple, the researchers believe that popularizing consumption of Joha rice and other low-glycemic rice varieties can help mitigate the global burden of type 2 diabetes and related diseases. The next crucial step is to raise awareness of Joha rice’s aromatic appeal and health benefits so that more farmers are willing to propagate the crop.

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