Top 10 Health Benefits of Brown Rice

White and brown rice

Brown rice is better for you than white — most of us know that! It’s The majority of consumers typically choose white rice over brown rice because of the difference of appearance. While it’s true white rice looks so much more delicious than brown rice, 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.

Why Brown Rice?
Brown rice is the “unrefined” version of white rice. Before white rice went through the refining process, it at one time looked exactly like brown rice. Brown rice, unlike white rice, still has the side hull and bran, which renders quicker cooking times and makes it easier to digest as it’s much “lighter” in the in the stomach.

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

The Big Beautiful Brown Rice Cookbook by Wendy EskoUnfortunately, 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.

If you’d like to add more brown rice recipes to your daily fare, a comprehensive vegetarian/vegan book demonstrating the versatility of brown rice in all its varieties is The Big Beautiful Brown Rice Cookbook (Avery Publishing) by Wendy Esko; with more than 100 easy recipes.

1. Rich in Selenium
Brown rice 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 brown rice 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. Brown rice is the perfect addition to the daily diet for those seeking bowel regularity. In addition, brown rice 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. Wholes 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. The antioxidant capacity of brown rice is right up there with these super stars.

7. High in Fiber
Brown rice 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 of brown rice 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 100 fold.

9. Perfect Baby Food
Brown rice cereal or brown rice 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
Brown rice is the perfect adjunct for candida yeast infection treatmentsgiven that high glycemic and otherwise sugary/starchy foods are prohibited during most candida treatment protocols. The natural digestibility of brown rice coupled with the high fiber content can help sensitive digestive systems heal from an overgrowth of candida organisms.

Finally, brown rice is simply delicious and a fantastic staple for both vegetarian and vegan diets. Brown rice can be used as a white rice alternative in most vegetarian recipes and provides a full, rich and somewhat nutty flavor. Brown rice flour can be used for vegetarian pancakes, breads and other baked goods. All in all, brown rice is clearly the healthy choice.

Dr. Linda Kennedy MS SLP ND is an avid animal activist and nature lover. She owns a 10,000 square foot state of the art nutritional laboratory where she produces nutritional health supplements that are free of animal products.

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17 comments on “Top 10 Health Benefits of Brown Rice

  1. Sam Pedlow

    Is it really safe to eat Quinoa, lentils, chickpeas and other beans on a Candida diet? I’ve been advised in the past to avoid these foods.

  2. Nava

    Sam, Ricki Heller, a candida expert (her web site is Diet, Dessert, & Dogs – http://www.dietdessertanddogs.com) has this to say about your question: There are multitudes of anti-candida diets. Depending on an individual’s sensitivities, how severe the candida is and who their ND or nutritionist is, they could be allowed fruits (most don’t at the beginning, though), beans, legumes, gluten-free grains, tempeh, even apple cider vinegar. The diet I (more or less) followed is this one: http://www.wholeapproach.com/downloads/WholeApproach_Food_List.pdf

  3. Jo

    Is brown rice flour considered inflammatory. I see it recommended on anti-inflammatory diets, yet also see that it is considered to be strongly inflammatory on other sites?

  4. Nava

    Jo, I wish I could help you with this question, but I don’t have enough expertise to answer. It’s a good observation, though, that the web is filled with contradictory information. Best to find a good RD dietician that you can trust.

  5. Philip

    Actually, I think the more common reason that people buy brown rice over white is because it’s half the cost! More people would probably buy brown rice if it were the same price as white. I don’t know about anywhere else, but here in Ontario, brown is nearly twice the price of white.

  6. Nava

    Philip, I’m sure you’re right (I think you meant the reverse in the first sentence — that it’s twice the cost). But it’s real food, whereas white rice is just starch. Here in upstate NY organic brown rice is about $3 a pound, and a pound of uncooked rice goes a long way!

  7. HealthRegards

    Brown rice is good for health than white and red rice. one cup of brown rice contain 215 calories and less fat , rich in fiber, use full for diabetic patients. so eat brown rice more

  8. jean

    i prefer to toast my brown rice in a dry frying pan and when it starts to pop, i put the water in. that makes gorgeous fluffy delicious brown rice in 1/2 the time – but does toasting the grain first wreck it’s nutritional value?

  9. Nava

    Jean, you’re right that toasting does improve flavor of rice, and other grains — as long as you don’t do it on super high heat to the point where it burns, I doubt you’d be compromising the nutritional value.

  10. Delores

    In addition to being so nutritious, organic brown rice is probably the best tool we have to bring about social justice. If EBT food stamps were administered as vouchers for specific foods only — the bulk of which being brown rice, lentils and beans — everyone who needs good food for themselves and their families but can’t afford it would get it. And there would be much less fraud in trading food stamps for cash. Also, it may be possible to put a dent in the rampant consumption of meat, which impoverishes the whole world, by officially encouraging more consumption of brown rice, lentils and beans. Why First Lady Michelle Obama doesn’t focus heavily on promoting brown rice, lentils and beans through the EBT food stamp program is highly problematic. That shortchanges the US and the whole world.

  11. amerritt

    try cooking 1 cup brown rice 2 and a half cup of water in one tsp of salt in a tbs of vinger really good make the rice fluffy but still has a nice bite

  12. AshLynn MFJ

    Hmmmm…. Mommy turned to brown rice nowadays..
    Guessed she made the wiser choice!!

  13. Anuj Arora

    Hi actually i am very fond of eating rice i always used to eat white rice..but now i am diabetic patient so i left eaten rice..so some one told me that i can go for brown rice is it good for me plz do suggest me?

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