Brown rice is often associated with healthy eating. Brown rice is different from white rice because it doesn’t have the hull, bran, and germ removed which is why it is considered a whole grain. For this reason, it retains nutrients that white rice lacks including certain vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. It has carbohydrates, fibre, fat, protein, vitamins B1, B3, B5, and B6, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, copper, manganese, and selenium.
Benefits of brown rice
Promotes heart health
Brown rice promotes heart health in two ways. One is by lowering cholesterol and blood pressure. The fibre in it helps lower LDL “bad” cholesterol while increasing HDL “good” cholesterol.
It has a low sodium content which is beneficial because high sodium content is one of the leading causes of high blood pressure. The magnesium and proanthocyanin in it also help reduce cardiovascular complications and decrease the risk of heart disease and stroke.
Whole grains in general have a protective effect against coronary heart disease. Studies show that brown rice can reduce your risk of heart disease by up to 22% and stroke by 12%.
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Brown rice has a low glycemic index (GI), meaning it does not cause blood sugar spikes after you eat. A low glycemic index reduces insulin surges and assists in the stabilization of blood sugar levels in the body. It is a complex carbohydrate that can help in the slower release of sugar as compared to white rice.
One study found that those who eat a lot of rice are about 17% more likely to develop diabetes than folks who eat less of it because of sodium. Scientists estimate that replacing white rice with brown rice can reduce a person’s diabetes risk by 16%.
Gluten is a protein found in grains like wheat, barley, and rye. For various reasons including gluten intolerance and allergies, more people are following gluten-free diets. People with gluten intolerance and allergies experience mild to severe reactions including stomach pain, diarrhoea, bloating, and vomiting. Unlike highly processed gluten-free items, brown rice is a whole grain that is naturally gluten-free and still packed with highly beneficial nutrients.
Aids in weight loss
The caloric content of brown rice is low which is beneficial for weight loss. Foods rich in fibre help with weight loss because they help control appetite. The presence of manganese in this rice helps in the metabolism of fatty acids which results in fats being burned more as opposed to being stored. All of this helps reduce the risk of obesity.
Obesity is linked to a variety of conditions including heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, gallbladder disease, gallstones, osteoarthritis, gout, and breathing problems like sleep apnea.
Good for digestion
Its whole grain status makes it a great source of fibre. Fibre helps regulate bowel movements thus preventing constipation. This can prevent colon cancer as the fibre binds to harmful toxins and expels them from the body. Fibre content also brings relief from other conditions like colitis. Aiding in digestion also helps prevent the occurrence of gallstones.
May provide antioxidants
The more a grain is processed, the more it loses beneficial phytocompounds. For this reason, whole grain exhibits more antioxidant activity. Brown rice is rich in antioxidants which protect the cells from damage. They also protect the skin cells which contributes to their anti-ageing properties. It also has anti-inflammatory properties which help against asthma and arthritis.
May maintain bone health
It is rich in magnesium and calcium which support bone health. Magnesium plays a role in mitigating bone demineralization which is beneficial for medical conditions such as arthritis and osteoarthritis. Bones are our storehouse of magnesium. Two-thirds of magnesium in our bodies is stored in our bones.
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Good for babies
Brown rice is a better alternative than white rice-based cereals because it has a high nutritional value and fibre content. It provides beneficial nutrition to toddlers and young children. The fibre allows for easy digestion for children that frequently suffer from constipation.
Brown rice has important nutrients like glutamine, glycerine and GABA which are neurotransmitters that inhibit messages in the brain that are related to depression, anxiety, and stress. As a result, they help promote a sense of well-being and happiness.
Helps fight temper swings and insomnia
Hormonal changes and tension about parenthood often cause emotional depression for pregnant women. Studies show that consuming brown rice while pregnant can help reduce temper swings, stages of depression, and fatigue.
Melatonin-rich foods like brown rice help with insomnia and sleep quality. All types of rice, including white rice, are a good source of melatonin with its nap hormone.
Are you convinced? Will (more) brown rice be making its way to your table?
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