Rice is a wonderfully versatile food and a staple in Chinese cuisine. It goes in and alongside numerous dishes and is consumed on a daily basis by many people in this country. It often saves those of us who need to go gluten free. Despite its infrequent appearance on the plates in restaurants and homes in China, brown rice is by far a nutritionally superior choice in comparison to white rice. Before it goes through the process of refining, white rice looks exactly like brown rice. Refining strips the whole grain of its bran and germ, which in turn hastens the cooking time and changes the appearance and taste of the rice. Most of the fiber, vitamins and minerals are also lost in the making of white rice. The third component of the grain, the endosperm or starchy part, is what remains in white rice. White rice provides energy for our body, but little else in terms of our nutrition needs. Read on to discover more about the benefits of brown rice:
- Fiber: One cup of cooked brown rice contains 4 grams of dietary fiber. The recommended daily value (DV) for fiber intake is 25 grams. Consuming fiber will give your body a sense of fullness, help keep your gastrointestinal system running smoothly, promote heart health by having a positive impact on blood cholesterol levels, and help control blood sugar. It is best to get your fiber from whole foods, like brown rice. This is one nutrient for which more is better.
- Slow-release sugar: Brown rice is a carbohydrate food that helps stabilize blood sugar levels. The fiber in the brown rice allows for a more gradual increase in blood sugar following consumption. This glycemic control is especially healthy for people with diabetes, pre-diabetes or metabolic syndrome.
- Rich in selenium: Selenium is an essential nutrient that plays a role in reproduction, thyroid hormone metabolism, DNA synthesis and protection from oxidative damage (or cell aging) and infections. Eating one up of cooked brown rice will provide 27% of the DV of selenium.
- High in manganese: One cup of cooked brown rice provides a whopping 80% of the DV for manganese. Manganese is an essential nutrient used in the processing of cholesterol, carbohydrates, and protein. It might also be involved in bone health.
- Good source of magnesium: Magnesium is needed for many bodily processes: protein synthesis, muscle and nerve function, blood glucose control, blood pressure regulation, energy production and bone building. One cup of cooked brown rice offers 21% of the DV for magnesium.
- Great flavor: Brown rice has a unique, wholesome flavor and nutty texture. While it tastes different from white rice, you will quickly come to appreciate its delicious qualities that enhance any meal in which it is included.
The amount of time needed to cook brown rice longer than white rice. Follow the detailed instructions here for the best results.
Make the switch from white rice to brown rice if you haven’t already. This whole grain is guaranteed to please you with all that it has to offer!
Carey Page, RD
Photo from here.
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