Looks can be totally deceiving when it comes to food, especially rice. The fluffy white rice attracts all of us with its photogenic qualities. At the same time most of us know that brown rice is better for than white.
A majority of consumers typically choose white rice over brown rice because of the difference of appearance. Much research concludes that brown rice is the best choice in terms of both nutritional and other inherent healthy benefits.
Brown rice is the “unrefined” version of white rice. Before white rice went through the refining process, it at one time looked exactly like brown rice. Brown rice, unlike white rice, still has the side hull and bran, which renders quicker cooking times and makes it easier to digest as it is much “lighter” in the stomach. The side hulls and brans provide “natural wholeness” to the grain and are rich in proteins, thiamine, calcium, magnesium, fiber, and potassium. For those trying to lose weight or those suffering from diabetes, brown rice can prove a healthful staple given its low glycemic rating which helps reduce insulin spikes. Even the fortified white rice does not reach the minimum nutritional requirements for one serving of food as specified by the FDA.
Why Brown Rice is Better?
Rich in Selenium – Brown rice is rich in selenium which reduces the risk for developing common illnesses such as cancer, heart disease and arthritis.
High in Manganese – One cup of brown rice provides 80% of our daily manganese requirements. Manganese helps the body synthesize fats. Manganese also benefits our nervous and reproductive systems.
Rich in Naturally-Occurring Oils – Naturally occurring oils are beneficial for the body as these healthful fats help normalize cholesterol levels.
Considered Whole Grain – Brown rice is considered a whole grain since it hasn’t lost its “wholeness” through the refinement process. Wholes grains are proven to reduce the buildup of arterial plaque and reduce the risk of heart disease and high cholesterol.
Rich in Anti-Oxidants – This is one of the best kept secrets regarding brown rice. We usually associate anti-oxidant rich foods with blueberries, strawberries and other fruits and vegetables. The antioxidant capacity of brown rice is right up there with these super stars.
High in Fiber – Brown rice is high in fiber and on top of the list for foods that can help prevent colon cancer. This can be attributed to the high levels of fiber naturally contained in brown rice. These fibers attach to substances that cause cancer as well as to toxins in the body, thus eliminating them and keeping them from attaching to the colon wall.
Reduces Risk of Colon Cancer – It is thought that the high selenium levels, as well as certain phenols found in brown rice may be associated with reduced risk of colon cancer. These phenols are present in much high concentrations in brown rice than in white, meaning this association may not be seen with high white rice consumption. The high content of dietary fiber may also contribute to a healthy colon and digestive system.
Prevents Heart Disease – Due to its high fiber content, eating a diet high in brown rice may offer some protection against cardiovascular disease. A study carried out in Philadelphia suggested that the layer of tissue around brown rice, (which is polished off when making white rice), may reduce the action of protein angiotensin II, which is known to increase atherosclerosis and blood pressure.
Works Against Breast Cancer – The phytonutrient Lignin present in brown rice is thought to inhibit the growth of breast cancerous cells.
Lowers Bad Cholesterol – Brown rice is an excellent source of soluble fiber, which helps to lower levels of ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol in the blood. There is also some suggestion that the oil present in brown rice or extracted rice bran oil may help to lower harmful cholesterol levels and blood pressure, while raising levels of ‘healthy’ HDL cholesterol.
Helps Maintain a Healthy Body Weight – A diet high in dietary fiber tends to fill you up more and has been associated with decreased food intake and maintenance of a healthy body weight. Brown rice is an excellent source of dietary fiber, and also has a lower glycemic index than white rice, meaning it will generally cause a more stable and long lasting rise in blood sugar levels. This also contributes to keeping you fuller for longer and less likely to need snacks or overeat.
Helps in Healthy Bowel Function – Brown rice also contains good amounts of insoluble fiber that stays in the gut and aids digestion and excretion. This type of fiber attracts water to the gut and in this way causes more fluid bowel movements and prevents constipation.
Controls Blood Sugar Levels – The fiber in brown rice stretches the digestion time of carbohydrate than more processed grains, including white rice. This means that there is a more controlled slower release of sugar into the blood stream and the product has a lower glycemic index (GI) than other grains. A diet rich in high fiber foods is associated with more stable blood glucose levels, which can help to reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Prevents Gallstones – A study published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology found that a diet high in insoluble fiber, such as is found in brown rice, was associated with lower risk of gallstones in women.
Helps to Keep Bones Healthy – Brown rice is a great source of magnesium, which is thought to be a key nutrient needed for healthy bones along with calcium and vitamin D. Magnesium is a key nutrient required to build bones and deficiency has been associated with low bone density and osteoporosis later in life. One cup of brown rice contains about 21% of your daily magnesium requirements.
A Perfect Baby Food – Brown rice cereal or brown rice itself is the perfect baby’s first food due to the dense natural nutrition and fiber it contains. This is a much better choice than refined white rice cereal products as rapidly growing babies and toddlers require nutrient rich diets to help maintain rapid growth cycles.
Brown rice is simply delicious and a fantastic staple for both non-vegetarian and vegan diets. It is a nutritious and tasty alternative to white rice and when used in combination with a healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and healthy fats may help to protect against multiple lifestyle diseases. It may also assist with weight loss and keep you feeling and looking great.