With over 8,000 varieties, rice feeds the world! And while we all know 'brown' is healthier than 'white'... we might be challenged to answer the "why" question when the little ones ask. And, "because it is" isn't really an answer, now is it? Get clued in on the lowdown with rice and you'll have a much more informed (and persuasive) dialogue.
What Is the Difference Between Brown and White Rice, Exactly?
Brown rice is the whole grain with just the first outer layer (husk or hull) removed through milling. It retains its fiber and germ which contains vital nutrients.
White rice is brown rice that has been milled to remove the bran and much of the germ, reducing fiber and nutrient content drastically. The grain is further polished to take away the remaining layer of germ (called the aleurone layer) which contains essential oils.
Why Is Brown Rice Healthier?
Brown rice has...
- Twice the manganese and phosphorus as white
- 2 ½ times the iron3 times vitamin B3
- 4 times the vitamin B1
- 10 times the vitamin B6
1. Brown Rice is Rich in Selenium
Extremely high in selenium, an important trace mineral known to drastically reduce our chances of developing certain forms of cancer, as well as heart disease, inflammatory conditions and rheumatoid arthritis.
2. Brown Rice is Very High in Manganese
One cup of brown rice gives us over 80% of our daily manganese requirements. This mineral helps the human body create the important fatty acids that make healthy forms of cholesterol. It is also beneficial to the health of our nervous and reproductive systems.
3. Brown Rice Holds Naturally Occurring Oils
These heart-healthy oils are naturally found in brown rice and can help the body reduce LDL forms of cholesterol.
4. Brown Rice Promotes Weight Loss
Because of its fiber-richness and ability to keep healthy bowel function, brown rice "keeps things moving" in a way that promotes weight-loss and metabolic function. Brown rice makes you feel fuller on less food. A
5. Brown Rice Has Antioxidants
Most people associate antioxidants with blueberries and green tea, but many are unaware that brown rice is also a source of antioxidants.
6. Brown Rice is Very High in Fiber
Studies have correlated the high use of whole grains like brown rice with lowered levels of colon cancer. This may be related to its high fiber content. Studies show that fiber actually attaches to cancer-causing substances and toxins, helping to eliminate them from the body, and keeping them from attaching to the cells in our colon. Brown rice also contains the necessary components to stabilize digestion, prevent/relieve constipation and promote proper elimination/bowel function.
7. Brown Rice is a Slow-Release Sugar
Unlike stripped rice, brown rice can help keep blood sugar stabilized, as it releases sugars slowly and in a sustained fashion. This makes it a better option for diabetics, as compared to white rice. While studies in Asia have shown a link between the consumption of white rice and risk of type-2 diabetes, new research shows that individuals who eat at least two servings of brown rice weekly can reduce their chances of developing diabetes 2 by up to 11 percent.
A Note of Caution
One main reason brown rice is processed is to increase its storage time. The essential oils in brown rice go rancid after 6-8 months while white rice lasts up to 10 years. So, buy your brown rice in smaller quanties and make sure you're not cooking with a rancid grain. Then again, if you're cooking with any oils, you run the risk...
Check out Some of Our Brown Rice Recipes
image: K Tao