Brown rice is whole grain rice; unhulled and unmilled and can be any type of rice including glutinous, long and short grain. It has a mild, nutty flavor and is chewier and more nutritious than white rice, though the calorie and carbohydrate contents are similar. White rice had has the bran and germ removed; these contain fats that can go rancid more quickly in brown rice giving it a shelf life of about 6 months. Water management issues in farming have resulted in higher levels of arsenic and cadmium and in some reports also lead and mercury in brown rice than in white rice.
Nutrition: Brown rice is rich in Vitamin B3 (niacin), B5 (pantothenic acid), B6 (pyridoxal 5 phosphate), B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin) with traces of folate; rich in minerals phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, calcium with traces of sodium, manganese, zinc and iron; contains protein, dietary fibre and fat. Several nutrients are lost in making white rice; some of the B vitamins and iron are added back, though magnesium is not and nor is the bran oil, which may help lower LDL cholesterol. It also contains bioactive components, such as γ-oryzanol, gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA), ferulic acid, phenolic acids, flavonoids, anthocyanins, proanthocyanidins, tochopherols, tocotrienols, phytic acid, acylated steryl β-glucoside.
Benefits: Many physiological effects, including anti-oxidant, anti-hyperglycemia, anti-hyperlipidemia, anti-hypertension, anti-thrombosis, hypo-cholesterolemia, low insulin index, neuro-protective effects and reduction in risk of some chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, anxiety disorders and Alzheimer’s disease.
Anti-Cancer: Due to high anti-oxidant capacity, high phenolic and anthocyanin content, prevention of colorectal, gastric, pancreatic, oesophageal and liver cancer, also intestinal polyps. Consumption of brown rice at least once a week reduced colorectal cancer risk by 40%.
Anti-Inflammatory: Due to anthocyanins; suppresses production of inflammatory cytokines and chemokines.
Anti-Oxidant: Due to phenolic acids, flavonoids, anthocyanins, proanthocyanidins, tochopherols, tocotrienols, y-oryzanol and phytic acid; the scavenging of free radicals by anthocyanins offers protection against degenerative disease. Except for anthocyanins and y-oryzanol, anti-oxidant content is higher in cereals than grains.
Cardiovascular: May be useful to decrease inflammatory marker levels and several cardiovascular risk factors among non-menopausal overweight or obese female; also in lowering atherosclerosis cardiovascular disease risk. Lowers blood pressure.
Cholesterol: Lowering, more studies needed.
Colitis: Suppressive effect on the induction of colitis by dextran sulfate sodium.
Diabetes: Due to bioactive compounds like γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA), γ-oryzanol, dietary fibre, phenolicsnti-hypertensive effect, hypocholesterolemia, and neuroprotective effects. Long term studies needed. Y-oryzanol direc, vitamins, acylated steryl β-glucoside, and minerals; anti-hyperglycemia, low insulin index, anti-oxidative effect, anti-thrombosis, atly acts on pancreatic islets and enhances glucose-stimulated insulin.
Hepato–protective: Due to anthocyanins influence on liver processes; high level of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) may have nutraceutical role in the recovery from and prevention of chronic alcohol-related diseases.
Immune: Modulating also due to anti-inflammatory properties.
Obesity: Brown rice and γ-oryzanol may have potential for treatment of obesity and type 2 diabetes. May be useful in controlling body weight as well as blood glucose and lipid levels in Vietnamese women with impaired glucose tolerance. Consuming brown rice decreased waist circumference in type 2 diabetic patients. Further study needed.
Adding Brown Rice to your Diet:
Brown rice can be soaked in water at 30 °C for specified hours for germination to get Germinated brown rice. Soaking for 3 hours and sprouting for 21 hours has been found optimum for getting the highest gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) content, the main reason behind its popularity.
- Substitute white rice for brown rice where possible, even if not soaking and germinating.
- For a simple rice meal add vegetables such as broccoli, carrots (chopped or grated), spinach, onions, garlic, etc. towards the end of cooking the rice; also seeds such as pumpkin, sesame, sunflower; chopped feta cheese; paprika or cayenne, black pepper and Himalayan salt; drizzle with olive oil.
- Make rice salads and puddings.
We are happy to advise you on your health matters.
Lin Bridgeford DO KFRP MICAK MICRA FSCCO MSc
Registered Osteopath & Kinesiologist & Yoga Teacher
Aether Bios Clinic