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The Health Benefits of Brown Rice

July 11, 2012

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Brown RiceRice is a staple in many diets worldwide as it is affordable and widely available. However, getting stuck in the “white rice” zone means you are missing out on a lot of nutrients. By replacing white rice with brown rice whenever possible you can improve your health and increase your energy levels.

Why is brown rice better for you?

Much like white bread vs. brown bread, brown rice is better for you because it includes the whole rice grain, with only the outermost layer removed. By retaining more of the grain, more nutrients are kept, so you get a higher density of nutrients per grain. A single cup of brown rice contains 88% of your daily value of manganese, as well as 27% selenium, 21% magnesium, and 18% tryptophan. The outer layer of brown rice also contains some healthy fats, while the whole grain gives you 14% of your daily fiber intake in a single cup.

So what do all of these extra nutrients do for you? Manganese supports your immune system and also is a component of some antioxidants in the body. Selenium is a key ingredient in DNA repair and can help reduce the risk of cancer by helping cells regenerate or recycle. The natural oils in brown rice can help lower cholesterol, and the whole grains can help you eat less and maintain a healthy weight as well as greatly reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.

How Much Brown Rice Should I Eat?

While brown rice is healthier for you than white rice, that doesn’t mean that you should eat more than your recommended daily allowance for whole grains.

When eating brown rice, the following is considered one serving of whole grains:

  •  ½ cup cooked brown rice
  • 2 ounces of brown rice pasta
  • 1 slice of whole grain brown rice bread

Different Ways to Enjoy Brown Rice

Brown rice is actually quite versatile and can be incorporated into many different meals. Try having brown rice for breakfast as a replacement for oatmeal; just add fruit and nuts for a nutritionally complete breakfast. You can also make your own veggie burgers and add brown rice to them.

If you are seeking out gluten free whole grain options, brown rice is perfect. You can find brown rice breads, pasta and crackers that will satisfy your whole grain cravings without the gluten.

And for a satisfying crunch, look for brown rice crisps (remember that snap, crackle, pop from when you were a kid? This is the healthier version!) We’re a fan of brown rice crisps and you’ll find them in our Fruit Nut Karma.

Photo: Rob Qld

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