By Tini Thangjam
Brown rice is a type of whole grain rice gaining popularity worldwide due to its nutritiousvalue and culinary advantages. It is basically a type of rice with only its outer husk removed. It retains the bran layer which is full of nutrients. Unfortunately, the white rice we frequently eat does not contain this layer as it has been polished and thus, are stripped off essential nutrients important to us. Today we will explore the nutritional composition of brown rice, health benefits, its potential role in preventing chronic diseases and its use in the culinary world.
One of the primary reasons why it is considered better than white rice is its superior nutritional profile. The bran layer of brown rice contains vitamins, minerals and dietary fibre. The fibre present aids in digestion and in maintaining healthy bowel movement. Heart diseases which has become a frequent occurrence is prevented by fibres by interfering in the bile production which leads to the decrease in cholesterol levels. It is crucial in preventing conditions such as constipation and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Additionally, it is rich in B vitamins including niacin, thiamine, riboflavin and pantothenic acid. These vitamins play a vital role in maintaining proper nerve function and metabolism of the body. They are also involved in the production of red blood cells which helps in oxygen transportation.
Moreover, they contain a good amount of minerals such as iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus and selenium. Magnesium is essential for protein synthesis, muscle and nerve functioning, controlling blood sugar levels, and regulating blood pressure. Manganese helps body form bones, tissues and blood clotting factors. On the other hand, phosphorus supports energy metabolism and is needed for growth and repairing tissues.Whereas, selenium acts as an antioxidant, powerful enough to protect the body against oxidative damage.
Brown rice is not only rich in various nutrients but is also beneficial in weight management and preventing diabetes. It contains complex carbohydrates which are digested slowly in our digestive systemas compared to that of white rice and promotes feeling of fullness and satiety. Ultimately, it helps in reducing the risk of obesity by controlling portion sizes and refraining from overeating. This slow digestion helps in blood sugar regulations by preventing sudden spikes of insulin. This is a trait for low glycemic index (GI) foods. The glycemic index is a rating system that ranks carbohydrates on a scale of 0 to 100 based on how much they raise blood sugar levels.In the case of brown rice the GI is 55 whereas, for white rice it is 72. Thus, we can come to the conclusion thatconsuming brown rice is a better option, especially for diabetic patients.
Significantly, brown rice plays an important role in the prevention of chronic diseases. It has the potential to prevent heart diseases, stroke and certain types of cancer. This is all due to the presence of nutrients in the bran layer. The fibres and antioxidants present help reduce inflammation and protects the cardiovascular system.
Apart from the fact that, it has a healthy amount of nutrients and is beneficial for health, they also show incredible versatility in the culinary sphere. From sushi to grain bowls, it can be a substitute for white rice in a wide range of dishes. It can also be incorporated into various cuisines; Asian or Mediterranean. It provides a satisfying chewy texture while imparting slight nutty flavour that enhances the taste and can be a great addition to meals as it pairs well with other ingredients. It is noteworthy that, it can fit into any dietary preference, be it vegetarian, vegan or gluten free.
Despite the numerous advantages over white rice, brown rice takes a longer time to cook and is chewier. It may take a while to adapt to this new chewy texture but can be overcomeeasily. With advancement in cooking and availability of various brown rice such as short-grain and long-grain, finding the right variety that caters to personal preference becomes easier. It should also be stored properly and not just in any open space, to prevent rancidification of fats that are present in the brand layer.
Brown rice is a powerhouse of nutrients and a versatile whole grain with myriads of health benefits. I recommend it as an excellent substitute of white rice. It would be very beneficial to embrace brown rice and include it in our everyday meals. There are ample of reasons that support brown rice to be a better option, from providing high dietary fibre to essential minerals and vitamins and low glycemic index, this rice has no adverse effect that would cause rejection to incorporate it into our diets.Moreover, it is easy to handle and cook into an array of dishes. This would be a very simple yet effective approach towards giving a substantial boost to overall well-being.
(The writer has finished her Bachelors in Food Technology from College of Food Technology CAU, Lamphel, Manipur.)
Brown rice or White rice?
By Tini Thangjam