Adlai: The Healthier Substitute to Rice

Most of us are aiming to keep active and healthy or begin fitness journeys to boost our immune systems. Meal preparation and the search for healthy alternatives to our everyday meals are two examples.

Rice is a healthy food when consumed as a whole grain. It is recommended that we consume a variety of whole grains rather than only rice to give our bodies a more comprehensive range of nutrients.

Whole grains include amaranth, quinoa, bulgur, buckwheat, wheat, sorghum, farro, triticale, oats, and Adlai. While all of these grains are good sources of complex carbs when eaten whole, Adlai has risen in popularity over the years and for an excellent purpose. It’s a grain that packs a powerful punch.

What exactly is Adlai?

Adlai, also called “Job’s Tears” or “Chinese pearl barley” is a tall-grain tropical plant related to corn, wheat, and rice. It is the grass used as a food source and a material for making jewelry in Asian cultures. However, the herb has been used in traditional medicine to cure several illnesses ranging from arthritis and even smallpox for hundreds of years. Adlai is native to the Philippines, produced, and regarded as a staple foodstuff.

It resembles rice’s appearance and flavor, but it has a nutty aftertaste. It’s similar to fluffy rice and al dente pasta, except the grains are more prominent. Cooked Adlai granules have a softer texture than white corn grits and are significantly more compact. It has a somewhat chewy texture that some people may find difficult to adjust to.

What are The Advantages of Consuming Adlai?

Adlai, a native grain, may be familiar to you. Now is the moment to do so, if you haven’t already. It’s a calorie-dense, low-carbohydrate grain that’s also nutritious, easy to cook, versatile, and tasty.

It Has a High Energy Density

Adlai can supply you with three times the energy that white rice can. Despite the higher calorie count, these are healthy carbs that may keep you full for longer. If you’re managing your calories, you can eat ⅓ – ½ cup of it per mealtime.


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But did you know that one of Adlai’s most common traditional uses is the treatment of allergies using topical formulations of plant extracts for contact dermatitis, an allergic skin disease? Yes, you’ve read it right!

Extracts from the plant reduced allergy symptoms in laboratory mice and improved their immune system, according to a research report in the “Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry” in June 2003.

It’s Sourced From a Local Supplier

Another distinguishing feature of Adlai is that it is cooked with readily available ingredients in the area.

Our farmers in the Philippines, notably Mindanao and the Cordillera, will benefit from their crop if more people switch to Adlai. As we seek to become healthier, we are also aiding our farmers’ livelihood.

Beneficial for the Digestive System

Adlai may also apply to the digestive system. According to a study published in the “Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry” in June 2011, Job’s Tears or Adlai seeds suppressed gastric cancer cells in vitro and reduced stomach ulcers in mice.

Its Glycemic Index is Low

Adlai has a low glycemic index, which means it is gradually digested, metabolized, and absorbed, causing blood glucose and insulin levels to rise more slowly than conventional rice. As a result, persons with diabetes or high blood sugar levels will benefit from Adlai.


According to research published in the “Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition” in 2008, Adlai seeds improved levels of numerous osteoporosis indicators in the blood of mice when compared to a control group.

The researchers theorized that the extracts could repair osteoporosis in rats and potentially be used as a nutritious meal to prevent osteoporosis.

Weight Reduction

In a study published in the journal “Life Sciences” in 2004, overweight mice were treated with extracts from Adlai for four weeks, and the mice fed the extracts had lower body weights, food intake, fat size, cholesterol level, adipose fat tissue mass, and triglyceride levels than the control group.

Prevention and Treatment of Cancer

Several Chinese research teams have studied the effects of Job’s Tears on pancreas, colon, breast, liver, lung, and leukemia cancers, with promising outcomes.

According to a study published in the “Journal of Ethnopharmacology” in September 2008, extracts of Adlai dramatically reduced fatty acid synthase activity in the liver.


Adlai is not only tasty and nutritious, but it is also incredibly adaptable. Serve it with your favorite food, top it with your favorite sauce, or make a guilt-free dessert with it.

Final Thoughts

Adlai is an ideal whole grain substitute since it is abundant in energy, complex carbs, dietary fiber, protein, and minerals such as niacin, phosphorus, riboflavin, and thiamine. And as mentioned, it also has a low glycemic index. Adlai can be made in several different ways. To begin, try substituting it for your regular rice.

Please include it in your whole-grain diet to provide diversity to your diet. Locally grown Adlai can be bought directly from local farmers or through sectors that work with them.

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