The Rice is Right: How This Grain Can Benefit Your Health

Rice is known to be popular in Asian countries, with China leading as the most rice-consuming country in the world. It is also highly cultivated or imported in areas outside of Asia, and is actually the fastest-growing food necessity in Africa and Latin America. Some people actually claim that they “cannot live without rice”—and maybe this is partly true, because rice is consumed daily by more than half of the world’s population.

Varieties of Rice

Although white and brown rice categories come from the same grain, the difference in the way they are milled makes all the difference in their nutritional value. White rice is polished, while brown rice kernels still have their bran layer intact. This makes brown, and darker colored rice types in general, healthier options. Red rice gets its color from an antioxidant called anthocyanin—like brown rice, it is not only loaded with fiber but also contains iron. Black rice is dark in color because of the phytochemicals present in the bran. This makes it rich in protein, fiber, and vitamin E antioxidants.

Varieties are further divided into categories based on seed size. Arborio rice is a short grain used for many Italian dishes, most commonly risotto. Sticky rice is another short-grain rice popularly used in Asian cuisines.

Health Benefits

Rice can lower cholesterol and reduce your risk of developing heart disease and stroke. Consuming rice is also associated with maintaining a healthy weight since fiber can make you feel full.

Brown rice, as a whole grain, is especially fibrous. The insoluble fiber in brown rice promotes regular bowel movements. If you’re having trouble with hemorrhoids or maintaining regular bowel movements, you may want to look into your diet and digestion habits. Adding rice to your diet, along with a high intake of raw foods and water will do wonders for your digestive tract.

Brown rice is also found to be better for people struggling with diabetes and can help them contain their blood sugar levels. On the contrary, white rice has a glycemic index of 64, which is more likely to spike blood sugar.

Nutrition Content

Brown rice is rich in Vitamin B1, B6, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Selenium, and Manganese. A cup of brown rice contains 216 calories, 6 g of protein, 2 g of fat, 44 g of carbs, and 4 g of fiber. Although white rice contains around the same caloric content as brown rice, it has only a third of the fiber and less protein. That’s why brown rice is the most recommended for those who want the maximum fiber content.

Quick and Easy Tips on Incorporating Rice into your Diet

• Storing Rice: Simply store in a tightly sealed container and place it in a cool, dry place.

• Cooking Rice: Even if you aren’t a good cook, a rice cooker can make preparing rice so much easier. In some modern versions of the appliance, you can wash the grain, steam it, and even cook it in a one-pot one-cycle type of dish. Brown rice cooks for a bit longer than white rice, so keep cooking times in mind too.

• Easy recipes: A quick search on the internet will lead you to hundreds of healthy and delicious rice recipes. Aside from pairing plain rice with your favorite viand, the easiest ways to cook rice include variations of fried rice, rice bowls, and seasoned rice. No matter what culture you’re from, you’re sure to find something you’ll love—from burritos, risottos, to maki rolls.

Article was specially written for www.henryblooms.com.au by Alice Palmer