Health Benefits of Brown Rice
A type of whole grains, brown rice is known as the healthier alternative to white rice, a hot favorite of almost every household. While rice is a staple food in many regions of the world, it is high in carbohydrates and calories if consumed too much. Brown rice, on the other hand, is believed to have more nutrients than the white rice and hence, is the healthier form of rice. Brown rice also tastes different; it is chewy, nutty, and has a different flavor, although it tastes great.
What makes brown rice healthy is the retention of key nutrients during their processing. Unlike white rice, brown rice is not polished, so it keeps the nutrients intact. The current article presents an overview of brown rice, its nutrition facts, health benefits, different types of brown rice available in the market, how brown rice is different from white rice, the daily intake and different ways to cook brown rice, and potential side effects that are associated with the consumption of brown rice. Let us dig in!
Brown Rice Nutrition Info
As part of the whole-grain family, brown rice is considered healthier as compared to its counterparts. The nutrients in brown rice are retained by minimal processing of the crop, and hence, they are believed to lower cholesterol and the risk of health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. The following table of nutrients is based on 1/3 cup of cooked long-grain brown rice:
Energy (1/3 cup)
Total dietary fiber
Total saturated fatty acids
The table above shows an approximate of the key nutritional facts about brown rice. As for the exact nutritional background, it depends on the manufacturer and varies accordingly.
Health Benefits of Brown Rice
Various health benefits are associated with brown rice based on the nutrition facts that are given. Just like every other whole grain, brown rice is also capable of yielding healthier results in comparison with its processed counterparts. Here are some informally proved health benefits linked with the brown rice:
- It Aids in Weight Loss/Management
We are aware that brown rice is high in fiber, an essential nutrient that our body needs to feel fuller. The fiber content in brown rice allows it to curb unwanted cravings, keep the stomach full for a longer period of time, and other essential minerals help the body manage its excess fats and control obesity. The texture of brown rice also helps when it comes to eating a limited amount of rice, something we usually overlook while consuming white rice.
Brown rice is a great whole-grain product that helps the body in the process of digestion. Its high fiber content regulates the bowel movement, helps in the prevention of acid, and smoothens the bowel movement process while relieving the body of constipation at the same time.
- Decreases Cholesterol Level
Fiber is the star nutrient of brown rice as it is involved in managing a whole host of bodily functions, helping the body prevent so many diseases and manages the risk of certain health conditions. One of the most hailed health benefits of brown rice is that it helps reduce the levels of LDL cholesterol and hence, is regarded as one of the healthiest whole grains.
The content of essential mineral selenium in brown rice ensures sound heart health. Selenium is a powerful antioxidant that regulates heart function and reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Apart from the beneficial aspects of selenium, brown rice is packed with nutrients that help prevent the arteries from blocking and keeps the heart-healthy.
- Keeps Sugar Levels in Check
Brown rice contains fiber, essential polyphenols, and phytic acid, compounds that are necessary for the slower release of sugars in the body. Consequently, the risk of diabetes reduces and results in a healthy, functioning body.
Brown rice is rich in calcium and magnesium, two essential minerals that are medically and scientifically proved to be directly linked with good bone health. A daily intake of brown rice can add to your existing bone health and make them stronger, more protected against diseases.
Our body is in constant need of foods that not only satiate our hunger but are also good for the system. Brown rice is a great whole grain option when it comes to complete daily meals. The best part is, it comes in different types, and you can make a whole host of foods with it.
Types of Brown Rice
Just like any other whole grain, brown rice is grown and cultivated in fields. Depending on the processes that rice go through after they are harvested, here are some of the types of brown rice available in the market:
Similar to white rice in its shape and form, long-grain brown rice is chewy and nuttier. It takes longer than white rice to cook and turns out as light and fluffy with grains separate from one another.
Medium grain brown rice comes with a shorter kernel that is wider than long-grain rice. Unlike long grain rice, medium grain brown rice is more tender and has the tendency to cling together when cooked.
Another variety of brown rice is known as short grain; a short round-shaped rice that turns out to be soft and clingy when cooked.
Sweet brown rice is another one of the many varieties of whole-grain brown rice. Ironically, they are not brown in color rather white and chalky. Sweet brown rice is sticky and lumpy when it cooks.
Brown basmati rice is one of the most popular types of brown rice, used widely in the subcontinent as a staple food. These are surprisingly aromatic, long-grain rice and liberally liked for eastern cuisines.
As the name implies, Himalayan red rice is a bowl of reddish bran rice cultivated and harvested in India. It has a nutty texture and a chewy taste, which is quite pleasant when it comes to dressing salads or cooking the rice with curries.
A medium grain brown rice that is coated with black bean and contains white kernels inside. Chinese black rice turns purplish in color when it is cooked and tastes almost the same as other types of brown rice.
This distinctive rice type, known as the purple Thai rice, is slightly sweeter in taste and frequently used in desserts. However, now purple Thai rice is also used in savory recipes, which has worked quite fine so far in terms of taste and texture.
Colusari red rice is distinctive to the United States as it was first grown in the state of Maryland. The colusari rice turns burgundy into color once it is cooked and is one of the custom-developed rice that was manufactured through natural breeding.
Brown rice in long, medium, and short-grain is the most commonly consumed type of brown rice. The rest of them are manufactured through the process of natural breeding, which yields rice of different colors, texture, and quality. Regardless of the type of brown rice you use, they are all healthy whole-grain foods that definitely should be part of your everyday balanced diet.
Different Ways Brown Rice Can Be Cooked
We could go on and on about the different ways in which brown rice can be cooked. For starters, the most common and raw form of cooked brown rice is the boiled rice itself. They are used in lunch, dinner, or in the form of salads with lots of vegetables.
Some other ways, brown rice can be cooked are:
- Brown rice and black beans salad
- Grilled chicken with boiled brown rice
- Stir- fry brown rice bowl with the egg
- Korean beef and brown rice
- Brown rice khichdi
- Brown rice biryani
- Brown rice pilaf
- Brown rice and chickpeas
These are some of the ways you can cook brown rice and make it a part of your daily meals. The list is long, and options are endless. All you have got to do it is to get a bit innovative with your food, and you are good to go.
Recommended Daily Intake of Brown Rice
As for the recommended daily intake of brown rice, you may have 2-4 portions of brown rice in the form of carbs. A portion of brown rice would be the same as traditional white rice, and that is ½ cup cooked or 90-100 grams.
Studies show that brown rice is indeed the healthier version of rice as it contains essential minerals, more fiber, and provides several key benefits to the human body. It is indeed a super whole grain food when we look at the health benefits of brown rice and comes with a variety of ways we can cook brown rice.