Red Fragrant, reddish in colour, is a new rice variety. Its biggest benefit is the very low glycemic index (GI) which is as low as 48 and hence is well below the upper limit (55) of the low GI rice varieties.
The nut-like flavor and perfume-like fragrance is attributed to the fact that this grain has been aged to decrease the moisture content. The presence of rice bran makes it a uniquely nutritious grain; the red pigment present in the bran is rich in protein, fat, minerals, vitamin B and dietary fiber.
GI is a measure of the rapidity of digestion of food, especially carbohydrates, into sugar (glucose) and its release into the bloodstream. Rice varieties with low GI break down more slowly into glucose ensuring even release of glucose into the bloodstream for a comparatively longer time. Rice usually has a GI value of 70 to 80. Foods with a GI lower than 55 and higher than 65 are categorised under low and high GI, respectively. The GI values of some of brown Basmati (75), commercial Basmathi (58) and common Sri Lankan rice varieties (67-72) are much higher than that of Red Fragrant. According to our knowledge, this is the only Basmati rice variety with such a low GI hitherto reported locally or globally.
Red Fragrant has also three-to-six-fold higher antioxidant activity than common Basmathi or white rice. Rice protein is one of the most nutritious of all cereal proteins. The crude protein content of Red Fragrant is about 10 percent which is much higher than that of common rice which is only about six to eight percent. More than one-third of the daily requirement of protein in the Sri Lankan diet is fulfilled by rice. Therefore, increasing the crude protein content by even two percent would mean a significant increase in protein intake amounting to 10-20 percent for those whose staple food is rice. Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) and B2 (Riboflavin) contained in CIC Red Fragrant are 3-fold and 2.8-fold higher respectively, than in common Basmathi or white rice. Generally, the dietary fibre content is around one percent in milled rice, but that of Red Fragrant is about 2.5 percent which is significantly higher. Dietary fibre improves bowel function leading to reduction of the risk of many diseases.
Rice with good health properties can also potentially reduce the risk of other degenerative diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular diseases and ageing. Rice varieties with the low glycemic index, high antioxidant activity, protein, dietary fibre and Vitamin B, particularly B1 and B2, are considered healthy. Therefore, the overall health and nutritional benefits of Red Fragrant are immense and probably unsurpassed by any other commercial rice variety.