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Rice is a food staple in large parts of the world. It’s a cereal grain that belongs to the species of Oryza sativa (or Asian rice) and Oryza glaberrima (or Australian rice.) There are over 120,000 varieties of this grain in the entire world, all categorized in different degrees of milling, shape, size, texture, aroma, and even colors, with most brown and white being the most common.
While rice is consumed by various people almost everyday, surprisingly, not a lot know that it comes with a host of health benefits. Health information on rice shows that it is incredibly rich in vitamins, minerals, nutrients, and helps in lessening the risks of a variety of diseases as well. Eager to know what they are? Read on to find out!
Yes, it’s okay to eat rice every day. However, you may want to watch which type of rice you’re consuming and how much. Between white and brown rice, it’s been proven that brown rice has far more health benefits than white rice. White rice is usually categorized as a refined grain because it’s been stripped off its bran and germ, but that doesn’t mean that it’s terrible to eat.
You can also consume other varieties of rice that have their own unique health benefits, such as black rice that’s high in fiber, protein, and antioxidants. There’s also red rice, which gets its color due to its high anthocyanin content. Overall, you can consume rice everyday, in any way or type that you wish, as long as you consume it in moderation.
Eating rice comes with a host of health benefits that help the body. Here are several of them:
Rice is a great source of vitamins and minerals! These grains contain more than 15 vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin B, phosphorus, selenium, magnesium, niacin, vitamin D, calcium, fiber, iron, thiamine, and riboflavin. These vitamins are essential in giving the body a strong foundation for metabolism, as well as keeping the nervous system and organ systems in top shape.
It’s worth noting though that brown rice contains more nutrients than white rice. If you’re a white rice fan, don’t fret as enriched white rice has added nutrients such as folic acid and other B vitamins, making the grains still good to consume for your health and wellness.
The body’s main source of fuel is carbohydrates. You know what food is a good source of carbohydrates? That’s right, it’s rice! A bowl of rice can help boost one’s energy as carbohydrates are metabolized by the body and transformed into usable energy.
Due to its fiber content, brown rice is broken down more slowly than white rice, which is why you might notice that consuming white rice will quickly spike up your blood sugar. If you’re needing a quick boost and need an easily digestible source of power, white rice is the answer.
Eating rice can also control hypertension! Rice has low sodium content, making it ideal for those who struggle with high blood pressure. Additionally, according to the Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine, rice that’s enriched with gamma-aminobutyric acid or GABA helps in preventing the early onslaught of any heart disease related to high blood pressure.
As white rice is stripped of its hull that contains all the good stuff, it doesn’t carry any fiber-related benefits. On the other hand, brown rice is considered as whole grains, meaning it still has the hull, bran layer, and germ layer, making it a good source of fiber. Brown rice helps in lowering inflammation, improving gut health, and boosting metabolism.
Among all types of grain out there, rice is the one that’s least allergic, making it a great choice for individuals who have food sensitivities or allergies. Rice is naturally gluten-free, hence being an ideal food for those who have celiac disease as they cannot ingest several varieties of grains. However, those with celiac disease should still take note of the rice’s label to ensure that it was processed and manufactured in a place that’s gluten-free.
According to experts, whole rice grain such as brown rice contains insoluble fibers that can reduce the risk of cancer. Brown rice contains phenolics, which are commonly known as antioxidants that naturally occur in plants. These antioxidants can be found both in the bran and germ of the grains, and they’re in charge of keeping free radicals from damaging the cells, therefore lessening the risk of cancer.
For people afflicted with diabetes, it’s advised to include brown rice in their diets as opposed to white rice. Brown rice, a type of whole grain, has a low glycemic index of 55, lessening the risk of a diabetic’s blood sugar spiking.
From research, adults who have type 2 diabetes have presented a significant decrease in post-meal blood glucose levels with just two servings of brown rice. Additionally, brown rice also helps in aiding weight loss, resulting in an improved diabetic control.
Suffering from diarrhea, or perhaps you have IBS (irritable bowel syndrome)? Rice may just help relieve your condition. Since it’s easy to digest, rice helps in recovering the intestinal mucosa that’s been lost due to colitis. Boiled rice with a bit of oil and salt along with an apple is the ideal food when you have diarrhea.
Moreover, a diet consisting of fermentable carbs (FODMAPS) helps in managing IBS. Rice counts as a FODMAP food and has been recommended to be consumed when experiencing IBS as it has resistant starch that reaches the bowels and stimulates growth of essential bacteria and fatty acids that aid in regular bowel movements.
Whole grains like rice help in reducing the possibility of coronary heart diseases and cardiovascular diseases. Rice is known to have antioxidant properties that aid in promoting cardiovascular strength through reducing the cholesterol levels in the body. Brown rice is great for this as it still has a husk where much of the nutrition is located.
In a study, it’s been presented that brown rice retains most of its nutritional value even when cooked under high pressure. Brown rice is then shown to reduce amyloid-beta in the brain which is a protein that is responsible for Alzheimer’s disease. Not only brown rice, but different types of wild rice have also exhibited neuroprotective enzymes in the brain that can lessen the risk of dementia.
While eating rice may not do anything for the skin internally, applying it externally can work wonders. Experts have stated that applying powdered rice on the skin can help prevent skin issues. It’s also been shown that rice bran can help prevent aging. It’s not a wonder that there are numerous skincare products out there that have rice as the main element.
We hope that this article was able to enlighten you on the numerous benefits of consuming rice! Keep these in mind whenever you reach for your bowl of rice, and savor every mouthful of it. If you’re interested in knowing more about rice and rice cookers, you can check out the history of the rice cooker here!
There’s a common misconception that white rice consumption is bad due to several factors. It’s highly processed as the husk, bran layer, and germ layer have been removed. Due to that, white rice isn’t considered a whole grain like brown rice. In most cases, it is even considered to be “empty carbohydrates” since it doesn’t have its main sources of nutrients intact.
However, it’s also worth noting that white rice is usually enriched in a lot of countries, particularly in the US, and thus still have nutritional factors to it. White rice also has a glycemic index of around 64, which is notably much higher than that of brown rice. Due to that, it raises blood levels pretty fast, associating it with a higher risk of type 2 diabetes. It is also associated with a higher risk of metabolic syndrome, which means a higher risk of heart conditions. Additionally, refined grains such as white rice have been associated with higher obesity rates and weight gain.
Despite that, it can be seen as a better alternative to brown rice in a couple of situations. Pregnant women can benefit from enriched white rice because of the higher folate content. Plus, people who experience nausea and heartburn might find white grains better as it is blander and easier to digest.
While rice is one of the most-consumed grains in the world, it has also been linked to obesity and chronic disease, with white rice in particular taking the brunt of it. Due to the husk, bran layer, and germ layer being removed, white varieties of rice contain more carbohydrates in the form of starches or amylose and amylopectin. However, it’s important to note that different types of rice vary in different amounts of starches and therefore, can have different health effects.
While it’s been said that brown rice can help with weight loss, there are conflicting effects on whether the white type of rice makes a person gain weight instead. Numerous studies show that the white variety can lead to bigger belly fat, while there are also numerous studies that find there’s no link between weight gain and rice.
At the end of the day, different studies show rice, whether white or brown, has a hand in both weight loss and weight gain. The most important thing is to watch your portion size and have a balanced diet.
It’s pretty easy to incorporate rice into your everyday meals! You can acquire Basmati rice or Jasmine rice from your nearest grocery as those two are the most-widely available varieties of rice. Both are a type of long-grain rice but if you prefer short-grain or medium-grain rice, that’s more than fine as well.
These varieties of rice can be used in a host of rice recipes, such as Jambalaya or egg fried rice, or even a side dish. Some rice dishes require special varieties of grains, such as glutinous rice for a mango sticky rice dessert, or arborio rice for a fancy risotto. A lot of dishes are possible with rice!