Brown rice is a food often associated with healthy eating.
Considered a whole grain, brown rice is less processed than white rice, which has had its hull, bran and germ removed.
The health benefits of brown rice are largely due to it being a whole grain.
According to HSPH, the fiber in brown rice helps lower cholesterol, moves waste through the digestive tract, promotes fullness, and may help prevent the formation of blood clots.
Compared to white rice, Brown rice has much more to offer in terms of nutrition.
One cup of brown rice contains:
|Thiamin (B1):||12% of RDI|
|Niacin (B3):||15% of the RDI|
|Pyridoxine (B6):||14% of RDI|
|Pantothenic acid (B5):||6% of the RDI|
|Iron:||5% of the RDI|
|Magnesium:||21% of the RDI|
|Phosphorus:||16% of the RDI|
|Zinc:||8% of the RDI|
|Copper:||10% of the RDI|
|Manganese:||88% of the RDI|
|Selenium:||27% of the RDI|
This whole grain is also a good source of folate, riboflavin (B2), potassium and calcium.
Additionally, brown rice is exceptionally high in manganese. This little-known mineral is vital for many important processes in the body, such as bone development, wound healing, muscle contraction metabolism, nerve function and blood sugar regulation.
A deficiency in manganese has been linked to a higher risk of developing metabolic syndrome, bone demineralization, impaired growth and low fertility.
Just one cup of rice fulfills nearly all your daily requirement for this important nutrient.
Aside from being an excellent source of vitamins and minerals, brown rice provides powerful plant compounds, as well.
For example, brown rice contains phenols and flavonoids, a class of antioxidants that help protect the body from oxidative stress.
Oxidative stress is associated with a number of health conditions, including heart disease, certain types of cancer and premature aging.
The antioxidants found in brown rice help prevent cell injury caused by unstable molecules called free radicals and reduce inflammation in the body.
Studies suggest that the antioxidants found in rice may be the reason for the low prevalence of certain chronic diseases in areas of the world where rice is a staple food.
Replacing more refined grains with brown rice may help you lose weight
Refined grains like white rice, white pasta and white bread lack the fiber and nutrients that whole grains like brown rice contain.
For example, one cup (158 grams) of brown rice contains 3.5 grams of fiber, while white rice contains less than 1 gram.
Fiber helps keep you fuller over a longer period of time, so choosing fiber-rich foods may help you consume fewer calories overall.
In fact, studies show that people who eat more whole grains like brown rice weigh less than those who consume fewer whole grains.
A study of over 74,000 women found that those who ate more whole grains weighed consistently less than those who ate fewer whole grains.
Plus, the women who had the highest intake of fiber had a 49% lower risk of major weight gain than the women who had the lowest fiber intake.
Replacing white rice with brown rice may help reduce belly fat, too.
In one study, 40 overweight women who ate 2/3 cup (150 grams) of brown rice per day for six weeks had significant reductions in body weight and waist circumference compared to women who ate the same amount of white rice.
Additionally, the women who ate brown rice experienced a significant decrease in blood pressure and CRP, a marker of inflammation in the body.
There’s no doubt that brown rice is a heart-Healthy food. It is rich in fiber and beneficial compounds that may help reduce the risk of heart disease.
A large study of over 560,000 people showed that people who ate the most dietary fiber had a 24–59% lower risk of developing heart disease, cancer and respiratory diseases.
Similarly, a review of 45 studies found that people who ate the highest amount of whole grains, including brown rice, had a 21% lower risk of coronary heart disease compared to those who ate the least whole grains.
Aside from being a good source of fiber, brown rice contains compounds called lignans that may help reduce heart disease risk factors.
Diets high in lignan-rich foods, such as whole grains, flax seeds, sesame seeds and nuts, have been associated with reduced cholesterol, lower blood pressure and decreased artery stiffness.
What’s more, brown rice is high in magnesium, a mineral that plays a critical role in keeping the heart healthy. One review of 40 studies found that increasing dietary magnesium was associated with a 7–22% lower risk of stroke, heart failure and all-cause mortality.