Rice is a cereal, bred from grasses like wheat, rye or millet. It began to be cultivated about 4000 years before Christ in Southeast Asia. It has been cultivated in China for about 5000 years.
Soldiers of Alexander the Great brought rice to Western Asia and by the time of ancient Rome, rice had spread to the Mediterranean and North Africa. However, the greatest yields have always been in China and India, making East Asia the largest producer of rice.
China also developed a method of growing rice in artificially flooded tanks with a complex system of irrigation channels.
European immigrants brought rice to the Americas in the 16th century, and later rice was brought there with African slaves. The greatest boom in rice cultivation in the Americas occurred after the War of the North and the South.
Rice has become one of the most widely grown foods, on which about half the human population depends for their livelihood. Rice is a staple food especially in Asia and Africa.
Rice is a rich source of complex carbohydrates and contains no fat. In return, it contains large amounts of B vitamins and fibre. Although rice also has larger amounts of protein, they are not complete proteins as they do not contain all the necessary amino acids.
Rice also contains minerals, among other things, but their content in the food depends on its processing.
It has not, however, gained such popularity among the inhabitants of America and Europe because of the availability of other cereals and meat.
Rice is a very important trade commodity and the price of rice has a significant impact on the world economy.
There are currently nearly 8000 different types of rice known.
There are also a plethora of ways to prepare rice, many of which are considered typical national dishes, such as the Indian way of curry or Japanese sushi.