It may not look much, but this is one of the great dietary staples.
So, what are the essential facts about this food wonder?
Well, for a start, rice is a cereal grain that comes in various forms as a food product. The process of removing the hull of the grain results in brown rice, which is the least damaging production process to rice's nutritional value. White rice, on the other hand, is milled and polished and destroys a large percentage of rice's nutritional value, making it much less valuable as a source of nutrition.
Typically, one cup of cooked long grain brown rice contains around 216 calories, and is low on the glycemic index. It also contains 88% of the daily recommended intake of manganese, 34% of the DRI of selenium, 23% of the DRI of phosphorus, 21% of the DRI of copper, 20.9% of the DRI of magnesium and 18.6% of the DRI of vitamin B3.
Manganese, which is found in high amounts in brown rice, produces energy from carbohydrates and protein. It is also involved in fatty acid synthesis, all of which contribute to a healthy nervous system, and to the production of cholesterol (as required by the body). Manganese is also an important component of the antioxidant superoxide dismutase, which protects against free radical damage.
The consumption of brown rice, as opposed to white rice, is associated with the maintenance of a healthy body weight, while the fibre in brown rice has shown to be helpful in preventing colon cancer. The selenium content in brown rice also contributes to lowering the risk for colon cancer.
Rice bran oil has shown to help reduce the level of LDL (bad) cholesterol. High LDL cholesterol is believed to be a risk factor for developing heart disease, while consuming at least 6 servings per week of whole grains, such as brown rice, has been proven to slow the progression of atherosclerosis, which is the plaque build-up on blood vessel walls. It has also been shown to reduce the progression of narrowing of arterial passageways.
Plant lignans are found in abundance in brown rice. This phytonutrient is believed to help protect against breast cancer, heart disease, and hormone-dependent cancers. In addition, brown rice and other whole grains, when refined as little as possible, can help to lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Finally, magnesium, as found in brown rice, is believed to help reduce the severity of many diseases, including asthma, as well as reducing migraine headaches, and lowering blood pressure.
So, fancy eating for health? Then reach for the brown rice.