November 25, 2016

IS BROWN RICE GOOD FOR YOU?

We’re often asked if brown rice is good for you, and the short and sweet answer is an emphatic YES, YES, YES! But if you’d like to know a little more about why and how brown rice is so good for you – and a much better choice than white rice – keep reading!

The nutrition facts below will, beyond any reasonable doubt, not only answer the question of whether brown rice is good for you, but will also show just how good it is for you. And to make the case even more watertight, we’ll make a comparison with refined white rice – most people’s rice of choice.

BROWN VS WHITE RICE

In comparison to brown rice, white rice comes up very short in the nutrition department. It also lacks many of the basic nutrients our bodies need to function – in fact, white rice lacks well over 13 vital nutrients that brown rice contains, including E and B1, B3, B6; the mineral compounds iron, potassium and folacin; and the known antioxidants thiamine and niacin.

So why the difference? Brown and white rice start life as the same whole grain rice – white rice is simply the after product of a great deal of processing; brown rice is the whole grain in its natural state, with several layers of outer husk still attached.

Processing white rice involves stripping off the outer layers then polishing the bare grain with a fine powder, which is why it’s softer and fluffier after cooking than its brown counterpart.

BROWN RICE NUTRITION FACTS

Compared to white rice, brown rice contains:

  • over three times more fibre
  • nearly three times more iron
  • four times more vitamin B1
  • just over three times more vitamin B3
  • a whopping 11 times more vitamin B6
  • four times as much magnesium as white rice
  • significantly higher volumes of numerous other vitamins and minerals.

WHAT NUTRIENTS DOES WHITE RICE LOSE?

So, it’s clear that the process of refining brown rice into white rice results in the loss of vital vitamins and minerals. To combat this, the last stage of processing is fortification – enriching the white rice with artificial nutrients in order to restore some of the goodness lost during refining.

The issue here is that the process is not that successful; it simply does not replenish those vitamins and minerals lost during processing to the same degree or quality. This is because the chemical make-up of the artificial nutrients is different to those that occur naturally in the whole grain – they are also much more difficult for our bodies to absorb and use than the naturally occurring nutrients.

On average, during the process of turning natural brown rice into refined white rice it loses:

  • 60% of the vitamin B3
  • 75% of vitamin B1
  • 90% of vitamin B6
  • 50% of the magnesium
  • 50% of phosphorus
  • 65% of the iron
  • 100% of the dietary fibre
  • 100% of the essential fatty acids (EFAs).

TIPS FOR COOKING AND EATING BROWN RICE

Make the right choice: whilst ordinary brown rice will always be a better option than white rice, organically produced brown rice will always be the most nutritious and healthy option.

Making the transition from white to brown rice:our top tip here would be to make the transition slowly! As mentioned earlier, brown rice has a different texture and flavour profile to white rice, which can at first be a bit disconcerting. But over time you’ll start to appreciate the different flavour profiles and cooking techniques – many eventually find brown rice to have a deeper flavour profile and is actually more filling than white rice. Try mixing in 10% brown rice in with your usual white rice, then increasing the ratio gradually over time.

How to cook brown rice:brown rice needs more water and a longer cooking time than white rice, so you’ll also need to adjust your cooking methods accordingly. Other varieties of brown rice, such as riceberry, or organic mixed, also have different cooking and water saturation profiles – trial and error is your friend here!

So, to start gaining the undoubted health benefits of brown rice, buy some and start experimenting!


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