I’m going to come clean right off the bat here. Brown rice is incredibly healthy and far more nutritious than white rice. However, it can be less convenient due to requiring a longer cooking time. If this is a deterrent for you, I strongly recommend that you reconsider. Is being impatient worth risking your health and potentially shortening your life? My solution is to simply buy a cheap rice cooker and put your rice on a little earlier than usual. If that isn’t enough to convince you, check out some of the ways it will benefit you healthwise.
1. It’s a Whole Grain
Shocking, I know! Okay so this may not exactly be a hardcore knowledge bomb, but not everyone really knows how beneficial whole grains really ARE.
2. It Promotes Healthy Digestion
This is the sexy stuff, people.
Brown rice is high in fiber, so it promotes healthy bowel function. This means that it helps your digestion and will keep you regular. In fact, brown rice supplies you with roughly 14% of your recommended daily dose of fiber.
3. Prevents Weight Gain
In addition to keeping your digestion in tip top shape, fiber can also also curb your appetite. This is because fiber makes you feel fuller, so you’re less likely to reach for that third piece of chocolate cake. A study from Harvard has shown that women in particular are almost 50% more likely to maintain a health body weight if they incorporate whole grains like brown rice into their diets. I’m not sure if that makes us luckier than men or not. Either way, get on those whole grains, ladies.
4. Cardiovascular Health
Brown rice is great for your heart for several reasons. Firstly, the oil within the rice can lower levels of bad cholesterol while simultaneously increasing levels of good cholesterol. I assume that science can explain this, but I’m happy to attribute it to magic.
Secondly, it can slow down the buildup of plaque within your arteries, as well as the narrowing of your arteries, particularly if you’re a postmenopausal woman. If you’re not, well, it’s still good for protecting against heart disease anyway.
5. Reduces the Risk of Childhood Asthma
Studies have shown that children who have a wholegrain-rich diet combined with fish have a 50% less chance of developing asthma. Thanks for feeding me all that basmati when I was a kid, mum.
6. Healthy Bones
One cup of brown rice contains roughly 21% of your recommended daily intake of magnesium. This is important because magnesium is imperative to maintaining strong and healthy bones. Bonus fact: the majority of the magnesium in your body actually lives within your bones themselves.
7. Rich in Antioxidants
Antioxidants are generally associated with foods such as blueberries, kale, chia seeds and other things that I’ve also written articles on. Shameless self-promotion aside, brown rice is also a surprisingly rich source of antioxidants. These are incredibly important because they fight off free radicals within your body which can help to prevent diseases such as cancer and Alzheimer’s.
8. Breast Cancer Prevention
Yes, I’m aware that I literally just mentioned that brown rice can help to prevent cancer due to the antioxidants it contains. However, it’s also imperative to mention that the pytonutrient Lignin also found within it can specifically target and inhibit the growth of cancerous cells within the breast region. I hope you didn’t skip this, gents, because breast cancer isn’t just limited to ladies.
9. Diabetes Prevention
Our good friend fiber strikes again. It effects the digestion time of the carbohydrates within the rice, which is far slower than more processed grains, such as white rice. Subsequently, sugars are released more slowly into the blood stream, meaning your blood sugar doesn’t spike as much or as high. Furthermore, brown rice has a lower GI than these other grains. This is worth taking notice of because lower GI foods create more stable blood glucose levels and can therefore reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes. Seriously guys, throw the white bread and rice down now.
10. Gallstone Prevention
Did I mention that the fiber found within brown rice is also awesome because it can help to prevent gallstones in women? As much as it annoys me that us ladies seem to be getting the most screwed over by eating white rice, I’m pretty excited about preventing tiny rocks from stabbing my insides.
Brown rice is much healthier than white rice because it is a whole grain, but cooking brown rice intimidates a lot of home cooks because it takes so long and seems so fussy. How to Cook Brown Rice Like a ChefFeatured photo credit: A bowl of rice seasoned in beef broth and spicesvia Shutterstock