Brown rice is known as a health food due to the way it is prepared after harvesting. The process of preparing brown rice involves removing the husk, which is the outermost layer, and then leaving the rice intact.
It contains its fibre as well as the germ where most of the rice nutrients are stored.
White rice on the other hand undergoes further processing, where the bran is removed, to make it easier to cook. That refining process rids the rice of vitamins and minerals.
The nutritional value of brown rice
Brown rice is low in cholesterol, sodium and cholesterol and high in:
- Selenium, a mineral that protects you from many diseases.
- Manganese, which helps the nervous and reproductive systems. Brown rice contains more than 75% of the daily recommended intake of this mineral.
- Natural oils that help to reduce the bad cholesterol in the body.
- High fibre content
- Antioxidants to remove free harmful radicals in the body
- Iron and phosphorous
- Vitamins B1, B3 and B6
Cooking brown rice
To cook brown rice:
- Measure a cup of brown rise, and wash it thoroughly in cold water
- Put two and a quarter cups of water in a pan and pour in the clean brown rice
- Let the rice and water come to a boil together
- Let it simmer and then cover the pan with a fitting lid
- Turn your cooker to low heat and let it cook slowly for forty five minutes
- Ensure that your rice has no more water and then when it’s cool, it’s ready to eat.
Where did rice originate?
Rice was grown in China about six thousand years ago, though some evidence shows that it may have been cultivated in even earlier years.
For a long time, rice was a staple food in Asia, and then its use spread to Greece and India. It reached Spain through warriors out to conquer new worlds and then it reached Southern America in the seventeenth century.
Health benefits of brown rice
Lower the risk of cancer
The manganese present in brown rice, works to arrest free cancer causing radical in your body.
Selenium is particularly associated with lowering the risk for colon and prostate cancer. The fibre in brown rice also helps to further lower this risk as well as lower the risk for women against breast cancer.
The mineral selenium does several other things to reduce your risk for contracting cancer such as:
- Help to repair damaged cells, which can stop cancer cells from spreading
- Helps to eliminate abnormal cells which encourage the growth of cancer cells
- Aids antioxidants function better in getting rid of free radicals in the body
Brown rice is a whole grain, which means that is a carbohydrate, however, unlike refined carbohydrates; it contains a lot of fibre which leaves you feeling full for a long time. The fibre also aids in weight loss by encouraging regular bowel movement and metabolic activity.
The tissue surrounding the grain of brown rice contains a healthy component, which helps to halt the hardening of the arteries and the development of high blood pressure.
Magnesium in brown rice is a mineral known to regulate blood pressure and remove sodium from the body.
Phytonutrients present in brown rice protect from heart disease as well as a host of other illnesses.
Protection from candida yeast infections
Brown rice is easily digested by the body because of its high fibre content, which deter the growth of candida microorganisms. The rice is also ideal for people under treatment for candida yeast infections because it contains no sugars and little starch.
Helps with management of diabetes
Brown rice helps to stabilize blood sugar as it’s released into the body slowly. People who regularly consume brown rice, also drastically their chances of contracting Type 2 diabetes.
Good brain and nervous system function
Vitamin B and the manganese in brown rice help to accelerate the metabolism in the brain. Calcium too helps by preventing the sudden rise of sodium into the nerve cells and by doing so, the nerves and muscles remain relaxed.
Vitamin E in the rice helps to prevent brain illnesses caused by oxidation damage.
Essential amino acids present in brown rice, such as glycerine and glutamine contain anti-depressant qualities, which reduce anxiety and depression.
Helps to reduce the risk of contracting Alzheimer’s disease
Brown rice contains an abundance of gama-aminobutyric acid, which inhibits a harmful enzyme linked to Alzheimer’s disease.
When incorporated into your diet, it also helps to prevent other diseases such as dementia and amnesia.
Foods that contain soluble and insoluble fibres are known to keep the digestive system healthy. Brown rice prevents the absorption of acid, resulting in smoother bowel movements.
When the digestive system is healthy, your body is not prone to digestive disorders such as constipation and irritable bowel syndrome.
Maintains healthy cholesterol levels
The natural occurring oils in brown rice help to maintain healthy cholesterol levels. The fibre present also lowers bad cholesterol when the liver removes bile from the blood (as a result of a good digestive system), to create more bile acid.
Brown rice concerns
• One concern of brown rice is its best by date. It contains essential oils that grow sour after six months. Unlike white rice which can keep for up to ten years, brown rice has a much shorter shelf life. To combat this, ensure that you buy brown rice that is recently produced and do not keep it for more than six months.
• Another health concern with brown rice is that because its nutrient rich, when it is kept in the fridge for more than four days when cooked, fungi and bacteria can easily grow in it.
An amino acid that is present in brown rice, when it overstays uneaten in the fridge, can cause apoptosis, a condition characterized by tissue and cell damage.
To counter this and reap the health benefits of brown rice, consume it in at least three days and throw away leftovers.