It seems that the “white rice versus brown rice” debate has finally ended. Brown rice won. Anyone who claims to know a thing or two about nutrition would tell you that you should be eating whole grains. You may even have started switching to brown rice when eating sushi or Chinese food.
But the thing is, you don’t enjoy it and you wonder why it is supposedly so healthy and we should all be eating it. Well in this article we are going to get everything straight.
The basics of white rice
First, the white rice is extremely processed. You must have heard by now that you should make an effort to avoid all processed and refined grains. White rice makes the top of this type of food.
A grain is considered whole grain if it consists of three parts: bran, germ, and endosperm. The bran is the outer shell of the edible core. It’s full of antioxidants, fiber, and B vitamins. The germ also contains B vitamins, minerals, proteins and healthy fats. The last one is mostly made up of carbohydrates, some protein, and some vitamins and minerals.
During processing, bran and germs are removed from white rice, leaving only the endosperm, which is the worst part of the grain in terms of healthy nutrients. So if you eat a bowl of white rice with some chicken, you’re not consuming fiber and consuming less B vitamins, potassium, folic acid and protein than brown rice. Scientists have shown a possible correlation between a diet high in white rice and an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and metabolic syndrome.
As a side note, most US made white rice has the original ingredients like thiamine (vitamin B1), folic acid, and iron added, which ultimately makes it rich in these compounds than brown rice.
Is Brown Rice a Better Option?
Although fortified, white rice lacks the added benefits that brown rice offers, such as protein, potassium, fiber, choline, selenium, magnesium, and phosphorus. The higher fiber content in brown rice makes you feel full longer, which over time leads to fewer calories ingested, not to mention improving the “good” bacteria in your gut as well.
Many studies have shown that regular consumption of whole grain products is linked to a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes. This makes sense because brown rice has a lower glycemic index. In particular, one study showed that a group of overweight people who ate more brown rice than white rice could lower their glucose levels as well as their insulin resistance.
Brown rice is much richer in magnesium, in fact it has almost four times more magnesium. This mineral is important for maintaining healthy bones and teeth and also helps regulate the levels of glucose in your bloodstream as well as your blood pressure. You get roughly 90% of your daily manganese needs from brown rice, a mineral that plays a vital role in collagen production (which makes it important for the health of your skin).
Brown rice versus white rice – the verdict
If you were wondering which option to choose, it should be pretty clear by now. In general, it is always best to eat whole foods. They are less likely to be processed and contaminated with all kinds of chemicals from the food industry. And while you may ingest less B vitamins and iron this way, you will benefit in many other ways.
If you want to choose something that is even higher quality, go for sprouted brown rice. The nutrients have higher bioavailability when found in sprouted brown rice. Look for it in your local market. And if you want to make your rice bowl even more colorful, look for black rice.