Brown rice used to be considered a peasant food. It is the immediate product after the removal of hard outer husk of rice. It would have to be further processed to remove the brownish bran and germ to make white rice. With the tougher bran and germ layer intact, brown rice looks rougher and is less chewy and palatable compared to white rice. That’s why traditionally upper class people always preferred white rice instead. Since the value of whole grains become more evident, brown rice is gaining quickly in popularity and price. Though brown rice has about the same amount of calorie, carbohydrates and proteins as white rice, it does contain significantly higher levels of health promoting nutrients.
Good Fats and Dietary Fiber
By removing the bran and the germ, you also lose considerable amount of good fats and dietary fiber. Rice bran oil is a composite of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids which can help lower your blood cholesterol, protect your blood vessels from cholesterol and free radicals and reduce your risk of inflammation and cancer. Research has shown that intake of rice bran oil through diet can reduce your low density lipoproteins (LDL) by nearly 10%.
You also gain an extra 4 grams of dietary fiber in every cup-size serving if you choose brown over white rice. A good percentage of the dietary fiber in the bran is insoluble. This makes brown rice much more diet-friendly for weight and diabetes control. The additional fiber also makes brown rice less constipating than white rice. If you have a slow moving bowel or suffer from irritable bowel syndrome, you can use brown rice as a therapeutic food for your ailments.
Promote a Healthier Heart
Brown rice is a great source of B vitamins and it is especially high in thiamin, niacin, vitamin B6 and pantothenic acid. Thiamin and pantothenic acid can help reduce the oxidative stress level in your tissues and your blood. High intake of these two vitamins can help prevent inflammations of your blood vessel, muscles, nerves and other tissues. Niacin and vitamin B6 can help reduce your blood cholesterol level. Niacin can reduce your blood LDL and increase the level of HDL. Vitamin B6 prevents LDL from sticking together and facilitates its removal. The combination of these nutrients makes brown rice a superfood for prevention and treatment of atherosclerosis and hyperlipidemia.
With the bran and the germ intact, you also get a heart dose of iron, magnesium, phosphorus and copper which are also highly beneficial to your circulatory system. Magnesium and phosphorus help normalize your blood pressure, reducing your risk of stokes and heart attacks. Iron and copper are needed to make hemoglobin that carries oxygen to your tissues. High intake of iron and copper can improve your blood oxygenation, giving you more vitality and better mental acuity.
Unlike white rice, brown rice is highly concentrated with zinc, manganese and selenium, all of which are super powerful antioxidant. It also contents a variety of other phyto-nutrients with similar pro-immunity functions. Brown rice is especially known for prevention and treatment of gastro-intestinal infections. In traditional medicine, brown rice has long been used for detoxification of your system in case of food poisoning. There are also evidence that the antioxidants in brown rice can help reduce your risk of pancreatic, colon and other cancers.