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.

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Why Brown 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.

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 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 one hundred-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.

Brown rice is one component of a healthy plant-based diet filled with veggies, fruits, beans, grains, nuts and seeds. If you enjoy exploring how to add more whole foods to your diet,  Plant Power: Transform Your Kitchen, Plate, and Life with More than 150 Fresh and Flavorful Vegan Recipes*  delivers a beautiful must-have guide with more than 150 delicious and versatile plant-based recipes for every day of the year. Eating vegan doesn’t have to be about sacrifice and substitutions. With Plant Power, Nava Atlas celebrates the bounty of natural foods and teaches everyone—from committed vegans to those who just want more plants in their diet—how to implement a plant-based approach to their lives—easily, practically, and joyfully, every day. Available on Sept. 2, 2014, wherever books are sold.


100 comments on “Top 10 Health Benefits of Brown Rice

  1. yasmeen

    I am really a brown rice eater and it really feels great. I just cooked it plain in my electric rice cooker and everthing is gonna be alright. it will not take long time to cook brown rice if you use rice cooker.

  2. Pon Kellogg

    I would like to say what I know about white rice, white rice is actually has not been through refining process, it’s the type of rice that is naturally white. The term use on this article ”
    Before white rice went through the refining process, it at one time looked exactly like brown rice.” I think this is inaccurate. Brown rice cannot be process or refine to become like jasmine white rice…it’s true that brown rice is healthier than white rice.

  3. Kifle Nerayo

    I am just researching for the use of brown rice. Per your explanations, I found it healthy. I am going to switch to brown rice from eating white rice. and thank for the news that brown is healthier than the white one.

  4. Sheryl Adams

    My 25 yr old son recently told me that brown rice is more healthy than white rice. So, I decided to check it out myself.

  5. Nava

    There’s always another viewpoint, but the one in the article you link to is very poorly supported, and the Weston Price organization has no credibility whatever! They are shills of the food industry.

  6. P.g.sim

    …saying that “white rice” is a refined “brown rice” is quite laughable…to a person from a paddy planter’s family..

  7. effie pagote

    We have a rice field back home. White rice really comes from white. People plant a grain of white rice and during harvest time it is really comes with white rice and not brown. And yup I agree brown rice is a healthy rice.

  8. Rudy

    We and my wife started eating brown rice and we really can tell the difference. Before whenever we eat white rice during dinner, both of us feel bloated but now as we eat brown rice we can sleep the night peacefully without feeling bloated.

    Thanks to this article it shed some light because of the healthy benefits of brown rice. The only “negative thing” I see about brown rice is that it takes roughly 40 minutes to cook it (you have to wake up earlier than usual lol), anyway, the benefits outweighs the “negative thing.” Thanks.

  9. MK

    @Pon Kellogg. There are literally hundreds of varieties of rice with different grain structure, texture and taste. But the author is right.

    Brown rice and white rice are the same grain. After de-husking and milling, what remains is the white core. It is the milling process that takes away the bran, the germ and other nutrients.

  10. shyam reddy

    The author is right. Some of the above commentators criticize author with half knowledge. Brown rice is the unrefined. White rice is the mill rice after shaving all the beard.

  11. Joshua

    Alright people…let’s use our brains here. Yes…at one time white rice was planted, harvested and eaten as an unrefined grain. However… if you live in a first world country, most likely you are eating a refined grain if you buy white rice. Use your brains… the author is obviously not talking about white rice that was eaten a century+ ago.

  12. Jonny

    I’ve been struggling with my weight for years and in the last year, I’ve been gaining more and losing less.

    I started eating brown rice two days ago and lost 5 pounds. I’m sold! White rice will no longer touch my lips!

  13. ccdirectt

    Look into Baked Brown Rice. It does take 1 hr to cook, but it come out perfect every time. This is the recipe below I found and use. Flavor the water with your favorite spices, more spicy etc. Rinse off your Brown Rice. It will be dusty, no matter the source. Too much oil will make it a little too firm. After you cook it by the instructions for a while, you may want to start experimenting with it a little more,if you desire.

    1 1/2 cups Brown Rice (uncooked)
    2 1/3 cups Water
    2 tsp Olive Oil
    1 tsp Salt

    Preheat the oven to 375 F and move a rack to the middle position.

    Spread the rice into an 8-inch square, glass baking dish.

    In a covered saucepan on the stove, bring the water and oil to a boil over high heat. Once it begins to boil, stir in the salt and pour over the rice. Cover the baking dish tightly with a double layer of foil.

    Bake for one hour, until tender. Remove from the oven and uncover. Fluff the rice with a fork, cover with a clean kitchen towel; let rice stand 5 minutes. Uncover for another 5 minutes, then serve immediately.

    P.S. again for the last time. Reuse your aluminum foil. No sense in throwing it away after one use. I put mine in the fridge flat and out of the way.

  14. KPG

    Article states: “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 one hundred-fold.”
    I find this VERY hard to believe, could you please cite the sources of the studies? Many thanks!

  15. azy

    I was suffering from constipation for over 3 months, I tried fiber products even, but none of them worked or upset my stomach! I just by sudden switch to the brown rice because i ran out of the rice and the store close to me just had the brown version. And I was just amazed by the result. it taste different, but enough delicious! and it really help my digestion.

  16. Dr Petrock

    Just love these comments, so many people who have an opinion (usually wrong). I am a doctor and specialize in the endocrine system. Brown rice is the whole grain, once brown rice is processed it become white. White rice is brown rice with the Bran and Germ removed (outer shell). When you remove the Bran and Germ you are removing the fiber, nutrients, and enzymes needed to help you digest the rice and you are left with just the starch which has next to zero nutritional value. Brown rice has a far lower glycemic index than white. This is why we suggest to diabetics that they eat brown rice…and whole grain pasta. It eliminates sugar spikes and helps to maintain a stable blood sugar through the day. The bottom line is; brown rice is absolutely better for you. Brown rice does contribute to a healthier lifestyle and the reduced chance of forming diabetes, however, that also has to do with a number of other life changing practices as well, not just eating brown rice.

  17. Andrew Law

    Everyone knows brown rice takes longer to cook. You had me confused for a minute. You should fix this.

    Cooking time is pretty much the only reason I eat white rice. But I will be switching soon. Thanks for this information!

  18. Ariel

    Please correct your statement, “Brown rice is the “unrefined” version of white rice….” I grew up growing rice and there is not such thing as white rice is refined and brown rice is not.

  19. Eric

    To be clear,brown rice is unrefined which is healthier,and white rice is refined which is not? I know that cooking robs foods of nutrients. So how do I keep that from happening or at least keep as many as possible in the rice?

  20. ronnie

    Brown rice (unpolished) contains more sugar compared to White rice (polished). I don’t know how to reduce sugar level by eating more sugar.

  21. Andrew

    I am not diabetic and my doctor recommended that I eat brown rice instead of white rice. Btown rice may be healthier but I do not enjoy the taste of it. It chews/feels rougher and greasy (somehow). I tend to eat less when I am eating brown rice though.

  22. Nava

    Andrew, try brown Basmati rice. It costs a little bit more but if you enjoy it, it will be worth it. It cooks to a more tender texture and is so aromatic.

  23. Chris

    I had read that brown rice has
    high levels of arsenic in it (since it is less refined). Does anyone know of a good study on that? Tks!

  24. PD

    To Jasmeen (connect #1:
    I use a rice cooker and the cooking time is no different than when I cook rice on the stovetop.

  25. PD

    To Yasmeen (comment #1):
    I use a rice cooker and the cooking time is no different than when I cook rice on the stovetop.

  26. Cesar

    There are so many varieties of rice. True, white rice is the refined and polished rice but It’s the white variety. The brown rice sold in the US is unpolished/unrefined brown rice variety. If you break the kernel of a brown rice, it won’t match the the whiteness of the white variety. What they sell in the US are polished white rice & unpolished brown rice.

  27. chas

    Most white rice you buy at the grocery are milled brown rice (see above) Brown rice has much more arsenic, alot of which can be negated by using this cooking method. #1: rince the rice off twice.. #2: To make perfect brown rice do not go with the 2:1 water to rice method, use about 4 times as much water. Boil for 30 mins. drain, return to pot and cover, let sit. you will lose some vitamins this is true. You will also knock 50% of the arsenic off.

  28. uzaira

    @ronnie (connect #27) thr is also goog sugar and bad sugar.if u take a good sugar it wil feels u gud,for bad sugar it turns u to fat.

  29. pillabhaskar

    I am taking brown rice very regularly,and don’t feel any strain and stress even worked 12 hours per day. It is very good for students.

  30. P P Rajagopalan

    As a person who has been using ‘brown’ rice (born and brought up with rice as the staple food), Let me tell something – some from experience; some picked up here and there.
    1. Basically rice could be classified into 2 categories and further to two types of each. 1. Parboiled rice and 1. raw rice. Parboiled is a process whereby paddy (the grain with husk in place) is boiled then dried (usually sun dried) and then they are milled. The milling (the machine age way, replacing pounding) could be just to remove the husk or can be more intense to give the rice grain further polished. If it is not polished, the rice is brown in colour and by excessive polishing it becomes white. So we have two varieties in par boiled rice: a) unpolished b) polished.
    2. Rice (paddy) could also be directly milled and here again we get two varieties, polished and unpolished. It is the bran coating that gives the colour and it is bran that has all the beneficial qualities.
    Two things worth mention here. 1. All rice varieties do not have the red or brown colour for the bran coating. The ones with whitish bran could be as beneficial as the brown variety. So what is important is the severity of milling and not the colour per se. 2. The parboiling operation causes the nutrients in the bran to infuse into the rice grain and hence even polished parboiled rice could be superior to the white raw rice.
    The last point, good rice is where the paddy is stored for about an year and the rice freshly milled. Freshly milled is important because bran get easily oxidizes and loses its nutritional and other benefits. People, even Government authorities (India) and FCI officials apparently do not understand this principle. The best is parboiled rice of old paddy, freshly milled and milled just enough to de-husk. Then again there are innumerable varieties (around 5000 strains) of rice and they differ widely in taste, nutritional value and medicinal value. Wetland paddy (name of the strain in Kerala, Kudiru and Orkazhama) is among the best for brown rice and midland paddy, Kazhma (Bran colour is whitish) considered good for taste. Of course Basmathi Rice does not need introductory mention!

    Rice is really the superior grain. But by bad mode of storing and handling, it is supplied in a spoiled condition!

  31. healthy brown rice

    Today, I heard from my grand father about the brown rice. He said how they used to eat and also said about the results. Comparing to the today’s modern diet it is too beneficial … yes the author is right…

  32. alvem m labrador

    bronw rice is the right choice lose weight control sugar hi fiber low carbohidrates is good for the healh

  33. Leon Brodeur

    Brown Rice grown in Arkansas contains a high level of arsenic, which is poison. Hard to BSkyB’s but true, please check it out.

  34. S.J

    Boil 10 cups of water, then add 2 cups of brown rice with a little sea salt for only 30 min. Drain water or soak a few extra minutes to plump and drain the rice to eat. Can freeze portions too.

  35. thyagaraja nc Thyagaraja

    I am bit fat, I need to reduce my weight. whether brown rice is helping or not pls suggest me fast …

  36. Aparna

    Myself a lady aged 47yrs with diabetes , I have put on weight , so I started eating brown rice from today, can you sms me will the brown rice can reduce my weight and cut down my sugar levels ? ……….

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