Published on October 13, 2010 by Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, ND
The next time you reach for the white rice, you may want to reconsider. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition recently conducted a study that confirms brown rice as the hands-down healthier choice for your dinner grain.
The Health Differences
Brown rice is essentially what almost all forms of white rice looks like before it has been put through a refining process. To process rice into the sparkling white pieces we buy in stores, first the out-side hull and bran is removed. This makes rice lighter and faster to cook.
Rice that has been stripped of its natural wholeness has been stripped of its fiber, proteins, thiamine, calcium, magnesium and potassium. It is commonly known how important fiber is for digestive health and maintaining a healthy weight.
Have you noticed white rice is usually labeled as “enriched?” White rice is usually full of unnatural fortifications and additives. These fortifications are used because the stripping process removes most of the iron, vitamins, zinc and magnesium from the rice. In fact, white rice is so devoid of nutrients that it does not offer the minimum nutritional requirements of the FDA. For this reason, white rice must be chemically altered with vitamins and iron just so that it can be sold in supermarkets.
This is one of the main reasons why brown rice is much higher in minerals and vitamins. Nutritionally, there is no comparison between these two forms of rice.
1. Brown Rice is Rich in Selenium
Extremely high in selenium, an important trace mineral known to drastically reduce our chances of developing certain forms of cancer, as well as heart disease, inflammatory conditions and rheumatoid arthritis.
2. Brown Rice is Very High in Manganese
One cup of brown rice provides over 80% of our daily manganese requirements. This mineral helps the human body create the important fatty acids that make healthy forms of cholesterol. It is also beneficial to the health of our nervous and reproductive systems.
3. Brown Rice Holds Naturally Occurring Oils
These heart-healthy oils are naturally found in brown rice and can help the body reduce LDL forms of cholesterol.
4. Brown Rice Promotes Weight Loss
Because of its fiber-richness and ability to keep healthy bowel function, brown rice “keeps things moving” in a way that promotes weight-loss and metabolic function. After one bowl of brown rice, you’ll feel more full despite eating a smaller amount of food.
5. Brown Rice is a Whole Grain
Unlike white rice, brown rice has not lost its wholeness. Studies show that six servings of whole grains weekly can lower the creation of arterial plaque build-up and reduce chances of developing heart disease and high cholesterol.
6. Brown Rice is an Antioxidant
Most people associate antioxidants with blueberries and green tea, but many are unaware that brown rice is also a source of antioxidants.
7. Brown Rice is Very High in Fiber
Studies have correlated the high use of whole grains like brown rice with lowered levels of colon cancer. This may be related to its high fiber content. Studies show that fiber actually attaches to cancer-causing substances and toxins, helping to eliminate them from the body, and keeping them from attaching to the cells in our colon. Brown rice also contains the necessary components to stabilize digestion, prevent/relieve constipation and promote proper elimination/bowel function.
8. Brown Rice is a Slow-Release Sugar
Unlike stripped rice, brown rice can help keep blood sugar stabilized as it releases sugars slowly and in a sustained fashion. This makes it a better option for diabetics, as compared to white rice. While studies in Asia have shown a link between the consumption of white rice and risk of type 2 diabetes, new research shows that individuals who eat at least two servings of brown rice weekly can reduce their chances of developing diabetes 2 by up to 11 percent.
I personally recommend using organic wild brown rice as the best option. But, even if you don’t buy organic, just making the switch from white rice to brown rice is a great first step to a healthy diet.