Is rice healthy? Rice is one of those food staples that some people struggle with when deciding if it is healthy or just a carb heavy filler. Many cultures consume rice on a daily basis while some don’t use it at all. With so many varieties of rice, it can be tricky to figure out which one is best for you.
The health benefits of white rice and brown rice in particular will be discussed below in detail so you can decide for yourself if adding it to your diet is appropriate.
White Rice vs. Brown Rice: What is it?
Rice is a grain that grows out of the ground and is typically harvested by hand or machine. When asking yourself, is rice healthy you should consider what type of rice you are consuming first.
- White rice gets its color from having most of the original grain removed. Unfortunately, this also removed most of the nutrients. Enriched white rice has had vitamins and minerals added back in, but the nutritional content is still nowhere near the original state.
- Brown rice, on the other hand, still has most of the original grain intact. So, it has natural vitamins and minerals still found inside in higher amounts than the more processed counterpart. For this reason, the benefits that apply to brown rice will be discussed below.
Dangers of Rice Consumption
One of the problems when trying to figure out is rice healthy is its carb/sugar profile. Some argue that rice is too high in carbohydrates to be considered healthy.
However, new studies show that the type of carbs and sugars found in brown rice especially will break down slowly in your body and can actually help stabilize blood sugar and energy levels. As with anything, moderation is key. Consuming any type of rice in excess could cause adverse health effects.
7 Health Benefits of Brown Rice
There are many positive answers to the question, is rice healthy? The vitamins found naturally in rice help many of your body’s systems run efficiently. Seven of these benefits are outlined below. If you want more information about any of these benefits, you will find it here.
1. Packed with B Vitamins
The first support for the is rice healthy debate is that brown rice contains 16% of your daily recommended amount of vitamin B1.
It contains 19% of your body’s daily dose of vitamin B3. These B vitamins help your body’s metabolism and energy levels. They also support brain function.
2. Supports Healthy Cholesterol
Brown rice that has been minimally processed such that it still has a layer of a compound called aleurone which contains fatty acids that help reduce LDL cholesterol levels.
3. Supports Heart Health
The whole grains found in brown rice are believed in recent studies to support the heart by preventing plaque from building up in the arteries. They also help keep arteries from narrowing, which can prevent a host of other heart-related problems from starting in your bloodstream.
4. Contains Phytonutrients
Brown rice is full of plant-based nutrients that all help the body fight off disease. These nutrients are categorized as phenolics or lignans, both of which work together to keep the intestines and thyroids in top working order.
5. Lowers Risk for Type 2 Diabetes
Brown rice has high levels of magnesium which helps the body process insulin efficiently. Magnesium absorbed through plant based foods and grains is most efficient. In recent studies, they have found that which increased magnesium consumption comes a 31% decrease in type II diabetes risk.
If you already have diabetes, adding brown rice into your diet may be beneficial. Talk with your doctor before making any changes to your diet if you have diabetes.
6. Delivers Significant Fiber
Brown rice contains a significant about of both soluble and insoluble fiber, both of which are vital parts of our diet.
- Insoluble fiber keeps toxins from building up in your digestive system, including the ones that can lead to many cancers.
- Soluble fiber helps you feel fuller longer when consumed from natural sources like rice or vegetables.
- Fiber is also shown to help those trying to lose or maintain weight by stabilizing blood sugar and reducing many cravings.
7. Reduces Inflammation
A 2014 study found that brown rice is highly effective when used in dietary changes for severely overweight women whose obesity is found to be due to inflammation. These results showed promise for women who have typically had poor results when dieting. Also, these results may have positive implications for women with certain endocrine disorders that are causing inflammation as well.
In the End
So, is rice healthy or just a fad? Hopefully further studies will support emerging support for whole grain diets like those that include brown rice. When consumed as a whole grain, it provides many health benefits that support your digestive system, heart, and even your brain. If you would like to learn more about the nutritional content of rice, you will find it here.
If you would like to add to the conversation about diets that include rice, we would love to hear from you! Leave us your comments below with your experiences, favorite recipes, or advice for those who may still have questions.