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Mold in My Rice, Please

Sep 4, 2007
A favorite food in Asia for the past thousand years is called red yeast rice and it considered a traditional part of the dish most of us are familiar with, at least by name, called Peking duck. The system of Traditional Chinese Medicine has put the dish to use by claiming that it assists the body in keeping a healthy circulatory system and promotes a healthy heart. Its use has been documented back as long ago as the Tang imperial dynasty in China in the approximate year of 800 A.D. There could possibly be a fair reason for the claim that it helps keep a good circulatory system, since current research has proven that it is pretty good at lowering your cholesterol. But, what is this red yeast rice, exactly?

Well, red yeast rice is produced by fermenting a mold called "ascus purpureus"that has been put on top of rice. The natural ingredient mevinolin is supposedly what gives the dish its cholesterol lowering characteristic, since this ingredient is similar to that which doctors typically give a person to help lower high cholesterol, such as the drugs Zocor and Lipitor. Even though we all need a certain amount of cholesterol in order to survive and be healthy, most of the time our own bodies produce enough of it to maintain survival. We only actually need to obtain about twenty percent of our cholesterol from the food that we take in every day. Red yeast rice (or mevinolin, whichever you want to say) blocks the enzyme in the liver that causes it to produce cholesterol.

Even though this medicine food has been used in China for at least a millennia in the treatment of high cholesterol and maintaining a healthy circulatory system, it has only begun to see some use in the United States and other western countries. Mevinolin is actually sold as a dietary supplement in some places and is available over the counter without a prescription.

If you do happen to eat red yeast rice, it is not a good idea to eat it or take the mevinolin supplements if your doctor has already put you on Zocor or Lipitor.

Monascus purpureus is a red-purplish mold that is used primarily in Asian foods to provide color and was used for this long before food dyes were invented. In addition to providing a healthy amount of color to a dish, it can also give the food a good flavor, too.
About the Author
Jim Corkern is a writer and promoter of quality
water damage restoration companies and
Dallas Residential Water Damage Restoration Contractors
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