Brown Rice

Brown rice is actually a whole grain rice without its inedible external hull, which is removed during processing. On the other hand, white rice is similar to brown rice, except for the fact that its bran layer, hull and cereal germ is done away with. In fact, gold rice, red rice and even black rice (which is also referred to as purple rice) are all whole rice whose exteriors are pigmented with different colors.

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This variety of rice is called brown rice because of the typical brown hue of its bran. The brown color of bran differentiates this rice from white rice that is hulled to expose its white endosperm. Any cultivar of rice can be left unhulled and it can be cooked in the same way as we cook white rice. Brown rice has a nutty texture and additional nutritional value. This is why some people have a preference for this variety of rice than others.

Rice is also a vital cereal grass belonging to the genus Oryza. This cereal grain is cultivated extensively across the globe for its nutritional value. Rice is a major component of Asian cuisine. This cereal grass is grown in water-logged fields and the plants are cut whole along with the grains for threshing. The outer husk of rice grain is inedible and it is removed during the threshing process to obtain the nutritional grain.

A grain of rice comprises three parts. The inedible outer layer called barn has high fiber content as well as other nutrients. The barn encloses the germ as well as the endosperm that compose the volume of the grain. The germ is a tiny nubbin on the grain, which is usually loaded with nutrients, as it provides all the nutrition to the grain when it develops into a plant. The bulk of the rice grain is made up of the endosperm and, hence, it has the maximum volume.

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If the bran layer remains on the rice after the threshing process, the end result is brown rice, which is a "whole grain". The brown rice encloses the entire edible parts of the grain. In fact, brans are available in a wide variety of colors that vary from nearly black bran in the case of black rice (also referred to as purple rice) to reddish bran in the case of wehani rice (also referred to as red rice). Brown rice may be of two varieties - long grains and short grains. In addition, this rice come is an assortment of flavours subject to the particular cultivar. In general, brown rice has a nuttier texture compared to white rice due to the presence of the nutrient-rich bran.

Although the bran of brown rice is packed with various nutrients, leaving the bran behind during the threshing process also has some negative aspects. Due to the presence of the bran, brown rice takes longer to cook compared to white rice. This is because water takes longer time to penetrate the bran, which is meant to protect the grain inside. However, if you soak this rice in water for a prolonged period prior to cooking it, it will help in saving time as well as fuel in cooking brown rice. At the same time, compared to white rice, brown rice has a greater propensity to become rancid because it contains higher amounts of natural oils and fats. Therefore, it is essential to keep brown rice in refrigeration till it is used. It is also important to note that you should not store brown rice for more than six months after purchase. Cook it within this time.

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As discussed above, brown rice is highly nutritious primarily because it is a whole grain rich in fiber content, but low in calories. At the same time, brown rice is gluten-free and does not contain cholesterol or any trans fat. Brown rice contains trace amounts of sodium and fat.

How to cook brown rice

Similar to other grains, it is important to thoroughly rinse brown rice under running water so that all dirt and debris are removed from it.

Brown rice can be cooked in boiling water as well as broth. Ideally, add one part of it to two parts of broths or boiling water. Turn down the heat when the liquid has started to boil. Subsequently, cover the vessel and simmer it for roughly 45 minutes.

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Compared to white rice, it takes longer to cook brown rice because of the latter's fiber-rich bran. On the other hand, white rice is made by removing the bran and endosperm during the threshing process. The presence of the bran and endosperm in brown rice gives it a nutty texture and makes it chewier.

Health benefits

Brown rice offers several health benefits as it is high in nutrient content. This variety of rice contains rich amounts of the essential mineral selenium, which works to diminish the chances of developing ailments like arthritis, heart disease and even cancer. A serving of one cup of brown rice provides the body with 80% of its everyday manganese requirement. Manganese is essential for our body as it facilitates synthesizing fats. In addition, this mineral is also beneficial for our reproductive and nervous systems.

Brown rice also contains natural oils, which are useful for our body. These beneficial fats help the body to counteract bad cholesterol.

Among other benefits, brown rice also helps to promote weight loss. As brown rice is rich in dietary fiber content, consuming it regularly helps to promote bowel function and, at the same time, makes it easier to digest ingested foods. People who are suffering from bowel related problems should ideally incorporate brown rice into their regular diet. Consumption of brown rice also gives a feeling of satiation, which, in turn, makes one take smaller meals. Together, these benefits of brown rice help to promote weight loss.

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Brown rice is known as a whole grain because during the threshing process it is not bereft of its bran and endosperm, which are packed with nutrients. It has been established that whole grains help to reduce plague build-up in the arteries and other blood vessels, thereby diminishing the chances of developing heart diseases. At the same time, they also help to neutralize the cholesterol levels.

One of the best secrets related to brown rice is that it has rich antioxidant content. Usually, we consider blueberries, vegetables, strawberries and other fruits to be antioxidant-rich foods. However, the antioxidant content of brown rice is equivalent to the above mentioned foods.

In addition to being a fiber-rich food, brown rice is among the top foods that possess the ability to put off colon cancer. This property of brown rice is attributed to its high dietary fiber content. The dietary fiber in brown rice binds to carcinogenic substances and toxins in the body and eliminates them. In this way, the fibers prevent the carcinogenic and toxic substances from attaching to the wall of the colon.

Brown rice is also effectual in keeping the sugar levels in the bloodstream stable. Hence, this is a wonderful food for people enduring diabetes. Various studies have revealed that people who consume a serving of half cup brown rice everyday face 60% lesser risks of suffering from diabetes. Conversely, people who consume white rice daily have 100% chances of developing diabetes.

Brown rice or even brown rice cereal is an ideal baby food. It is one of the best first foods of a baby owing to its high concentration of dietary fiber and other nutrients. In fact, these are a much better option compared to the cereal products made from white rice. This is because babies have a rapid growth cycle and they need nutrient-rich diets to support their growth.

Compared to other foods that have high glycemic index and sugary/starch content, brown rice is also an ideal food for treating Candida yeast infection. In fact, doctors ask patients suffering from Candida yeast infection to strictly avoid sugary/ starchy foods or those that have high glycemic index. The high fiber content of brown rice coupled with its natural digestibility makes brown rice ideal for treating this condition. This is because the contents of brown rice have the potential to facilitate the sensitive digestive systems to heal itself from Candida organisms' growth.

Last but not the least, brown rice is just delicious and a wonderful staple for vegetarian as well as vegan diets. Brown rice can be used as an alternative for white rice in nearly all vegetarian dishes. It provides us with a rich, full and to some extent a nutty flavour. The flour of brown rice can be used to bake breads and other items as well as make vegetarian pancakes. In general, this rice is always a healthy option.

Brown rice offers us many other health benefits, for instance consuming fiber-rich foods like brown rice can be useful for women in preventing gallstone formation. Similarly, consuming sprouted brown rice may be very useful for the mental health of nursing mothers. In fact, studies have shown that eating brown rice has a beneficial effect on lactating women vis-à-vis reducing fatigue, depression and mood disturbances. Findings of some studies have also hinted that brown rice consumption during the period of lactation helps to improve the body's resistance to stress. At the same time, it also helps to enhance the immune system in general.

As discussed earlier, brown rice may also be effective in protecting us against certain types of cancer, especially breast cancer, colon cancer and leukemia. The positive effects of brown rice are often attributed to its high fiber and antioxidant content. The dietary fiber present in brown rice can attach itself to the detrimental carcinogenic toxic substances in our body. This action of fibers and antioxidants in brown rice prevents the toxic substances from attaching to the colon's walls, and works to eliminate these substances from the body.

Some people believe that foods with high vitamin B complex content are effectual in alleviating insomnia. Foods rich in vitamin B are natural source of melatonin - the sleep hormone. Brown rice too contains high amounts of vitamin B complex and, hence, it possesses the ability to promote sound sleep by unwinding the nerves. At the same time, consumption of brown rice helps to improve one's sleep cycle.

Finally, brown rice consumption also helps to keep the bones healthy. It contains rich amounts of magnesium. Magnesium and calcium are vital minerals that contribute to the bones' physical structure. As it is rich in magnesium content, brown rice also helps to lessen the demineralization of the bones. Therefore, brown rice is useful for people suffering from bone-related issues like osteoporosis and arthritis.

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