Health benefits of brown rice
Posted on February 27th, 2018

Dr Hector Perera             London

Energy means money that one has to spend to get them. Gas and electric are the main sources of energy in most countries unlike in the past. In the past back in Sri Lanka they used firewood stoves to cook and still some countries they use these resources for energy for cooking. I am cannot advice how to save energy in firewood stove cooking. I have cooked for a short time on firewood stoves, what can I say? The smoke, dust, ash and the heat given out while cooking is far too much to describe here.

Majority of the Sri Lankans eat rice and curries at least once a day. There are plenty of varieties of rice including brown and white rice and they all need different times to cook. One needs to experiment and see how long it will take to cook then need to adjust the time as required to cook a particular brand of rice. Some rice grains have no surface protective coating so they might take a shorter time to cook. Brown rice usually takes a little bit of more time than rice with no surface coating.

What Is Brown Rice?

Brown rice is an unrefined and unpolished whole grain which is produced by removing the surrounding hull of the rice kernel. Its grain retains its nutrient-dense bran and germ layer. It is chewier as compared to white rice and has a nutty flavour.

Germinated Brown Rice

Germinated brown rice, also known as ‘sprouted brown rice’, is another popular form of brown rice attributing to its high nutritional value. The high nourishing content of the germinated brown rice is due to the presence of gama-aminobutyric acid (GABA). The germinated form can be obtained by soaking and sprouting of the brown rice in water for a specified number of hours. This method has been considered best for obtaining the maximum amount of GABA and elevating the levels of proteins and good enzymes in the germinated brown rice. The process of germination also leads to significant increase in essential components such as frolic acid, lysine, magnesium, potassium, vitamin E, niacin, vitamin B 6, thiamine, and dietary fibre in the brown rice. These nutrients aid in better absorption during digestion and prevent intestinal irritations, inflammations, and allergies. It can be stored in dried form to increase its shelf life without affecting its advanced nutritional worth.

Why we tempt to eat Brown Rice?

Most of us are aware of the fact that brown rice is better than white rice. The reason that makes it stand out is the quality and quantity of nutrients it offers. The process of milling that converts brown rice into white rice strips away most of its nutritional value then they use the stripped out brown layer to feed the animals such as cattle and chickens. Brown rice thus retains its immense treasure of healthful constituents. There are many varieties of brown rice available in even in supermarkets in Colombo. Brown rice with their unique flavour, aromatic components, and varied concentration of fatty acids.

Varieties of brown rice such as Jasmine or Basmati still contain their germ and bran layers, meaning they provide fitness buffs with a range of important nutrients including B vitamins, bone-building phosphorus, and magnesium. Although data shows that about half of all Americans don’t consume their daily quota of magnesium, this mineral is needed for proper muscle functioning. Low levels of magnesium may also contribute to or at least predict heart disease.

 The basics on how to cook brown rice; there’s not much to it!
The amount of water recommended for cooking long- and medium-grain brown rice varies depending on the source, from as little as 1½ parts water to as much as 3 parts water per 1 part rice. I’ve always preferred 2 1/2 parts water to 1 part rice. For example, 2 1/2 cups water to 1 cup rice. Remember to rinse the rice well before cooking. Combine in a medium saucepan with the water. Bring to a slow boil, then lower the heat, Cover (leave lid ajar) and simmer for 30 minutes, or until the water is absorbed. If the rice isn’t tender to your liking at this point, add 1/2 cup additional water and continue to simmer until it’s absorbed.

Brown rice gets its colour, flavour and texture from the bran layers that remain on the rice when it goes through the hulling process. It’s milled for less time than white rice, which is why it retains the bran layers and is known for being a healthy source of fibre and for its chewy texture and nut-like flavour. There are four different types of brown rice — short grain, medium grain, long grain and light brown — and each takes a different amount of times to cook.

Health Benefits of Brown Rice

Introduction of brown rice in the diet brings tremendous health benefits.

Controls Diabetes

Brown rice is beneficial for diabetics and hyperglycaemic individuals. It has a low glycaemic index which is helpful in reducing insulin surges and assists in the stabilization of blood sugar levels in the body. A comparative study conducted in this regard revealed that it is rich in phytic acid, fibre, and essential polyphenols. It is a complex carbohydrate which helps in the slower release of sugar as compared to white rice. The American diabetes association also recommends choosing nutrient-dense brown rice over white rice for diabetics in order to accomplish the requirement of essential vitamins, fibre, and minerals in their diet.

Antioxidant Activity

Brown rice is rich in powerful antioxidants which protect against damage caused by oxygen free radicals. It contains an important antioxidant enzyme called superoxide dismutase which protects the cells from oxidation damage during energy production. A comparative study involving white and brown rice suggested that brown rice exhibits superior radical scavenging activity and aids in the prevention of various oxidation-mediated diseases such as coronary heart diseases.

Prevents Obesity

Brown rice is instrumental in weight control for people combating obesity. It contains manganese which helps synthesize body fats. A study conducted in this regard revealed that the consumption of whole grains such as brown rice has positive effects on the body with respect to reduction in body mass index and fat. It also enhances the activity of glutathione peroxidase, an antioxidant enzyme, which helps to elevate the levels of HDL cholesterol in the obese individuals. Another comparative research also advocated the anti-obesity effects of germinated brown rice.

Prevents Alzheimer’s

Germinated brown rice helps in the prevention of neurodegenerative complications such as Alzheimer’s disease attributing to the abundance of gama-aminobutyric acid. Sprouted brown rice contains helpful components which help in the inhibition of a harmful enzyme called prolyl endopeptidase, which is associated with Alzheimer’s disease. It is also beneficial for other cerebral disorders such as dementia and amnesia.

Lowers Stress in Lactating Women

Sprouted brown rice is beneficial for the mental health of lactating mothers. An investigative study has shown positive results in the nursing women with respect to reduction in mood disturbances, stages of depression and fatigue. It has also suggested that consumption of brown rice during lactation enhances body’s ability to resist stress and improves the overall immune defence.

Improves Digestive Health

Brown rice is a helpful staple which can be added to the daily diet for keeping a healthy digestive system. Fibre present in it helps regulate the bowel function and keeps you feeling full.

A comparative study investigating the effects of white rice and brown rice during gastric digestion made it qualitatively evident that the bran layer on brown rice prevents the absorption of acid and humidity, resulting in better texture retention. Fibre content also brings relief from other conditions such as constipation and colitis.

Boosts Heart Health

Brown rice is rich in selenium which is beneficial for a healthy heart. Consumption of whole grains such as brown rice helps to reduce the blockage of arteries due to plaque build-up. This protective action reduces the risk of cardiac disorders such as high hypertension and vascular diseases. Studies conducted in this regard suggested that the tissue surrounding the grain of brown rice contains a component which acts against the endocrine protein angiotensin II, which plays a major role in the development of high blood pressure and atherosclerosis.

Controls Cholesterol Levels

Brown rice is a great option for maintaining healthy levels of cholesterol due to the presence of naturally occurring oils. An investigative study revealed that it possesses hypo cholesterolemic qualities, thus regulating cholesterol catabolism. It contains beneficial nutrients that help in lipid and glucose metabolism. Another study conducted revealed that consumption of brown rice has shown significant improvement in the serum and HDL cholesterol concentrations in the subjects with chronic ethanol abuse. It also suggested that germinated brown rice extract helps in preventing the rise of liver triglycerides due to excessive alcohol intake due to the presence of gamma-aminobutyric acid.

Prevents Cancer

Brown rice is helpful in the prevention of colon cancer, breast cancer, and leukaemia. This beneficial effect can be attributed to the presence of potent antioxidants and high fibre content in it. The fibre content present in brown rice has the ability to bind itself to harmful cancer-causing toxins in the body. This prevents the toxins from attaching to the walls of the colon and helps eliminate them from the body. An investigative study evaluating the chemo preventive properties of brown rice validated that its bran contains essential phenols such as tricin, ferulic acid, and caffeic acid which is present at much lower levels in white rice. These phenolic components are valuable in inhibiting the proliferation of colon and breast cancer cells. Another study revealed the stimulatory effect of germinated brown rice on the induction of apoptosis and its inhibitory effects on the production of leukaemia cancer cells. Furthermore, research has also validated the antitumor effects of dietary brown rice brans. By looking at the various health benefits of eating brown rice, I am sure anyone would tempt to eat brown rice than white rice. Your comments are welcomed [email protected]

 

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