Brown rice is every weight watcher’s dream food. It is a complex carbohydrate that provides 15 essential nutrients, including B-vitamins, niacin and potassium.
What is Brown Rice?
Brown rice is a complex carbohydrate that provides 15 essential nutrients, including B-vitamins, niacin and potassium. In the olden days, paddy used to be hand pounded and winnowed to remove the husk and consumed as such. Nowadays whole rice is milled minimally to remove the husk to get the brown rice. The brown rice is processed further to remove the bran and most of the germ layer and polished still further to get white rice. Polishing removes the layer that is filled with health-supportive, essential fats that make rice highly susceptible to oxidation. Though this extends the shelf life of the product, the resulting white rice is simply a refined starch that is largely deprived of its original nutrients. But brown rice retains all the nutrients that Nature bestowed it with.
A Simple Brown Rice Recipe
Benefits of Brown Rice
Brown rice is every weight watcher’s dream food. A common sense approach to obesity control is to eat foods that have low glycemic index (GI), like raw vegetables and fruits and whole grains. If you have been eating for years a low-fat, high GI carbohydrate diet based on refined flour, chances are that you have become at least partially insulin resistant.
High GI foods break down faster, and produce sugar spikes that compel the pancreas to produce large amounts of insulin. Insulin maintains stable blood sugar levels by telling the body’s cells when to absorb glucose from the bloodstream. Being insulin resistant means your body stops responding to insulin, and instead deposits every calorie as fat.
By metabolizing slowly and maintaining stable levels of blood sugar and/or serotonin, brown rice snips away food cravings. By contrast, processed food releases a short burst of serotonin, but soon returns to low-serotonin state and causes cravings for more sugar and simple carbohydrates.
Brown rice has antioxidants and phytonutrients that boosts the immune system, lowers cholesterol, reduces risk of heart disease, stroke and colon cancer, and reduces severity of asthma.
Brown rice can substantially reduce the risk of colon cancer, as it is a a very good source of selenium, a trace mineral that induces DNA repair and synthesis in damaged cells and inhibits the proliferation of cancer cells. Selenium is an antioxidant and is essential for thyroid hormone metabolism and immune function.
Selenium plays a critical role in cancer prevention as a cofactor of glutathione peroxidase, which is one of the body’s most powerful antioxidant enzymes and is used in the liver to detoxify a wide range of potentially harmful molecules. When levels of glutathione peroxidase are too low, these toxic molecules wreak havoc on any cells with which they come in contact, damaging their cellular DNA and promoting the development of cancer cells.
Brown rice is a concentrated source of fiber; so it minimizes the amount of time cancer-causing substances spend in contact with colon cells.
Brown rice is an excellent source of manganese and magnesium as well. Just one cup of brown rice will provide you with 88.0% of the daily value for manganese. This trace mineral helps produce energy from protein and carbohydrates and is involved in the synthesis of essential fatty acids. Manganese is also a critical component of a very important antioxidant enzyme called superoxide dismutase that is found inside the body’s mitochondria where it protects against damage from the free radicals produced during energy production.
Magnesium reduces the severity of asthma, lowers high blood pressure, reduces the frequency of migraine headaches, and reduces the risk of heart attack and stroke. With a diet low on magnesium, calcium can gain entry into the nerves and overactivate it. Magnesium helps regulate nerve and muscle tone by blocking the entry of calcium into the nerve, preventing its contraction and keeping it relaxed. Besides, Magnesium is necessary for healthy bones as well.
In addition to the niacin it supplies, brown rice may also help raise blood levels of nitric oxide, a small molecule known to improve blood vessel dilation and prevent development of atherosclerotic plaques.