Rice is a common staple food not only in India, China, or Japan but also in a lot of other countries around the globe. Due to its variety and versatility of use, it can be a great source of nutrients. People enjoy it with salads, different sorts of meat and add it in delicious sushi recipes. Many prefer either white or brown rice. Both of them have nutrients to sustain our body.
This article is about the advantages and disadvantages of eating brown rice.
Is It Ok To Eat Brown Rice Everyday?
Most kinds of rice start as brown rice. This whole-grain product is a healthy choice due to how it’s processed. When most rice goes through processing to become white rice, the hull, bran, and germ are removed. But when brown rice goes through processing, only the hull is removed, leaving the bran and germ with the grain. The bran and germ contain many nutritional properties. They are a source of fiber that is beneficial to our heart, bowel health, and muscle strength (7).
Making brown rice a part of your diet is ideal as it’s nutrition can bring many healthy benefits to your body:
- Due to its manganese and fiber content, brown rice helps control blood sugar levels. The point is that if you substitute processed white rice with whole grain brown rice it may help control type 2 diabetes and stabilize blood sugar levels. White rice, on the contrary, is higher on the glycemic index, meaning that it increases blood sugar levels faster than brown. Both white rice and brown rice are high in carbs, but brown rice is a better choice when it comes to blood sugar control (3).
One way to increase the resistant starch content of food is to cool down after cooking it. Resistant starches act in a similar way to fiber in that they are not absorbed into the bloodstream but fermented in the gut by friendly bacteria. Before eating brown rice, try cooking it a day ahead and keep it in a fridge, then reheat it the next day.
- The second reason why consuming brown rice daily is beneficial lies in the fiber content. Fiber is a useful element for keeping healthy digestion. We all know that a healthy digestive system is very important (5). If you are trying to lose weight, fiber keeps you full for a long period of time. This allows you to consume fewer calories. The last great but not the least important thing about fiber is that it helps people avoid constipation and regulate their bowel movements.
- Eating brown rice daily provides you with the B vitamins, iron, and magnesium that aid the immune system and many other body functions.
- The daily consumption of brown rice is a concern, especially for pregnant women and young children due to the arsenic in it. Arsenic is a heavy metal that the body collects over time and can’t expel (3). Arsenic is toxic and has been linked to cancer, and possible adverse pregnancy outcomes. Several foods we eat contain small amounts of arsenic, and rice tends to absorb it from the soil more readily than other crops. Brown rice may contain more aresenic than white. Based on published research and the FDA’s findings, it is suggested that pregnant women and young children can consume rice, but that it would also be prudent to consume a variety of different grains as well. You may also be able to reduce the arsenic content of your rice by cooking it in excess water and then draining it.
So yes, brown rice is good for you, your waistline, and your gut health, but rather than eat it every day, you might want to mix it up with other whole grains like wheat, barley, oats, and others.
What Are The Advantages And Disadvantages Of Eating Brown Rice?
Brown rice is a beneficial non-processed whole grain for your body and by adding it to your meals you can help yourself get all the essential vitamins and minerals.
Next, we are going to reveal the advantages and disadvantages of eating brown rice.
Brown Rice Benefits
- Packed with essential nutrients. Being rich in fiber and oxidants, brown rice can help enrich your body with necessary minerals and vitamins.
- Brown rice is rich in selenium. This element has a major amount of benefits:
- It acts as an antioxidant that prevents cell damage.
- Might reduce the risk of cancer.
- May help people with mental decline.
- Selenium may also be helpful in reducing asthma symptoms.
Therefore, consuming brown rice may be beneficial to both your mental and physical health.
- Brown rice is a good source of folate which is vital to all people, especially pregnant women or those who are planning a pregnancy. Folate helps create DNA and other genetic material, and is essential for the formation of the fetal neural tube.
- Brown rice may reduce heart diseases. An analysis of 45 studies found that people who consumed whole grains mostly, including brown rice, had a lower risk of heart disease incidence and mortality than people who ate them less (8). In addition to this, whole grains, like brown rice, are said to help lower “bad” cholesterol and increase “good” cholesterol.
- Another great benefit of brown rice is that it contains the magnesium that is vital in synthesizing fats in our body. It is also beneficial to the reproductive and nervous systems. Magnesium may also help prevent migraine attacks for some people. This element is great for our bones because it keeps them strong and healthy.
- As was mentioned earlier, a lot of people switch to a brown rice diet because whole grains are helpful for weight loss. When we consume brown rice we feel full for a longer period of time, compared to white rice. Therefore, we may eat less food and calories.
- Brown rice has one powerful component – lignans, which may aid in reducing heart disease risks. Lignan-rich food like whole grains, sesame seeds, and nuts may help lower blood pressure and reduce cholesterol. Eating food with this nutrient will guarantee not only a delicious meal but a whole pack of essential nutrients.
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Dangers Of Brown Rice
Even though brown rice seems to be packed with a large number of nutrients that are kept in the bran layer, it also has its downsides.
- Brown rice has an anti-nutrient called phytic acid. This component can be found in seeds, nuts, legumes, or whole grains like brown rice. Phytic acid may affect our body negatively because it blocks the absorption of zinc, magnesium, and calcium in the human body. However, the nutritional benefits of these healthy foods tend to outweigh any downsides from the phytic acid.
To lower the amount of phytic acid, you can soak, ferment or sprout rice before cooking it. This may help improve the absorption of minerals in your body.
- Being a whole grain, brown rice keeps us full faster than other food. This is great for people who are craving to lose weight. However, that might be problematic if you are trying to gain weight.
- Another danger of brown rice is that it contains arsenic which is taken from water and soil. Brown rice tends to have more arsenic than white. It is safe to consume rice, as discussed earlier, but it is also advisable to vary your diet with other whole grains as well. Talk to your doctor if you have concerns.
How Much Brown Rice Should I Eat A Day?
Brown rice without any doubt has more advantages than disadvantages. It is processed less than other types of rice, retaining more nutrients inside. Still, it is not advisable to over consume it because of its potential arsenic content.
As you now know brown rice is rich in the elements that aid sustain a healthy weight, reduce blood sugar levels and eliminate heart issues.
Besides a large number of nutrients and minerals, brown rice has another advantage. It is versatile which means you can consume it at any time of the day. If you enjoy eating brown rice and want to make it part of your daily meals then you might as well stick to a couple of rules:
- Start with one cup of brown rice as a serving size. One cup equities to 2 ounces. A cup of brown rice has 218 calories, according to the USDA Nutrient Data Laboratory. The 1 cup serving also gives you 46 g of carbohydrates, less than 2 grams of fat, and almost 5 grams of protein (6).
- Before cooking brown rice, soak it in water to lower the amount of phytic acid. You can also cook it in excess water and then drain it to reduce the arsenic content.
- Consume rice with vegetables, meat, and beans. In this way you will get a more balanced and nutritious meal.
- There is long-cooking brown rice which you should cook for 45 minutes and quick-cooking brown rice which you can cook in 10-15 minutes.
Is Brown Rice Healthier Than White?
Brown rice doesn’t go through the milling process during which husk, bran, and germ are removed. Rice processing makes it less nutritious and lowers the number of fiber, vitamins and minerals. People think that brown rice is healthier than white. But is it really true? Lets’ find out.
Brown Rice Vs White Rice
Brown and white rice are packed with carbohydrates. Being whole grain brown rice retains more nutrients than white rice. This is because it contains all the necessary parts of the grain: the nutritious germ, fibrous bran, and carb-rich endosperm (3). Whole grains in general help reduce “bad cholesterol”, lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of stroke and other heart diseases. This gives brown rice a great benefit.
White rice has the germ and bran removed during processing. That is why it has fewer necessary nutrients.
Brown rice is richer in fiber than white rice. This nutrient brings a large number of benefits to our body:
- It relieves constipation;
- Lowers the risks of stroke and other heart diseases;
- Reduces cholesterol levels;
- Helps you control blood sugar levels which leads to fewer risks of diabetes.
As was mentioned above brown rice is a source of important minerals selenium, manganese, folate, and magnesium. These components are vital to your body because:
- They help you convert nutrients into energy;
- Support your immune system and help protect your cells from damage;
- Help you develop healthy and strong bones;
- Regulate blood pressure;
- They help make DNA and new blood cells.
Brown rice is definitely more nutritious than white rice. It is a source of vitamins and minerals that support our health. However, it is recommended to talk to your dietitian before adding brown rice to your daily diet, especially if you have concerns about the arsenic content.
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Which One Is Healthier – Basmati Rice Or Brown Rice?
Basmati rice is commonly used in South Asian and Indian cuisines. It can be either of brown or white variety. People who purchase different kinds of rice rarely wonder which of them is healthier. Today you will learn more about basmati rice and its benefits above other kinds.
- Basmati is nutritionally similar to other types of white rice, and brown basmati is similar to other types of brown rice.
- The primary basmati rice benefit is that it contains less arsenic than brown rice. We are aware that arsenic negatively affects our health by increasing the risk of cancer. Brown rice, on the contrary, has a higher level of arsenic inside which makes it more harmful to your health. Some studies have found that the lowest levels of arsenic are in basmati rice from California, India, or Pakistan (2).
- Brown basmati rice is considered to be a whole grain which means it contains germ, bran, and endosperm. Whole grain consumption can help reduce the risk of heart disease and other chronic diseases.
White basmati, like other types of white rice, is higher on the glycemic index and not as helpful for blood sugar control.
- More on this, a study of over 10,000 people in Korea connected dietary patterns that included white rice to a higher risk of obesity (1). This might be partly due to the lower fiber content of white rice compared to brown.
Overall, basmati is an aromatic rice that is full of essential nutrients. It has a lower level of arsenic compared to other types of rice.
However, it is better to opt for brown basmati since it contains more minerals and vitamins. White basmati has the same downsides as other refined grains.
How Can I Add Brown Rice To My Diet?
As you have now learned, brown rice is a versatile product enriched with an impressive amount of healthy ingredients. Now you might be wondering how to make brown rice part of your meals. Here are a couple of tips you can use to add rice to your food:
- Boil brown rice and serve it with eggs, avocadoes, and beans for breakfast;
- Are you a porridge lover? Then you can make a brown rice porridge instead of the usual oatmeal;
- Brown rice tastes especially great with fried chicken filet and a veggie salad. A perfect choice for lunch;
- You can make energy bars with brown rice;
- If you enjoy eating sushi then you can ask a waiter to prepare sushi with brown rice;
- Spicy curry with brown rice is going to enrich your body with more fiber content;
- Try risotto with brown rice instead of arborio rice. The taste will be slightly different but not less delicious.
There are far more ways you can add brown rice to your meals. These nutritious whole grain meals can be served for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
The Bottom Line
Brown rice is a nutritious whole grain product enriched with vitamins and minerals. Brown rice could be a great addition to your meals because it helps regulate weight and blood sugar levels, and may lower the risk of heart diseases and diabetes.
Please note, it has a few elements which could have an adverse effect on our health. Therefore, pregnant or breastfeeding women should consult a specialist before consuming brown rice daily.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- A rice-based traditional dietary pattern is associated with obesity in Korean adults (2012, nih.gov)
- Arsenic and Rice: Translating Research to Address Health Care Providers’ Needs (2016, nlm.nih.gov)
- Brown Vs. White Rice —Is One Better for Your Health? (2021, healthline.com)
- Phytic Acid in Brown Rice Can Be Reduced by Increasing Soaking Temperature (2021, nlm.nih.gov)
- Top 5 Advantages & Disadvantages of Eating Brown Rice (2015, topcount.co)
- USDA Nutrient Data Laboratory: Brown rice, cooked (2019, usda.gov)
- What Happens If You Eat Brown Rice Everyday (2021, indiatimes.com)
- Whole grain consumption and risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and all cause and cause specific mortality: systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis of prospective studies (2016, bmj.com)