White rice used to be brown, but grain germs, bran residues and bran around the grain were removed to make it white. Both germs and bran have many advantages that help prevent many modern diseases and improve the quality of our lives.
Here are some of the health benefits of consuming brown rice compared to white rice:
One cup of brown rice provides 80% of our daily need for manganese. Manganese helps the body synthesize fats that are important for the health of the nervous and reproductive system. Manganese also supports the production of energy from proteins and carbohydrates. Manganese is an integral part of the powerful antioxidant enzyme superoxide dismutase (SOD), which protects against damage by free radicals, formed by energy production.
Brown rice is also rich in selenium, which increases the risk of serious diseases such as cancer (due to suppression of cancer cell proliferation), heart disease (due to its antioxidant properties), hypothyroidism (due to its involvement in the metabolism of thyroid hormones) and arthritis (due to its involvement in immune functions).
Brown rice also supports heart health, reducing LDL cholesterol by 7%. (2)
Another study, published in the American Heart Journal, found that eating at least six servings of whole grains per week slows the progression of atherosclerosis – plaque formation on the inner lining of blood vessels, which reduces them. (3)
Brown rice is rich in phytonutrients that support a favorable microbiota in our gut and protect us from many modern diseases, including heart and breast disease, as well as other hormonal-dependent cancers.
Brown rice is also rich in insoluble fiber, which protects against gallstones. (4)
Brown rice is also great for weight control, unlike processed white rice. It has been proven that brown rice not only helps to control weight, but also maintains a normal weight. (1)
Brown rice is also rich in magnesium, a mineral that acts as a cofactor for more than 300 enzymes, including enzymes involved in the body’s use of glucose and insulin secretion, and therefore reduces the risk of type II diabetes. (5)
One study found that type II diabetes was 31% lower in black women, who often ate whole grains than those who ate the least of these magnesium-rich foods. (5)
Magnesium helps regulate nervous and muscle tension by balancing the flow of calcium into cells, which keeps our nerves (as well as blood vessels and muscles) more relaxed. When our diet lacks magnesium, calcium can more easily penetrate cells, leading to increased cell activity. It contributes to high blood pressure, muscle spasms, respiratory cramps that occur in asthma, migraines, stress and fatigue.
The importance of brown rice for children:
Natural brown rice, rich in magnesium, improves children’s sleep and mood, prevents constipation. But more importantly, high magnesium levels protect against ADHD and hyperactivity.
Brown rice, naturally rich in selenium, easily helps children fight diseases and infections and protects them from asthma.
Replacing brown rice with white rice at home and in your family’s diet can work wonders for your health. So how can we facilitate this transition?
The answer is actually quite simple, and the secret is to soak the rice before cooking.
Take a cup of brown basmati rice. Thoroughly rinse and fill with water to soak it for 2 hours.
Allow the water to drain after soaking. Put the rice in a saucepan and pour three glasses of water (for each cup of rice). Cover and bring to a boil for 5 minutes. Reduce heat and simmer until all the water is absorbed. Remove from heat, still covering, and let stand for 15 minutes.
The result is a soft brown rice, which resembles white rice in texture and appearance.
(1) Liu S,, Willett W.K., Manson J. E., Hu F.B., Rosner B., Colditz G. Relationship between changes in dietary fiber and grain intake and weight changes and the development of obesity in middle-aged women. Am J Clin Nutr. 2003; 78 (5): 920-7. 2003. PMID: 14594777.
(2) Anderson J. W., Hannah T. J., Peng H, Krysio R.J. Whole grains and risk of cardiovascular disease. J Am Coll Nutr 2000; 19: 291C-9C. 2000. PMID: 17670.
(3) Erkkila AT, Herrington DM, Mozaffarian D, Lichtenstein AH. Consumption of fiber from cereals and whole grains was associated with a decrease in the progression of coronary atherosclerosis in postmenopausal women with coronary heart disease. Am Heart J. 2005; 150 (1): 94-101. 2005. PMID: 16084154.
(4) Cai CJ, Leitzmann MF, Willett WC, Giovannucci EL. Long-term intake of dietary fiber and reduced risk of cholecystectomy in women. Am J Gastroenterol. 2004; 99 (7): 1364-70. 2004. PMID: 15233680.
(5) Van Dam R.M., Hu F.B., Rosenberg L, Krishnan S, Palmer J. R. Dietary calcium and magnesium are the main sources of nutrition and the risk of type 2 diabetes in black American women. Diabetes treatment. 2006; 29 (10): 2238-43. 2006. PMID: 17003299.
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