Rice is a staple food widely consumed in the form of various dishes, desserts, and snacks in India and other Asian countries like Thailand, Vietnam, and Indonesia, etc.
It is a good source of energy because of the high level of carbohydrates in it. However, in recent years it is getting bed rep for the same carbohydrates, and dietitians across the world are advising people to cut rice from the food plate.
However, one can safely consume brown rice while still keeping carbohydrate levels in check. These days even dietitians are advising their clients to replace white rice with brown rice instead of eliminating rice from the diet.
Brown rice (Scientific name-Oryza Sativa) is primarily cultivated in Eastern India, Myanmar, Northern Vietnam, and Thailand.
Brown rice is the unpolished and unrefined form of white rice obtained by removing the outer hull of the kernel of rice while still retaining the layer of nutrient-filled bran.
Brown rice is a better alternative to white rice because of its high nutrients.
The refining process that converts brown rice to white staple rice involves milling and polishing at multiple stages, and most of the time these processes destroy essential nutrients present in the rice.
Is Brown Rice Healthy?
Brown rice is an excellent source of essential nutrients like vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytonutrients, polyphenols, and dietary fibers that provides several health and beauty benefits.
Health Benefits Of Brown Rice
Some of the significant health benefits provided by brown rice are as follows.
(1) Protection From Free Radical Damage
Antioxidants like “Superoxide dismutase” and other relevant compounds like phytonutrients and polyphenols etc in the brown rice protect our cells and tissues from the oxidative damage caused by the free radicals, and thus reduces the risk of various cancers.
It also provides several other benefits like improved cardiovascular system, stronger immune system, improved respiratory health, reduced risk of neurodegenerative disease,s and so on.
Free radicals are the unstabilized ions that form in our body during the oxidation process. External factors like pollution and harmful UV rays of the sun also contribute to this.
As these are unstabilized ions, so they steal electrons from the neighboring molecules and while doing so, it causes oxidative damage to them.
(2) Manages Cholesterol Level
Brown rice is beneficial for managing cholesterol level as reduces the level of bad LDL cholesterol and increases the level of good HDL cholesterol.
Dietary fibers in brown rice reduce the level of bad LDL cholesterol and thus minimizes the risk of atherosclerosis a condition that leads to hardening and narrowing of the arteries and is mainly caused by the accumulation of plaque and fat deposits in the inner lining of the arterial walls, and is a leading cause of various cardiovascular problems.
The naturally occurring oils in the brown rice also play a significant role in keeping cholesterol levels under control.
Dietary fibers in brown rice also improve the functionality of vital organs like the liver and kidneys and help in managing cholesterol levels.
The germinated brown rice extract regulates triglyceride levels in the liver caused by the high alcohol intake.
(3) Regulates Blood Sugar Level
In comparison to white rice, brown rice has a low glycemic index.
Because of its comparatively low glycemic index, it releases sugar into the bloodstream at a slow pace, prevents a sudden spike in the blood sugar level, and, thus helps in managing diabetes.
Additionally, the dietary fibers in the brown rice slow down the rate at which sugar is absorbed by the bloodstream and thus regulates blood sugar levels.
Consume brown rice in moderation as excess intake may drop the blood sugar levels to an abnormally low level and thereby increasing the risk of hypoglycemia with symptoms such as shakiness, dizziness, hunger, sweating, irritability, and rapid heartbeat, etc.
Also, if you are already on diabetes medication, consult your doctor about the inclusion of brown rice in your diet to ensure that there won’t be any food-drug intolerance.
(4) Improves Cardiovascular Health
Brown rice is good for our heart and improves our cardiovascular system due to the abundance of essential nutrients like vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and dietary fibers, etc.
Antioxidants and other relevant compounds like phytonutrients and polyphenols etc in the brown rice protect our cardiovascular system from the oxidative damage caused by the free radicals in our body.
Dietary fibers in brown rice reduce LDL cholesterol in the body and thus reduces the risk of atherosclerosis which is a leading cause of several cardiovascular problems.
It also contains potassium, a vital mineral that provides relief from high blood pressure and thus minimizes the risk of various cardiovascular problems like heart attack heart stroke and coronary artery disease, etc.
Other nutrients like iron, vitamin B complex, magnesium, zinc, phosphorus, etc. also play a significant role in maintaining our cardiovascular health.
(5) Protection Against Various Cancer(S)
Antioxidants and other relevant compounds in the brown rice combats against the free radicals in our body, stabilizes them, and prevents them from causing oxidative damage to our cells and tissues, and thus reduces the risk of various cancers like abdominal cancer, colon cancer, pancreatic cancer, intestinal cancer, lung cancer, and leukemia, etc.
The phenolic compounds like ferulic acid, tricin, and caffeic acid in the brown rice inhibit the uncontrolled growth of the breast and colon cancer cells and are also known for their antitumor properties.
(6) Helps With The Weight-Loss
If you are on a weight loss journey, then it’s better to pick brown rice over white rice.
Eating 100 grams of brown rice provides 111 calories in comparison to 130 calories provided by white rice for the same weight.
In the long run, this small difference adds up to many pounds.
Manganese, a vital mineral present in brown rice aids in synthesizing the extra fat in the body, and also enhances the functioning of the antioxidantal enzyme “glutathione peroxidase”.
These antioxidantal enzymes enhance the production of HDL cholesterol in the body and thus combats obesity.
The dietary fibers in brown rice provide satiety and thus controls overeating which is a leading cause of obesity.
(7) Helps In Enjoying A Sound Sleep
We spend about one-third of our life sleeping, and the importance of quality sleep can’t be neglected as it is the during sleep our brain and body performs many important functions like the removal of toxins and other harmful substances, repair and regeneration of cells and tissues, regulation of hormones, sorting, and storage of information by the brain and so on.
Quality of sleep is more important than quantity of sleep because if you are not getting proper physical and mental rest even after hours of sleeping then it is not of much use.
Lack of quality sleep may slowly deteriorate our health with an increased risk of several health problems like obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular problems, hypertension, and poor immunity.
The relaxing properties of the vitamin B complex in brown rice provide relief from stress and anxiety which is a leading cause of insomnia and other sleep disorders.
Additionally, melatonin present in brown rice is a primary sleep hormone that enhances the quality of sleep. It relaxes our nerves and helps us to sleep like a baby.
(8) Protection Against Neurodegenerative Diseases
The gamma-aminobutyric acid present in the germinated brown rice keeps our neurological system healthy and thus reduces the risk of various neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease.
It inhibits the growth of protylendopetidase, an enzyme responsible for the increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
(9) Prevents Gallstone Formation
The dietary fibers in the brown rice not only aids with the detoxification but helps in reducing the level of secreted bile acids from the intestines.
This prevents the risk of gallstone formation.
Brown rice also improves our digestive health and further reduces the risk of gallstone formation.
(10) Beneficial For Nervous System
Vital nutrients like vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytonutrients, etc present in the brown rice are good for our brain and improve our neurological health.
Antioxidants and relevant compounds in the brain protect the brain cells aka neurons from free radical damage, and thus minimizes the risk of several neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, amnesia, and dementia, etc.
Iron in brown rice improves blood circulation and thus nourishes our brain.
Magnesium in brown rice controls the functioning of muscles and nerves. It prevents the nerve cells from sudden activation by controlling the release of calcium in the nerve cells.
This provides relief from stress and anxiety and is thus beneficial for our nerve cells.
Other nutrients like zinc, folic acid, vitamin E and vitamin B complex, etc also improves our neurological health as they provide several cognitive benefits like sharper memory, mental clarity, improved focus, etc.
(11) Strengthens Bones
Brown rice is beneficial for making our bones stronger due to the presence of bone-strengthening minerals phosphorus and magnesium in it.
Phosphorus works along with calcium to provide strength to the bones. Stronger bones are less prone to breakage and fracture, and at low risk of osteoporosis.
Magnesium in brown rice improves bone density, and thus minimizes osteoporosis risk.
(12) Provides Relief During Asthma
Asthama, a respiratory disease that may cause great discomfort and pain is best treated by medical professionals.
However, the anti-inflammatory properties of the brown rice could provide some relief from asthmatic discomfort.
It has been observed that consuming whole grains like brown rice along with fish reduces asthma symptoms to a great extent.
Consult your doctor before giving this remedy a try to avoid food-drug intolerance.
(13) Beneficial For Pregnant And Nursing Mothers
Because of its high nutritious profile, brown rice is beneficial for pregnant and nursing mothers.
During pregnancy, a woman needs to ensure that she enjoys a balanced diet full of essential nutrients as what she consumes not only determines her health but also the health and wellness of the fetus developing in her womb.
Antioxidants and relevant compounds in brown rice protect the fetus in the womb from free radical damage.
The low glycemic index of brown rice regulates blood sugar levels in pregnant women and thus minimizes the risk of gestational diabetes.
Other nutrients such as zinc, iron, copper, phosphorus, and magnesium, etc. also play a major role in maintaining a healthy pregnancy.
Brown rice can help reduce fatigue and depression in lactating women.
(14) Boosts Immune System
Brown rice strengthens our immune system, the sophisticated defense mechanism of the body that aids in the prevention and treatment of various microbial infections, diseases, and injuries.
Antioxidants and other associated compounds like phytonutrients and polyphenols in the brown rice protect the immune cells aka white blood cells from the oxidative damage caused by the free radicals and thus strengthens our immune system.
When our immune system is stronger, our risk of getting infected by cough, cold, flu, and fever, etc diminishes automatically.
Other nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and phenolic compounds in brown rice also play a significant role in strengthening immunity.
(15) Natural Anti-Depressant
Unfortunately, stress and anxiety have now become almost an integral part of our life. Excessive stress acts as a catalyst for physical and mental problems.
Keeping stress and anxiety under control is important for our physical and mental health, and overall well-being.
Brown rice is beneficial for providing relief from stress and anxiety due to the presence of natural anti-depressants like essential amino acids, glycerine, GABA and glutamine, etc.
Magnesium in brown rice provides relief from stress and anxiety. Brown rice also contains melatonin, a sleep hormone that relaxes us and allows us to enjoy a sound sleep.
(16) Controls Candida Yeast Infections
Brown rice is beneficial against Candida yeast infection, a condition that causes inflammation and is worsened by the high sugar content.
The anti-inflammatory property of the brown rice provides relief from pain and inflammation experienced during a candida yeast infection.
Dietary fibers in brown rice improve digestion and aid our system to inhibits the growth of yeast infection.
Because of its low glycemic index, brown rice regulates blood sugar levels and thus prevents the candida yeast infection from worsening.
(17) Provides Relief From Constipation
The laxative properties of the dietary fibers in brown rice improve bowel movement and thus provides relief from constipation and other gastrointestinal problems like abdominal pain, gas, bloating, intestinal gas, blockage, flatulence and irritable bowel syndrome, etc.
Antioxidants and other relevant compounds in brown rice protect our digestive system from free radical damage, and thus minimizes the risk of various cancers like intestinal cancer, abdominal cancer, colon cancer, and pancreatic cancer, etc.
Zinc, magnesium, and vitamin B complex, etc in the brown rice also contributes to better digestive health.
(18) Brown Rice Is Naturally Gluten-Free
Gluten is a naturally occurring protein found in grains like wheat, barley, and rye. Some individuals, find it difficult to digest gluten and they experience allergic reactions and other discomforts like abdominal pain, diarrhea, bloating, and vomiting from consuming gluten.
Brown rice is beneficial for individuals who are looking for a gluten-free diet.
It is a better alternative to other highly processed gluten-free food items available in the market as it not only provides tremendous health and beauty benefits but also keeps gluten allergy at bay.
(19) Perfect Baby Food
The abundance of essential nutrients like vitamins, minerals, polyphenols, phytonutrients, antioxidants, dietary fibers, amino acids, and protein, etc in brown rice makes it is a suitable food for babies.
Brown rice can be easily digested by the babies and is a healthier alternative to white rice cereal products.
Brown rice pudding can be given to babies once they cross the 6-months mark.
Beauty Benefits Of Brown Rice For Skin
The benefits of brown rice are not just limited to health, and it also provides several beauty benefits because of its rich nutritious profile due to the abundance of essential nutrients and other compounds in them.
Some of the major beauty benefits of brown rice for skin are as follows
(1) Keep Signs Of Premature Aging At Bay
Antioxidants and other antioxidantal compounds in brown rice protect our skin cells and tissues from the free radical damage caused by oxidative stress, and thus minimizes the various signs of premature aging like fine lines, wrinkles, age spots, dark spots, and skin blemishes, etc.
Dietary fibers in brown rice help with skin detoxification and thus improves our skin health.
Complex carbohydrates present in brown rice regulates blood sugar levels in our system and aids in keeping premature aging at bay.
The relaxing properties of brown rice relieve stress and anxiety which can otherwise take a toll on our skin health.
Additionally, zinc, vitamin B complex, and amino acid, etc also contribute to better skin health.
(2) Make Your Skin Flawless
Brown rice makes our skin flawless and radiant because of the presence of essential nutrients like vitamins and minerals in it.
The protein present in the brown rice is a natural exfoliator that aids in getting rid of the dead skin cells and also promotes the growth of new skin cells. It stimulates blood flow in the skin and gives it a vibrant and bright appearance.
To use brown rice for skin cleansing follow the below-given steps
- Thoroughly wash half a cup of brown rice in water to ensure that they are properly cleaned.
- Soak the rice in a bowl of plain water and cover it with a lid.
- Let it soak for 20 to 30 minutes. Soaking for such a long duration will ensure that water absorbs as many nutrients from rice brown rice as possible.
- Now strain the water from the rice brown rice. The rice can be used for cooking and strained rice water can be used for cleansing.
- Take a clean cotton ball and dip it in the brown rice water.
- Use a cotton ball to clean your face and give a gentle massage to your face and neck using the cotton ball.
- Let it air dry for about 10 minutes and then wash it off with regular water and pat dry.
Regular use of this natural skin cleanser will make your skin soft, supple, and radiant. It is also an effective skin toner that minimizes visible spots and skin pores.
(3) Helps In The Treatment Of Acne
Acne, a common skin problem that affects millions of people around the world is mainly caused by the clogging of our skin pores by the accumulation of toxins, dirt, and other impurities, etc.
Brown rice is beneficial against skin problems like acne and pimples because of the presence of insoluble dietary fibers in them.
The detoxifying properties of the dietary fibers in brown rice helps in the proper elimination of toxins and other impurities from our system.
When there are fewer toxins in our system, they don’t accumulate in the pores of our skin, and thus minimizes the risk of acne and pimples.
Brown rice is also known for improving the health of vital organs like the liver and kidneys that play a significant role in detoxification in our body.
Dietary fibers also regulate the secretion of excess oil from skin glands and prevent acne from worsening.
Because of its astringent and cooling properties, brown rice can also be applied topically on the skin to fight against acne.
For treating acne, thoroughly wash your face with clean water and gently apply some brown rice water on the affected area with a cotton ball. Let it air dry for 10 to 15 minutes and then wash off with warm water.
Using this remedy thrice a week will show results within a few weeks.
(4) Maintains Skin Elasticity
Skin elasticity is important for keeping our skin healthy as it makes our skin soft, and lack of it may make our skin saggy and wrinkly.
Our skin elasticity deteriorates as we age, and external factors like pollution toxic chemicals and stress, etc also contribute to this damage.
Selenium, an essential mineral present in brown rice aids in maintaining skin elasticity.
Antioxidants and other relevant compounds in the brown rice protect our skin cells from free radical damage, minimizes signs of premature aging, and thus helps in maintaining skin elasticity. It also enhances the production of collagen in the body.
Collagen is an important amino acid responsible for maintaining skin elasticity and is primarily found in connective tissues like bones, tendons, joints, and cartilages, etc.
For improving skin elasticity, mix two tablespoons of powdered brown rice and one tablespoon of yogurt to form a mixture. Apply this mixture on the freshly washed face and let it air dry for 10-15 minutes. Wash off with warm water.
Use twice a week for the best result.
(5) Soothes Rashes And Sunburns
Antioxidants and other relevant compounds in brown rice protect our skin cells from the harmful UV rays of the sun.
The anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties of brown rice aids in soothing skin rashes and sunburn.
Regularly applying brown Rice water to the affected area relieves sunburn within a few days.
(6) Cures Eczema
The anti-microbial properties of brown rice help in soothing eczema.
For this, gently apply brown rice water on the affected area using a clean cotton ball for 5 to 7 minutes, and then let it air dry.
Use this remedy twice a week for 10-12 days to relieve eczema.
Beauty Benefits Of Brown Rice For Hair
Brown rice is beneficial not only for our skin but also for our hair follicles and scalp. Some of these benefits are
(1) Acts As A Natural Hair Conditioner
Brown rice is a natural hair conditioner that nourishes and soothes our hair follicles and scalp because of its rich nutritious profile.
Antioxidants and other relevant compounds in brown rice protect our hair follicles and scalp from free radical damage.
Dietary fibers in brown rice help with detoxification and thus promotes scalp health.
For hair conditioning, blend few drops of rosemary/lavender essential oil into a cup of brown rice water and gently apply this mixture to the shampooed hair.
Let it air dry for 10 to 15 minutes and then wash it off with cold water.
(2) Heals Damaged Hair
Brown rice heals damaged hair because of its rich nutritious profile.
Brown rice water can be topically applied on the hair follicles and scalp for improving their health, and for reducing the risk of hair loss.
Protein in brown rice promotes the growth of new hair follicles, and iron in it improves blood circulation in the scalp.
For treating damaged hair, whisk 3-4 tablespoon of powdered brown rice and one egg white together to form a frothy mixture.
Gently apply this mixture to your hair and let it air dry for 10-15 minutes, and then rinse off with water.
(3) Effective For Treating Dandruff
Vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytonutrients, etc present in the brown rice makes it beneficial against dandruff, a common scalp problem that affects millions of people around the world and is mainly caused by poor scalp health.
There are hundreds of anti-dandruff products available in the market but brown rice is a healthier, convenient, and economical alternative to them.
Antioxidants and relevant compounds in brown rice protect our hair follicles and scalp from free radical damage. Iron in it improves blood circulation and ensures that our hair follicles and scalp are well-nourished.
Other nutrients such as zinc, vitamin B complex, and selenium, etc. also contribute to better scalp health.
The anti-dandruff properties of the selenium in brown rice helps in the prevention and treatment of dandruff, and also promote hair growth.
Additionally, the detoxifying properties of the insoluble dietary fibers in brown rice helps in the removal of toxins, pollutants, and other impurities from our system.
When there are fewer toxins in the body, they are less likely to be accumulated in our scalp pores, and thus protects the scalp from damage.
It maintains the optimal secretion of oil from the glands of the scalp and thus prevents scalp dryness which gives rise to many scalp problems.
Not just eating brown rice but also topical application of brown rice water on the hair follicles and scalp is efficient against dandruff.
Washing your hair follicles and scalp with brown rice water twice a week for a couple of weeks helps in getting rid of dandruff.
Points Of Caution
Despite the amazing health and beauty benefits provided by the brown rice, there are some points of concern to keep in mind. These are
(1) Brown Rice Allergy
Individuals who are allergic to nuts or soy are highly likely to be allergic to brown rice. They should avoid brown rice as otherwise, it could give rise to allergic reactions with symptoms such as sneezing, wheezing, swelling of tongue and mouth, abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting, skin rashes, and itching, etc.
(2) May Serve As A Breeding Ground For Microorganisms
Brown rice should be consumed as soon as possible after cooking. It can be safely kept in the refrigerator for 5 to 6 days.
It is not a good idea to store it any longer as the rich nutritious profile of the brown rice also makes it a breeding ground for various micro-organisms as time passes.
These microorganisms deprive brown rice of any nutritious value and consuming such brown rice could increase the risk of various microbial infections and sickness.
(3) Arsenic Poisoning
Brown rice contains arsenic, a chemical compound which when consumed in excess can lead to organ failure, tissue damage, and in worst cases, even death.
Given the risk, it is advised to consume brown rice in small servings.
Questions & Answers
(1) How Many Calories In 100 Grams Of Brown Rice?
Eating 100 grams of brown rice provides 111 calories of energy.
(2) Why Does Brown Rice Take Longer To Cook?
The long cooking time of bran rice is because the bran layer on it restricts the free passing of water molecules and hinders the cooking process.
(3) How To Add Brown Rice To Your Diet
There are several ways one can add brown rice to his diet. Some of these are:-
- Consume a grain bowl made from brown rice, veggies, and protein during lunch.
- As a delicious breakfast made up of eggs, salsa, avocados, black beans, and brown rice.
- Rice porridge can be enjoyed as a breakfast
- Stir-fries made from brown rice are a better alternative to fries made from white rice.
- Brown rice can also be added to various soup recipes.
- Brown rice can also be topped with fresh veggies and olive oil for a delicious meal.
- Brown rice can be mixed with black beans and used as an ingredient for delicious burgers.
- Brown rice can also be used for the preparation of healthy energy bars that are free of harmful chemicals and preservatives.
- Give it try to brown rice instead of white rice for the preparation of rice pudding.
- Replace white rice with brown rice in your sushi rolls to increase the fiber content of the meal.
- Brown rice can also be added to curry recipes.
- Use brown rice pasta instead of white pasta for added benefits.
The information contained in the post is for general purposes only and shouldn’t be considered as medical advice or as an alternative to medical advice. Although I’ve tried my best to keep the information contained in this post as accurate and updated as possible, I make no guarantee of the accurateness of the same.
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