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Scholars all around the world recognize rice as one of the most important nutritional crops; it is an important dietary product that serves as the source of the major portion of the daily calories of humans as well as animals (Shekhar, Howlader, and Kabir 198). Moreover, the world’s most densely populated countries such as China and India have rice as the leading consumption good. In a variety of cultures, rice serves not only as a source of nutrition but also as a strong economic and political aspect, the focal point of many resources, and a driver of research (Barker, Herdt, and Rose xix).
Introduction of the Topic
For many centuries, rice has been known to humanity for its versatile properties. Aside from being used as food, it has seen plenty of unorthodox implementations. In that way, it is practically irreplaceable as a resource for the dietary, economic, and political points of view. Therefore, the discussion of this product could be an interesting source of new knowledge about one of the oldest and most common products in the world. This speech will explore the value of rice discussing it from different angles and perspectives.
From feeding millions of people to saving electronics from moisture, this humble grain remained relevant throughout the ages due to its excellent nutritional values, relative ease of cultivation, and high yield. Having been brought from Asia to Europe thousands of years ago, rice has become one of the habitual parts of diets of all the old world cultures. The Americas have been introduced to it much later, in the 1600s, but still had plenty of time to adopt it and appreciate all of its benefits. Today, every person all around the globe is familiar with rice regardless of their culture and country; and that is why this subject is likely to apply to everyone in the audience.
The information presented in this speech was taken from scholarly sources such as academic articles and books that were found online and thoroughly sorted according to the subject of discussion, facts, and research results. Only the most credible sources were employed to achieve the highest level of reliability and validity of the data provided in this speech. The information located in the books and articles was organized in a well-structured manner for a purpose to retain the interest of the audience and offer some fascinating, original, as well as trustworthy ideas and pieces of evidence.
Rice is one of the world’s dominant consumption goods; it has to offer numerous benefits for the consumers, and thus comprises a major dietary portion of billions of people around the globe, serves as the source of income and a basis for some Asian economies, helps resolve some health issues, and is appreciated by many cultures globally.
The speech will first focus on the history of rice, its origins, and how it came to be so popular in the cultures of Asia. Further, the health benefits this product carries will be discussed. Finally, the practical application of rice and its ubiquitous presence in the majority of the world’s cultures will be explored using the examples of how rice is present in different parts of the world. In addition, some unorthodox applications of this product will be mentioned to emphasize its endless value.
Let us begin with the history of rice. Rice, or Oryza Sativa, was domesticated roughly 14,000 years ago. Recent scientific researches point out that it was first domesticated in China, as all varieties of modern rice found in Asia are trailing back to a particular staple found in the Pearl Valley region of the country (Smith and Dilday 47). The Chinese attribute the achievement to Shennong – a legendary figure in the history and mythology of the region.
He is believed to be the founder of the Chinese agricultural system. Around 3000 BC, rice saw great expansion across all of Asia. It is unknown when it first appeared in Europe. It was recorded that the settling soldiers of Alexander the Great started cultivating it in ancient Greece. In Africa, rice was being cultivated as early as 3500 BC. It reached the Americas in the 16th century, brought from Europe by the various colonists and explorers (Smith and Dilday 53).
Rice is an important part of a healthy diet. A dietary analysis in the USA showed that eating rice increases the levels of required elements and minerals in your body, such as magnesium, potassium, and fibers while having less fat and sugar (Gallaher and Bunzel 5). Rice also has no cholesterol and little to no sodium, making it perfect for those who suffer from high levels of cholesterol in their blood (Mew et al. 910). Lastly, rice is cheap, tasty, and fills the stomach. Due to all these qualities, it has been feeding the world for around 5000 years.
Now, let us move on to the practical part. Rice can be cooked in a multitude of ways. In Japan, rice balls are a popular breakfast and lunch, and they could be filled with various stuffings. Plov is a popular dish in the Middle East and Russia. It is cooked in a pot with meat and various spices that give it a golden tint. Even plain rice can be delicious when mixed with the sauce. The famous Japanese sake is, in fact, rice vodka. Rice has plenty of unorthodox uses as well.
Since the grains are small and hard, they could be used as an abrasive material to clean surfaces, instruments, and glass. Aside from saving electronics from moisture, it is also good at preventing tools from rusting. All you have to do is keep them in a toolbox filled with rice grains (Waldeck 1). Rice even found its way into the construction industry. In ancient China, rice was added to the cement to improve its hardness. This method was used during the construction of the Great Wall of China.
To conclude our topic, let us revise what we have learned today. We have gained insights into what rice is and how it came to be. Perhaps the section about its healthiness convinced some of you to try it out as part of your regular diet. I certainly hope the part about the unorthodox uses of rice gave you something to think about and maybe tried out at home. It is surprising how much could be learned about such a simple product. Rice may be a humble grain, but its importance to the world could not be overestimated. It may not have the fame and exquisiteness of wine or chocolate. However, the world would survive without those goods. Without rice, it would not. I hope you have enjoyed my report and learned something useful for yourselves today.
Barker, Randolph, Robert Herdt, and Beth Rose. The Rice Economy of Asia. New York, New York: Springer, 2005. Print.
Gallaher, Daniel D., and Bunzel Mirko. “Potential Health Benefits of Wild Rice and Wild Rice Products: Literature Review.” AURI (2012): 1-49. Print.
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Mew, T. W., D. S. Brar, S. Peng, D. Dawe, and B. Hardy. Rice Science: Innovations and Impact on Livelihood. Makati City, Philippines: IRRI, 2003. Print.
Shekhar, Hossain, Zakir Howlader, and Yearul Kabir. Exploring the Nutrition and Health Benefits of Functional Foods. Hershey, Pennsylvania: IGI Global, 2016. Print.
Smith, Wayne and Robert H. Dilday. Rice: Origin, History, Technology, and Production. New York, New York: Wiley & Sons, 2003. Print.
Waldeck, Katie. 13 Surprising Uses of Rice. 2016. Web.