Top 10 Health Benefits of Brown Rice

White and brown rice

Brown rice is better for you than white — the evidence is compelling when you look at the top 10 health benefits of it that follow. The majority of consumers typically choose white rice over brown because of the difference in appearance.

While it’s true white rice might look more appealing to some than its brown relative, it doesn’t mean it’s the healthier alternative. According to a study conducted by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, brown rice is the top choice in terms of both nutritional and other inherent healthy benefits. Let’s compare: brown vs white rice.

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Why Brown Rice? Before white rice went through the refining process, it at one time looked exactly like the brown stuff. Brown, unlike white rice, still has the side hull and bran. The side hulls and brans provide “natural wholeness” to the grain and are rich in proteins, thiamine, calcium, magnesium, fiber, and potassium. For those trying to lose weight or those suffering from diabetes, it can prove a healthful staple given its low glycemic rating which helps reduce insulin spikes.

Unfortunately, all white rice packaging has a label that reads “enriched.” Since white rice has been stripped of iron, vitamins, zinc, magnesium and other nutrients during the refining process, manufacturers must add unnatural fortifications in the form of synthetic vitamins and iron so it can be marketed to the public as a “nutritious food.” Although white rice is fortified, it still doesn’t reach the minimum nutritional requirements for one serving of food as specified by the FDA. The healthy benefits of brown rice are listed below.

1. Rich in Selenium It is rich in selenium which reduces the risk for developing common illnesses such as cancer, heart disease and arthritis.

2. High in Manganese One cup of it provides 80% of our daily manganese requirements. Manganese helps the body synthesize fats. Manganese also benefits our nervous and reproductive systems.

3. Rich in Naturally-Occurring Oils Naturally occurring oils are beneficial for the body as these healthful fats help normalize cholesterol levels.

4. Promotes Weight Loss The fiber content of brown rice keeps bowel function at it’s peak since it makes digestion that much easier. It is the perfect addition to the daily diet for those seeking bowel regularity. In addition, it also makes the tummy feel full which translates to smaller meal portions.

5. Considered Whole Grain Brown rice is considered a whole grain since it hasn’t lost its “wholeness” through the refinement process. Whole grains are proven to reduce the buildup of arterial plaque and reduce the risk of heart disease and high cholesterol.

Brown rice in a bowl6. Rich in Anti-Oxidants This is one of the best kept secrets regarding brown rice. We usually associate anti-oxidant rich foods with blueberries, strawberries and other fruits and vegetables. Its antioxidant capacity is right up there with these super stars.

7. High in Fiber It is high in fiber and on top of the list for foods that can help prevent colon cancer. This can be attributed to the high levels of fiber naturally contained in brown rice. These fibers attach to substances that cause cancer as well as to toxins in the body, thus eliminating them and keeping them from attaching to the colon wall.

8. A Slow-Release Sugar Brown rice helps stabilize blood sugar levels; therefore, it’s an excellent food choice for those suffering from diabetes. Studies show that those who consume one half cup eaten daily reduce their risks of developing diabetes by 60%. On the other hand, those who consume white rice regularly increase their chances of developing diabetes one hundred-fold.

9. Perfect Baby Food Brown rice cereal or even just by itself is the perfect baby’s first food due to the dense natural nutrition and fiber it contains. This is a much better choice than refined white rice cereal products as rapidly growing babies and toddlers require nutrient rich diets to help maintain rapid growth cycles.

10. Candida Yeast Infections It is the perfect adjunct for candida yeast infection treatmentsgiven that high glycemic and otherwise sugary/starchy foods are prohibited during most candida treatment protocols. Its natural digestibility coupled with the high fiber content can help sensitive digestive systems heal from an overgrowth of candida organisms. Finally, it is simply delicious and a fantastic staple for both vegetarian and vegan diets. It can be used as a white rice alternative in most vegetarian recipes and provides a full, rich and somewhat nutty flavor. Its flour can be used for vegetarian pancakes, breads and other baked goods. All in all, it is clearly the healthy choice.

Dr. Linda Kennedy MS SLP ND is an avid animal activist and nature lover.

How to Cook brown rice

The amount of water recommended for cooking long- and medium-grain brown rice varies depending on the source, from as little as 1½ parts water to as much as 3 parts water per 1 part rice. I’ve always preferred 2 1/2 parts water to 1 part rice. For example, 2 1/2 cups water to 1 cup rice.

Remember to rinse the rice well before cooking. Combine in a medium saucepan with the water. Bring to a slow boil, then lower the heat, Cover (leave lid ajar) and simmer for 30 minutes, or until the water is absorbed. If the rice isn’t tender to your liking at this point, add 1/2 cup additional water and continue to simmer until it’s absorbed.

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199 comments on “Top 10 Health Benefits of Brown Rice

  1. Lokanath patel

    Eating brown rice is good for you. It has fiber, bran oil, flavor, more filling power compared to worthless white power. White materials such as white flour or white rice, white sugar, and white salt are real health problems for most people and this world. Please think about it. De husking milling and removing kernel from natural brown rice makes white rice which we eat. What a shame. Please replace white rice with brown rice. Thank you,

  2. Food Fiber Info

    Brown rice is a very important source of food fiber that is necessary to improve health in general and digestion in particular. Food fiber is a thing that can help you feel satiated for a long time, giving you the sense of fullness. It is able to withdraw toxins and excess residue that pollute intestines and the “bad” cholesterol that is to blame for development of atherosclerosis. Apart from that, food fiber can prevent abrupt drops of blood sugar that cause the sense of hunger when the body does not actually need nutrition. All this prevents overeating effectively, reducing the risk of obesity as well.

  3. dan

    Author forgot to mention the very high level of arsenic found in brown rice. And tells readers that its a excellent baby food.

  4. SHIYAM

    It is very good. I am a diabetic patient and after start using this i feel better. Good product and the details are nice.

  5. Nutreat

    Yes of course Brown rice is the golden rice on our planet, when consumed at right levels it is helpful for diabetic and many researches show that Brown rice is a “Diabetic friend”. You can use brown rice in different styles using “Nutreat”, which has been formulated basing on a complaint that “it is difficult to eat, boring taste, hard to digest”. We have used organic brown rice for its formulation along with some useful dry fruits for diabetic. So now eating brown rice is also tasty & interesting.

    So, give it try…..

  6. Will N

    Are you saying that White rice before it is milled or dehusked is brown rice?Or brown rice becomes white rice after it is dehulled?

  7. Alice

    I am from the Philippines where rice is a staple food. Since I was a child I have been eating white rice but started eating brown rice since meeting my husband 13 years ago. I did not miss white rice at all. Nowadays my tummy feels awful and gassy when I eat white rice in restaurants. I have recommended brown rice to friends and family but I don’t understand why they think it tastes different than white.

  8. Hitesh

    white-rice and brown/wild-rice..They remove outer shell of brown-rice while polishing it to make white-rice..(& probably make ‘XYZ-medicines’ from that removed part..)..You are on white rice feed most of time from childhood until a health problem, mostly type-2 diabetes is detected..suddenly you are wide awake & start skipping rice..(or switch to brown/wild-rice)..but that’s not sufficient..now you are fed with those ‘XYZ-medicines’.!!

    Like we Love Glittery Life-Styles & waste our Hard-Earned money on it, we like Glittery-Foods & waste our Health on it.!! Why not awake in the beginning, and adopt #SimplisticLifeStyles & #SimpleRawFoods.. 🙂

  9. Kelly

    I’ve been convincing my friends to join with me when it comes to eating brown rice. And yet, the only reason they don’t like because it looks unclean. Who wants brown versus a clean white rice, right? But I have long known the benefits of brown rice in the body. Maybe they just need to read this and convince themselves. But as for me, I will always prefer brown rice.

  10. Rob

    I can’t believe how people would chose white over brown rice anyway. White rice is tasteless compared to brown where you can taste that nutty bran goodness.I always use brown rice over white even when cooking an Indian or Chinese meal where it is traditionally served with white rice.I think the same about bread. How most people prefer tasteless white bread over delicious brown is beyond me.

  11. Megan

    I have already known that brown rice is the better option than the refined one. I have to start having them now on my meals. It is even recommended to those suffering from diabetes. Thank you for this!

  12. Tracey from NIGERIA

    Brown rice n basmatti rice are my favs,yet to try it with brocolli sa
    uce…HEalthy meals are the best way to avoid the hospitals.

  13. Oliver

    Brown rice cooks quicker? White rice cooks in like 15 minutes. Brown rice cooks in 30~45 minutes.

  14. Nava

    You’re right, Oliver. I’m not sure why the author of this artlcle claims that brown rice cooks more quickly, and no one has noticed that until now (including me!). I will remove that sentence. The additional cooking time is worth it, however!

  15. Stephanie

    Brown rice must be recommended even more by health professionals. The sad truth is most people are not informed about the benefits of eating brown rice. This article is one way to make people become more conscious in their eating habits and food choices.

  16. Sophie

    I am not really a fan of rice, but reading this I would love to try brown rice now. Thanks for posting!

  17. james

    Are there differences between white rice and brown rice? Yup, definitely.

    Are those differences likely to make any significant difference whatsoever in terms of body composition or health with all else (overall diet, training, consistency, etc.) being equal? Nope.

    In fact, when you really compare the two, any differences that might be even close to significant (for example, digestibility and arsenic content) actually favor white rice over brown.

    So which one is better? It’s a tie, and that tie is likely best broken based on your own personal needs and preferences. The rest doesn’t matter. Eat the one you like best and/or have less issues with eating.

  18. Mana

    Brown rice is amazing. If you change your diet a bit and put brown rice in your diet you will feel the amazing change in a month! it has influenced on my skin and hair as well. I feel really full after eating lunch and I can survive till the day after with a really small portion of a salad at 7:00 pm. this is really amazing. I am not tired at all and my digestion is great. I have no bloating after brown rice. I was a sweet tooth and I still am but with brown rice I feel so satisfied that I do not crave for sugar… I mean,,, I barely crave for sugar…

  19. naveen

    What about the arsenic levels? I have read that it is high than in permissible amounts.

  20. Lydia M. H.

    I just discovered a Colombian dish by the name if “orroz con coco” it’s traditionally made w white rice. I use brown rice bc I feel so guilty eating the white rice knowing how bad it is for my body. It’s good to refresh our knowledge about the foods we eat to stay strong on our path to wellness and longevity. Thank you fir This wonderful little article.

  21. Luciano

    Come on oh americans! Are you kidding me ? Consult with your MD or registered dietician to see if he or she will allow you to eat brown rice ? You guys can only be kidding me . Wake up to the real world . Brown rice is the rice “in natura ” white rice is just brown rice stripped of the good elements just as white flour … So basically if your MD tells you yes ? You will start to eat ? And of Not then you will stick to white rice ? Wonderful !!! So to eat a Mac burger then no need to consult a MD as of course McDonald is FDA approved . These non sense is crazy !

  22. Big L

    #8… WoW.. Basically we everytime we eat “White Rice”… We are feeding our bodies diabetes… Thnks for this.. I will share….

  23. Audrey

    I have replaced white rice with brown rice and am so used to it and have felt the benefits. I should get my cholesterol checked because I had bordering on high levels.

  24. CAREN SIEW

    brown rice can prove a healthful staple given its low glycemic rating which helps reduce insulin spikes.

  25. rlj

    Brown rice is of course better in nutrition and glycemic index and definitely what diabetics should choose – but it still has the same number of carbs and it should be mentioned that portion control is still just as important.

  26. Nava

    Ashley, it’s good to vary your grains. Having too much of anything can actually trigger an allergy. Plus, brown rice has minute amounts of arsenic depending on where it’s grown. So … moderation is best, even in a good thing.

  27. Julianna

    I wonder why brown rice is more expensive than white rice if technically, it requires less processing and no requirement to add anything to it to make it “healthy”

  28. Nava

    That’s a really interesting question, Julianna, and it probably has to do more with economics of scale. White rice is usually grown and processed by large food corporations, whereas brown rice growing is likely a smaller farm, smaller batch operation. Then, too, brown rice is more often organic than white, so that means an even smaller scale. Still, when you consider how much food value can be gotten from a couple of cups worth of uncooked brown rice, it’s still a pretty economical food!

  29. Amber Mayer

    I’ve tasted for the first time 3 months ago.. And I love it but it’s more expensive than white rice but if getting more benefits what matter most.. I’m wondering how many cups of brown rice must consume in one day especially to the stroke person and heart enlargement.. brown rice also good in those high blood?

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