Brown Rice Health Benefits, Key Nutritional & How To Cook
Brown Rice Health Benefits, Key Nutritional & How To Cook.
There are many different types of rice — including long-grain basmati, black rice, white rice and sticky (or glutinous) rice — but in terms of health benefits, not all are created equal.
According to a study conducted by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, brown rice is the top choice in terms of both nutritional and other inherent healthy benefits. Brown rice is a whole grain, meaning that it contains three parts of the grain kernel: the outer, fiber-filled layer called the bran, the nutrient-rich core called the germ, and the starchy middle layer called the endosperm, according to the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health (HSPH). The outer, inedible hull is removed.
Why Brown Rice?
Brown, unlike white rice, still has the side hull and bran. 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, it can prove a healthful staple given its low glycemic rating which helps reduce insulin spikes.
Unfortunately, all white rice packaging has a label that reads “enriched.” Since white rice has been stripped of iron, vitamins, zinc, magnesium and other nutrients during the refining process, manufacturers must add unnatural fortifications in the form of synthetic vitamins and iron so it can be marketed to the public as a “nutritious food.” Although white rice is fortified, it still doesn’t reach the minimum nutritional requirements for one serving of food as specified by the FDA.
Brown rice Nutrient profile
Brown rice is a highly nutritious food. It is a whole grain that is relatively low in calories (216 calories per cup), high in fiber, gluten-free and can be incorporated into a variety of dishes.
Key nutritional differences White and Brown Rice
Here are a few key differences between white and brown rice. The exact nutritional components will vary depending on the rice manufacturer.
Brown rice is generally higher in fiber than white rice. It typically provides 1 to 3 g more fiber than a comparable amount of white rice. Although fiber is best known for constipation relief, it offers a number of other health benefits which include:
• Feel fuller faster, which can aid in weight management.
• Lower your cholesterol levels.
• Control your blood sugar levels, reducing your risk of diabetes.
• Reduce your risk of heart disease.
• Nourish your gut bacteria.
• Generally, men under the age of 50 need 38 g of fiber per day, and men who are 51 years or older need 30g.
• Women under the age of 50 typically need 25 g per day, and women who are 51 years or older need 21 g.
Your daily recommended amount of fiber is based on several factors, including age and caloric intake, so talk with your doctor if you’re unsure of how much you need.
Manganese is a mineral that is essential for energy production and antioxidant function. Brown rice is an excellent source of this nutrient, while white rice is not.
Brown rice is a good source of selenium, which plays an integral role in thyroid hormone production, antioxidant protection, and immune function. Selenium also works with vitamin E to protect cells from cancer.
Unlike white rice, brown rice is typically a good source of magnesium. The average serving of cooked brown rice, about 1/2 cup, can provide around 11 percent of your daily recommended amount of magnesium. Magnesium is necessary for many vital functions, including:
• Blood coagulation
• Muscle contraction
• Cellular production
• Bone development
The recommended daily intake of this important nutrient is determined by sex and age. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding typically require a higher daily intake. The average adult needs between 270 and 400 mg daily.
Enriched white rice is a good source of folate. An average 1 cup serving can contain 195 to 222 micrograms (mcg) of folate, or about half of your daily recommended amount.
Folate helps your body make DNA and other genetic material. It also supports cell division. Although folate is an essential nutrient for everyone, it’s especially vital for women who are pregnant or are planning to become pregnant. The recommended daily value for most adults is around 400 mcg. Women who are pregnant should consume 600 mcg, and women who are breastfeeding should get 500 mcg.
Also check: 16 Best Foods For Your Health
Brown rice health benefits
1. Rich in Selenium It is rich in selenium which reduces the risk for developing common illnesses such as cancer, heart disease and arthritis.
2. High in Manganese One cup of it provides 80% of our daily manganese requirements. Manganese helps the body synthesize fats. Manganese also benefits our nervous and reproductive systems.
3. Rich in Naturally-Occurring Oils Naturally occurring oils are beneficial for the body as these healthful fats help normalize cholesterol levels.
4. Promotes Weight Loss The fiber content of brown rice keeps bowel function at it’s peak since it makes digestion that much easier. It is the perfect addition to the daily diet for those seeking bowel regularity.
5. Considered Whole Grain Brown rice is considered a whole grain since it hasn’t lost its “wholeness” through the refinement process. Whole grains are proven to reduce the buildup of arterial plaque and reduce the risk of heart disease and high cholesterol.
6. According to HSPH, the fiber in brown rice helps lower cholesterol, moves waste through the digestive tract, promotes fullness, and may help prevent the formation of blood clots.
7. Brown rice is considered a low “glycemic index” food. The glycemic index (GI) refers to how quickly and how much a food raises a person’s blood sugar after eating, according to HSPH.
What’s more, some of the phytochemicals and minerals found in whole grains may be associated with a lower risk of certain cancers, HSPH says. As a part of an overall healthy diet, whole grains may help improve cholesterol levels, and reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes, according to the AHA.
The following nutrients are found in whole grains, according to the AHA:
- B vitamins, which are involved in many biological functions;
- Folate (folic acid), a B vitamin that helps the body form new cells and can prevent certain birth defects;
- Iron, a mineral that the body uses to carry oxygen in the blood;
- Magnesium, a mineral that is involved in more than 300 biological functions;
Selenium, a mineral involved the immune system and regulating the thyroid gland.
Brown Rice production
More than 740 million tons of rice were produced worldwide in 2013, according to Geographic. Most of it, about 671 million tons, was grown in Asia. The Americas were second, with 36 million tons, while Africa was third, with 28 million tons.
Cooking Brown Rice
Brown rice, like all grains, should be rinsed thoroughly under running water, and any dirt or debris should be removed.
To cook brown rice, add one part rice to two parts boiling water or broth. After the liquid has returned to a boil, turn down the heat, cover and simmer for about 45 minutes.
Brown rice takes longer to cook than white rice because the fibrous bran layer and nutrient-rich germ layer have been removed, HSPH says. These layers also give brown rice a chewier, nuttier texture than white rice.