Rice is a versatile grain consumed by people around the world. It serves as a staple food for many people, especially those living in Asia. Rice comes in several colors, shapes and sizes, but the most popular are white and brown rice. White rice is the most commonly consumed type, but brown rice is widely recognized as a healthier option. Many people prefer brown rice for this reason. This article looks at the benefits and drawbacks of both varieties.
Brown rice is the whole rice grain with just the first outer layer (husk or hull) removed through milling. It retains its fibre and germ which contains vital nutrients.
White rice is brown rice that has been milled to remove the bran and much of the germ, reducing fibre and nutrient content. The grain is further polished to take away the remaining layer of germ (called the aleurone layer) which contains essential oils. These oils are what oxidize and go rancid, so removing them makes white rice keep longer.
Sticky rice: Short grain rice has a higher starch content which makes it sticker. Long grain is lighter and so is more separated.
Health Benefits of Brown Rice
- Twice the manganese and phosphorus as white.
- 2 ½ times the iron.
- 3 times vitamin B3.
- 4 times the vitamin B1.
- 10 times the vitamin B6.
It is a great source of manganese which is essential for energy production, antioxidant activity, and sex hormone production.
Brown rice has high fibre and selenium content which reduces colon cancer.
The fibre in brown rice reduces the time cancer-causing substances spend in the colon. Selenium has been shown to substantially reduce the risk of colon cancer. White rice has very little fibre.
Brown rice assist weight loss and reduces metabolic problems.
Eating whole grains with lots of fibre, like brown rice, helps with maintaining optimal weight while refined grains have been linked to weight gain, type two diabetes, and metabolic syndrome.
It lowers cholesterol.
A study at Louisiana State University showed that rice bran and rice bran oil reduced LDL (bad) cholesterol.
Brown Rice is Gluten Free.
As more and more people enjoy the benefits of gluten free, rice rice is an obvious healthy choice.
It balances your energy.
In macrobiotics, brown rice has been shown to have balanced energy in terms of yin and yang.
- The main reason brown rice is processed is to increase its storage time. The essential oils in brown rice go rancid after 6-8 months while white rice lasts up to 10 years.
- The protein in white rice is more available to the body. This is important in parts of the world where rice is the main source of calories, particularly since rice is not high in protein to begin with.
- White rice is easier to digest because its lack of fibre. It may be superior for weak and convalescent persons or someone with weak digestion.
Which Type Should You Eat?
Brown rice is the best choice in terms of nutritional quality and health benefits.
That said, either type of rice can be part of a healthy diet and there is nothing wrong with some white rice every now and then.