Brown rice is whole grain of rice from which the germ and outer layers containing the bran have not been removed. Only the husk is removed from the rice grain after it is harvested. It is also referred to as unpolished rice.
Most historians agree that rice originated in India or China. Initially, it was consumed as brown rice. But soon man began scrubbing off and discarding the outer layer of long-grain rice, preferring the polished white kernel beneath.
Why should I be aware of this?
- Brown rice is good for overall health.
- It benefits those suffering from heart disease. It also aids digestion.
- It is eco friendly
All about brown rice
There are two types of Brown Rice :
- Fully unpolished - In such cases, the entire bran layer is not removed. The color of the rice is very brown.
- Partially unpolished - Here only part of the bran is removed. The color of the rice is light brown.
Difference between Brown Rice and White Rice
The difference in brown rice and white rice is a result of the milling process. When the outermost layer, the hull, is removed, brown rice is produced. When this brown rice is further milled, removing the bran and most of the germ layer, the result is a whiter rice. During this entire procedure brown rice loses 67% of vitamin B3, 80% of vitamin B1, 90% of vitamin B6, half of manganese, half of phosphorus, 60% of the iron and all of its dietary fiber and essential fatty acids .
Nutritional value of brown rice
Nutritive Values: Per 100 gm
- Vitamin B : Thiamine .32 mg.
- Niacin : 4.6 mg.
- Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) and Vitamin K
- Calcium : 39 mg.
- Iron : 2 mg.
- Phosphorus : 303 mg.
- Potassium : 150 mg.
- Fat : 1.7 gm.
- Carbohydrates : 77.7 gm.
- Protein : 7.5 gm.
- Calories : 360
However, consumption of brown rice is low, despite its nutritional value, because it takes almost one hour to cook and many people do not care for the taste and texture. Unfortunately, once the husk is removed from rice, the bran layer starts going rancid and this contributes to the bitter taste of brown rice. But, Brown rice must be introduced in the diet because it is important for the health. Many low calorie recipes can be made with brown rice.
Arsenic in rice
Due to cultivation in areas where arsenic-based pesticides had been widely used, soil and ground water get contaminated. Researchers have discovered that arsenic contamination of irrigation water was more important than soil contamination in increasing arsenic levels in crops. Arsenic in rice is of special concern because it accumulates in much higher concentrations in rice than other staple grain crops.
Brown rice and health
- Provides all necessary carbohydrate requirements.
- Rich in fibers.
- Helps control blood sugar.
- Helps control cholesterol.
- It is a body building food.
- Beneficial for stomach and intestinal ulcers and for diarrhea. It is easily digested starch food.
- Because of the mineral content, it supplies important nutrient for the hair, teeth, nails, muscles and bones.
- Brown rice contains antioxidants, anthocyanins, phytosterols, tocopherols, oryzanol and other nutrients that have been found to help reduce the risk of heart disease, certain cancers, type II diabetes and aid in weight maintenance.
- It also possesses 15 vitamins and minerals, including B-vitamins, potassium, magnesium, selenium, iron, and two grams of fiber per one half cup of cooked rice.
- Brown rice helps prevent gallstones
- The protein in brown rice has one of the most complete essential amino acid profiles of any vegetable crop.
- The oil content of the rice bran contains several vitamin E components and valuable nutrients.
- Women who eat whole grains like brown rice tend not to add weight. Brown rice minimises colon cancer risk, lowers cholesterol level and provides significant cardiovascular benefits for post-menopausal women
- Brown rice is not a commonly allergenic food and is not known to contain measurable amounts of goitrogens, oxalates, or purines. In fact, the hypoallergenic (low-allergy) nature of whole grain, organic brown rice makes it a grain alternative commonly recommended by healthcare practitioners.
Brown rice and environment
Since brown rice is less processed, it requires less energy and has a lower carbon footprint. Moreover, as compared to white rice where synthetic vitamins are added to fortify it at the end of processing, brown rice is free of chemicals.
What can I do?
When cooking brown rice you should first soaked it in water for 25 to 30 minutes before cooking. This process is necessary to soften the bran layer on the rice seed. The ratio of rice to water is 1:2(1 cup of rice to 2 cups of water). Remember, brown rice when cooked is firmer than the white (polished rice)
Selection and storage
- If you purchasing brown rice in a packaged container, check to see if there is a "use-by" date on the package since brown rice, owing to its natural oils, has the potential to become rancid if kept too long.
- Just as with any other food that you may purchase in the bulk section, make sure that the bins containing the rice are covered and that the store has a good product turnover so as to ensure its maximal freshness. Whether purchasing rice in bulk or in a packaged container, make sure that there is no evidence of moisture.
- Since brown rice still features an oil-rich germ, it is more susceptible to becoming rancid than white rice and therefore should be stored in the refrigerator. Stored in an airtight container, brown rice will keep fresh for about six months.
- A study by biomedical scientists at the University of Leicester has revealed for the first time that rice bran could reduce the risk of intestinal cancer. 
- Rice grown in the United States may be safer than varieties from Asia and Europe, according to a new global study of the grain that feeds over half of humanity. 
- Germinated brown rice can provide medical benefits to diabetics. Studies showed that when brown rice is placed in water overnight before cooking, it significantly reduces the nerve and vascular damage that often result from diabetes.
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- See Brown rice, cooked In-depth nutrient analysis to get an idea about the goodness of brown rice.
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