Is Poha (beaten rice) healthy?
Most commonly termed as Poha in Hindi, it’s also known as flattened rice or beaten rice. While Bateta Poha and Chivda are the sumptuous delicacies made using rice flakes in west on India, it is used to make Idlis and Dosas in south regions of India. On the other hand, North Indians use it as a binding to create magical crispy tikkis and in Madhya Pradesh a variety of Indori poha is used to make jalebi. Thin and thick are two varieties it is available in and its uses are totally dependent on its variety.
How is Poha Made?
As the name says beaten rice of flattened rice, it’s to be understood it’s a by-product of paddy – a type of rice. The processes involved in making poha are:
• Washing rice
• Soaking rice
• Roasting rice
• Pounding to remove the husk
• Rolling till flat
5 Health Benefits of Poha , Beaten Rice
1. Plentiful of Carbohydrates : Most people prefer eating poha for breakfast. The reason behind it is its high carb count. A cup of poha provides approx. 46.3 gm of carbohydrates. A single serving is enough to satiate you and keep you full for hours.
2. Valuable Source of Iron :
The high iron count (2.67 mg in a cup) of poha is because of its production process, which involves passing rice through rollers. The rice along with flattening out also retain some of the from these iron rollers. Iron is a key element to maintain the levels of hemoglobin and RBC (Red Blood Cell) count. To enhance the absorption of iron, you can simple squeeze some lemon juice on poha or accompany the delicacy made with beaten rice with a vitamin C rich fruit.
3. A Good Probiotic :
Though surprising it may sound, but the during the process of soaking the grain undergoes a partial fermentation. This retains the probiotic bacteria which are beneficial for gut and assist in digestion.
4. A Good Choice of Grain For Lactose Intolerance :
Lactose Intolerance merely means inability to digest enzyme ‘Lactase’ which is profusely found in wheat and its products like maida, semolina etc. This this grain becomes a good choice for people to try different delicacies to please their palate.
5. Abounds in B vitamins :
Poha is said to be fortified with B vitamins in the process of production. These Vitamins form an essential part in providing energy, maintaining brain health and cell division.
Is Poha safe for Diabetics?
While some research says that poha being enriched with vitamin B1, it helps to stabilize blood sugar levels. However the high carb count (46.3 gm per cup) of poha cannot be ignored. When in doubt, it’s best avoided till further research. And in case you want to include it in your cooking, add it not more than once a month and pair it with a handful of sprouts as we have done in the recipe of Sprouted Matki Poha. However ensure you add no extra sugar which is usually added in Kanda Poha or Bateta Poha.
Is Poha Safe for Heart Disease?
Magnesium is known to maintain nerve function and normal heartbeat. And a cup beaten rice fulfils 13.5% of our day’s requirement of this nutrient. Also it helps us accomplish nearly 5% of potassium requirement which will control blood pressure and sustain cardiac health. Hence poha need not be avoided by those suffering from cardiac problems. However cook it with minimal fat and healthy fats. And addind loads of fiber rich veggies to it, further aids in controlling blood cholesterol too.
Is Poha Safe for Weight Loss?
207 calories, 46.3 g carbohydrate, 3.96 g protein, 0.7 g of fat and 0.4 g of fiber is what beaten rice delivers. With calories to add along with carbs and not much fiber, poha should logically be constrained by those who intend to lose weight. High protein, less carbs and more fiber should be the target of weight watchers. What’s good is, eating poha will keep you full for long, but fundamentally it’s another form of rice. You can choose from other high fiber grains like barley, quinoa, buckwheat, jowar, bajra etc. These would be a more wiser option to cook with. However, this doesn’t mean that you cannot enjoy ½ a cup of poha with veggies like green peas and onions. You just need to choose wisely and balance your meal.
Nutritional Value of Poha
1 cup of poha is about 60 g
RDA stands for Recommended Daily Allowance.
Energy - 207 calories
Protein – 3.96 g
Carbohydrate – 46.3 g
Fat – 0.72 g
Fiber – 0.42 g
See full details of nutritional value of poha in poha glossary.