Brown rice is more nutritious than white rice: true or false?
Have you considered switching from white rice to brown rice? Do you know the nutrition facts of brown rice? Is it really more nutritious than white rice?We have all the information you need to answer these questions, right here! Keep reading.
Rice is a staple food of more than half the world’s population, and those of us living in Asia can attest to this. Hardly a day goes by when we don’t have our daily serving of rice.
In 2010 statistics from the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority and International Enterprise Singapore showed that Singaporeans ate 264,941 tonnes of rice that year. Although the consumption of wheat-based products are on the rise, rice still remains the top choice of starch among Singaporeans.
We all know that there are two main varieties of rice: brown and white. But what we may not know is that although they are similar in terms of calories and carbohydrates, there are striking differences between the two.
- Processing. The raw, unprocessed grain of rice is covered by what is known as a ‘husk.’ Brown rice is produced by removing this husk. White rice is produced by removing not just the husk, but the ‘bran’ and ‘germ’ layers too.
- Nutritional content. The layers that are retained in brown rice are rich in dietary fibre, essential fatty acids, protein, vitamins (B, B3), magnesium and minerals. All these are stripped off in the production of white rice. Although in the US certain nutrients are added back to make the white rice ‘enriched,’ one nutrient that is not added back is magnesium. A cup of brown rice contains 84mg of magnesium whereas white rice contains only 19mg.
- Texture.The extra layers retained in brown rice makes it chewier than white rice.
- Shelf life. The essential fatty acids and oils present in brown rice gives it a shorter shelf life than white rice.
- Naturally packed with nutrition – As we showed in our comparison of the two grains, brown rice is packed with loads of vitamins, minerals, fibre and fatty acids, making it a healthier option for all.
- Helps bowel irregularities – The fibre present in brown rice makes it easier to digest, thus promoting optimum bowel function.
- Aids in weight loss – Consuming whole grains actually helps with weight loss. The fibre in brown rice makes you feel fuller, allowing you to be satisfied with smaller portions of rice.
- Helps control diabetes – Brown rice is low on the glycaemic index and prevents spikes in glucose levels. Studies prove that consuming half a cup of brown rice a day reduces your chances of developing diabetes by 60%.
- Great baby food – If you have a choice of white or brown rice cereal for your baby, why not try the brown option? In addition to being nutritionally superior, it will help with digestion due to the high fibre content. You can try making baby’s favourite porridge with brown rice too!
- Helps lower cholesterolThe bran layer is fortified with rice bran oil, which is a ‘good fat’ that helps reduce low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol or what we know as ‘bad cholesterol.’
Now that you know the benefits of brown rice, here are some tips for buying, storing and cooking it:
- Brown rice has a higher oil content than white rice so it could go rancid faster than white rice. Always check ‘use-by’ dates when purchasing brown rice.
- Store brown rice in an air-tight container, away from heat and sunlight.
- Never store brown rice for more than 6 months.
- When preparing brown rice, wash it well as there could be a certain amount of dirt present.
- It is best to rinse the rice at least three times, until the water runs clear.
- For a fluffier texture, try soaking the rice in cold water before boiling.
- To cook, add two parts cool water to one part rice and cook on high heat until the water comes to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and cook until rice is soft. The total time needed would depend on the amount of rice being cooked.
- Now that you know all the great facts about brown rice and how to use it, why not give it a try? You can prepare all your favourite rice dishes with brown rice for a nutritious and delicious change!