Rice is a cereal grain that contains a high amount of starch and forms a part of the staple diet of a considerable proportion of the population.
Global consumption of rice has increased over several years. This makes rice a focal edible grain to know all about. But is the brown rice healthy?
Have you always tried white rice? Do you know that brown rice also exists in the market? Which one do you think is healthy; brown rice or white rice?
Interestingly, rice has two or more types and more than 7,000 varieties of rice, varying in size and color.
Out of these varieties, particularly in the United States of America, the most commonly consumed ones are white rice and brown rice.
An Interesting fact about rice: Rice has been feeding the population of the world for more than 5,000 years. This fact makes it to be recognized as one of the oldest known in the history of human civilization.
Rice is the staple food for the population of various countries in the world. As per a report by Statista, the global consumption of rice is approximately 509.87 million metric tons.
As the purpose of today’s world is to eat healthy live healthy, let’s have a look at a healthy purview of white rice and brown rice and explore a very commonly raised question: “Is brown rice healthy for you?” in this article.
1. What Is the Difference Between White Rice and Brown Rice?
Though there are different types of rice available, each type of rice is similar to the other in a way.
All types of rice have no fat content but are primarily rich in carbohydrates and a minimal amount of protein.
When it comes to brown rice, it plays the role of both a cereal grain and whole grain. Being a whole grain, it is classified as the fibrous bran, the nutritious germ, and the carbs-rich endosperm.
This differentiates it from white rice because it has the bran and the germ is removed before consumption.
This differentiation makes brown rice a more nutritional variety than white rice.
The next difference between the two lies in the cooking time. This difference is quite simple and obvious. Brown rice has a whole-grain composition, hence it takes longer to cook than white rice.
However, the time brown rice takes is easily compensated by the health benefits it offers.
Rice is mainly grown on every continent except Antarctica. So, let’s know, is brown rice healthy for you? and if yes, then how?
2. 6 Wonderful Benefits of Eating Brown Rice
Today, everyone wants to stay healthy, and with the growing awareness in the field of nutrition and diet, it is essential to know the nutritional benefits of a variety of rice.
Brown rice consumption has many health benefits. Here are six benefits of brown rice:
- Provides nutrients to the body
- Prevents the body against heart disease
- Controls blood sugar
- Provides antioxidants to the body
- Helps in weight control
- Acts as a remedy for hypertension
Rice does not have sodium or cholesterol and has significantly less fat, making rice gluten-free naturally.
2.1. Rich in Nutrients
Brown rice is one step ahead of regular white rice in terms of nutritional value. However, brown rice is considered to be a healthy choice.
Brown rice is a nutrient-rich grain containing fiber and essential nutrients like vitamins and minerals. The proportion of these nutrients is slightly higher than that of white rice.
Brown rice is also known to have a good content of antioxidants.
2.2. Prevention against Heart Disease
Brown rice is good for your heart’s health, as it has good HDL and low LDL. But what are LDL and HDL? Let’s understand the science behind these two acronyms.
2.2.1. What is LDL?
LDL or low-density lipoprotein is popularly known as bad cholesterol. A high level of bad cholesterol is a significant cause of the increased risk of heart disease.
2.2.2. What is HDL?
HDL or high-density lipoprotein is also known as good cholesterol. HDL plays a vital role in absorbing cholesterol and taking it to the liver, which is then flushed out of the body.
2.2.3. How Does Brown Rice Impact with Respect to Heart Diseases?
Brown rice, like whole grains, is believed to have low levels of LDL and a slightly high level of HDL. However, it does not create a similar impact on all people.
2.3. Controlling Blood Sugar
Diabetes is a major health concern for many individuals around the globe. Earlier, elderly people were prone to diabetes, but now even youngsters are suffering from this disease.
Brown rice with low levels of carbohydrates impacts blood sugar and insulin levels at a very meager rate. This is the reason why the consumption of brown rice benefits diabetic people.
The nutrient value of rice depends upon the variety of rice and, interestingly, also on the cooking method.
Check the phytochemical profile of brown rice.
2.4. Rich Source of Antioxidants
Antioxidants are compounds that inhibit the chemical process of oxidation, which involves producing free radicals and chain reactions.
The oxidation process ultimately leads to damage to the cells in the body of an organism.
This is why brown rice, a powerful source of antioxidants, helps neutralize free radicals. This, in turn, reduces inflammation in the body.
The feature of brown rice makes it suitable to prevent fatal diseases like cancer when taken in a limited amount.
2.5. Helps in Weight Control
For those with a motive to lose weight or maintain average body weight, brown rice is one of the satisfactory alternatives.
A tremendous increase in weight leads to many health problems, a prominent one being obesity. Hence, eating brown rice can be beneficial for maintaining body weight.
Brown rice helps in losing weight and reducing body mass index.
2.6. A Good Remedy for Hypertension
High blood pressure or hypertension is a lifestyle disorder that has become a major cause of death worldwide.
But, it can be easily taken under control by maintaining a healthy diet daily.
The consumption of germinated brown rice effectively controls problems related to hypertension.
Rice cultivation requires a lot of water. For instance, to grow just a kilogram of rice, about 5,000 liters of water is required.
3. Is Brown Rice Healthy For You?
Brown rice is overall a beneficial food to be consumed. But every coin has two sides, a positive as well as a negative side. Let us go through the two main concerns and the possible solutions:
3.1. Digestion-Related Issues
High-fiber food tends to intervene in digestion and thus creates digestive problems. Brown rice, with bran and germ intact, makes it a grain with high fiber.
This creates irritation in the digestive tract, which creates problems like diarrhea, constipation, bloating, and others.
3.2. Increases the Level of Arsenic
The only concern that needs attention if you intend to replace white rice or any other rice with brown rice is levels of arsenic. Arsenic is a contaminant, leading to many health issues, for instance, cancer.
According to a renowned study, researchers found that arsenic risks due to rice consumption of any type are difficult to assess.
However, this problem can be managed up to a greater extent if the consumption of brown rice takes place in a controlled manner. Especially, pregnant women must be conscientious about brown rice consumption.
3.3. So, Is There Any Way to Eat More Cooked Brown Rice and Still Remain Safe?
Brown rice plays the role of a versatile grain that can easily become a part of any dish. You can incorporate it in soups, tacos, grain bowls, salads, veggie burgers, stuffed cabbage, and casseroles.
If you are fond of desserts, you can make pudding, ice cream, and cookies with brown rice as the prime ingredients.
You can give a punch of puffed brown rice to dark chocolate and many other sweet innovations.
If you are baking and cooking a sweet dish with wheat flour, you can replace it with brown rice flour. You can surely go for plain sprouted brown rice protein powder for making smoothies.
Interesting Fact: The workers building the Great Wall Of China, built during the 15th and 16th centuries under the Ming Dynasty, used a porridge made with a mixture of rice and calcium carbonate as a mortar to keep the stones of the wall in place.
Who doesn’t want a healthy body? Who doesn’t want to be fit? Indeed, everyone wants it.
Health is the most precious asset, and to honor this asset of your life, the first step is to incorporate some healthy dietary habits within the framework of your lifestyle.
Now, the question that started this quest was, “Is brown rice healthy for you?” and this quest sums up the most straightforward answer ever, that is, YES!
White and brown rice are healthy to eat, but brown rice contains vital nutrients. But as you know, excess of anything is harmful. So, healthy eating also involves taking small portions and not exceeding the limit.
Eat healthily, and live healthier!