March 30, 2010

Health Benefits Of Brown Rice

Posted in Category : Foods that Heal

A grain of rice is coated with many layers, the outer most being the husk. The grains are always processed before being consumed or sold in the market. Brown rice is obtained when only the husk of each grain is removed, preserving most of the nutritional value of the rice. When the brown layer called bran is removed by a process referred to as milling, we get white grains of rice and when it is further polished, we get the whitest form of rice whose nutritional value is much lower than that of brown rice as each process strips the grains of a relatively large proportion of nutrients. Brown rice has a nutty flavor and does not have a shelf life as long as that of white polished rice. However, it is gradually gaining importance with people who are health conscious and who believe in consuming food in the most natural state available, due to its higher nutritional value.

Brown rice has a wide variety of health benefits. Brown rice being rich in fiber, vitamin B and minerals like iron, manganese, magnesium and selenium, minimizes the risk of a number of disorders thus improving the overall quality of life. Due to its high mineral content, brown rice plays an important role in strengthening teeth and bones, building muscles and improving the growth and texture of hair and nails. The natural oil present in rice bran is believed to be able to lower LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) and increase HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol) levels in the body, thus regulating cholesterol levels. It is also known for its ability to reduce the body’s resistance to insulin thus regulating blood sugar levels in people suffering from type 2 diabetes. In addition, brown rice assists in regulating blood pressure and reducing triglycerides and obesity. It thus helps in preventing cardiovascular disorders and metabolic syndrome as a result of the above mentioned qualities.

The bran, being rich in fiber, aids digestion and ensures smooth bowel movement, thus preventing diarrhea and constipation and related ailments like piles and perianal hematoma. The selenium content reduces the chances of colon cancer and the fiber ensures that cancer causing chemicals do not remain in the intestinal tract for prolonged periods of time. Manganese boosts energy levels by producing energy from proteins and carbohydrates. It also assists in synthesizing fatty acids and strengthening the nervous system. In addition, the antioxidants present in brown rice prevent damage caused by free radicals.