Rice is considered to be a staple food worldwide, providing around 50% of all of the calories consumed each day. Unfortunately, many people are ignorant when it comes to the reasons why brown rice is preferable to white. It is not simply a matter of taste; brown rice provides some powerful and substantial health benefits, while white rice is associated with a variety of common health problems. Read on to discover nine reasons why eating plenty of brown rice and cutting white rice out of your diet will improve and extend your life.
1) Brown rice can help to protect you against several cancers:
There are multiple ways in which replacing white rice with brown rice will lead to a reduced risk of cancer. For one thing, brown rice is a rich source of fiber, and a diet that is high in fiber helps to discourage colon cancer by preventing carcinogenic compounds from damaging the cells in your colon. Secondly, research on breast cancer has revealed that women who regularly eat the largest amount of brown rice (and other whole grains) are over 40% less likely to develop breast cancer than are the women who eat the smallest amount of whole grains. Thirdly, just one cup of brown rice will provide your body with close to 90% of your recommended daily intake of manganese. A diet rich in manganese helps your body to form antioxidant enzymes that work to fight the damage that can be caused by free radicals. Currently, many researchers suspect that there is a strong connection between free radical damage and the development of cancer.
2) White rice is associated with weight gain, while brown is associated with maintaining a healthy weight:
Some people believe that eating rice will be helpful to their weight loss efforts, but this is an overgeneralization. Specifically, it is brown rice that has a connection to attaining and maintaining a slim figure. For example, one extensive and thorough study conducted at Harvard Medical School discovered that women who ate brown rice (and other whole grain foods) were most likely to be at a healthy weight for a period of twelve years. In contrast, the women who ate the most white rice (and other food containing refined grains) were the group most likely to gain weight during twelve years. The comparison was stark and surprising; the women who ate the greatest amount of whole grains were almost 50% less likely to gain weight during the study.
3) Brown rice will boost your cardiovascular health:
First of all, brown rice has an influence on your cholesterol levels. It is a source of a compound called gamma-oryzanol, which can lower cholesterol levels by around 7% if regularly consumed for just five weeks. In addition, brown rice contains plant lignans, and several interesting studies have shown that they have an ability to protect your heart against disease. It is also worth noting that research on postmenopausal women with heart disease has shown that the disease progresses more slowly in those who eat six or more servings of brown rice each week. Finally, brown rice contains magnesium, and magnesium plays a role in preventing irregular heart rhythms.
4) Brown rice provides you with an important trace mineral:
Every time you have one serving of brown rice, you ingest approximately 27% of your recommended daily intake of a trace mineral called selenium. This mineral has several roles to play. Firstly, it helps to keep your immune system working properly, improving your resistance to disease. Secondly, it encourages repair in damaged cells, and this reduces your risk of developing cancer (as damaged cells can create tumors by multiplying out of control). Finally, selenium plays a role in keeping thyroid hormone levels under control, and people who have too much or too little thyroid hormone can experience fatigue, difficulties maintaining a healthy weight, and eventually heart problems.
5) White rice increases your risk of developing metabolic syndrome, while brown rice decreases your risk:
When a person suffers from a group of different medical problems that all increase the likelihood of developing cardiovascular disease and diabetes, this leads to what is called metabolic syndrome. Studies have shown that white rice (and other refined grains) can make you up to a staggering 141% more likely to develop this syndrome. In contrast, brown rice (as well as other whole grains) will make you around 40% less likely to ever suffer from metabolic syndrome.
6) Brown rice promotes healthy bones:
The magnesium in brown rice is necessary if you are to develop and maintain strong and healthy bones. One cup of brown rice will provide you with 20% of your recommended daily intake of magnesium.
7) Brown rice will keep your bowels regular:
The large amount of fiber in brown rice provides you with around 14% of your recommended daily intake. If you eat plenty of fiber, you will have regular bowel movements and should not suffer from problems with constipation. This, in turn, makes you less likely to suffer from painful conditions such as hemorrhoids and anal fissures.
8. Brown rice helps to reduce your risk of suffering from one form of diabetes:
The fact that brown rice is such a good source of fiber also means that it helps to keep your blood sugar levels under control. Scientists have speculated that this is why women who eat the most brown rice (and other whole grain foods) are over 30% less likely to develop type 2 diabetes.
9) Brown rice is good for your baby:
If you are pregnant, brown rice will help your developing baby by providing it with folacin. Your baby requires folacin if its brain and spinal cord are to properly develop.
As is obvious from the above health benefits of eating brown rice and the contrasting health risks of consuming white rice, you will be doing your body a favor if you replace white rice with brown rice. Although some people find the taste of brown rice to be dull, with a little creative seasoning you can make it a much more enjoyable component of meals.