It would seem that the ‘white rice vs brown rice’ debate has finally been put to an end. Brown rice won. Anyone who claims to know a thing or two about nutrition would tell you that you should eat whole grains. You may have even started switching to brown rice when eating sushi or Chinese food.
But the thing is, you’re not enjoying it and you’re wondering why it’s purported to be so healthy and we should all eat it. Well, in this article we’ll make everything clear.
The basics of white rice
First of all, the white rice is extremely processed. You must have heard by now that you should strive to avoid all processed and refined grains. White rice makes the top of that type of food.
A grain is considered to be a whole grain when it has 3 parts: the bran, germ, and endosperm. The bran is the outer shell of the edible kernel. It is full of antioxidants, fiber, and B vitamins. The germ also has B vitamins, minerals, protein, and healthy fats. The last one is mostly comprised of carbohydrates, some protein, and some vitamins and minerals.
During processing, white rice is stripped of the bran and the germ, leaving only the endosperm, which is the poorest part of the grain in terms of having healthy nutrients. So, when you’re eating a bowl of white rice with some chicken, you’re not consuming any fiber and you’re also ingesting fewer B vitamins, potassium, folate, and protein than brown rice. Scientists have shown a potential correlation between a diet high in white rice and an increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and metabolic syndrome.
As a side note, most white rice produced in the US has the original ingredients added to it such as thiamine (vitamin B1), folate, and iron, in the end making it nutritionally richer in these compounds than brown rice.
Is brown rice the better option?
So, even though it’s enriched, white rice is still missing the additional benefits that brown rice provides such as protein, potassium, fiber, choline, selenium, magnesium, and phosphorus. The higher fiber content in brown rice will keep you feeling satiated longer, resulting in fewer ingested calories over time, not to mention that it also improves the “good” bacteria in your gut.
Many studies have shown that regular whole grain consumption is associated with a decreased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. This is logical since brown rice has a lower glycemic index. One study, in particular, has shown that a group of obese/overweight people who ate more brown rice than white rice were able to decrease their glucose level as well as their insulin resistance.
Brown rice is way richer in magnesium, in fact it has close to 4 times more magnesium. This mineral is important for maintaining healthy bones and teeth and it also helps regulate glucose levels in your bloodstream, as well as your blood pressure. You ingest approximately 90% of your daily manganese requirements from brown rice, which is a mineral playing a crucial role in collagen production (making it important for the health of your skin).
Brown rice vs white rice – the verdict
If you’ve been wondering which option to choose, it should be pretty clear by now. In general, it’s 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 even though you may consume a lesser amount of B vitamins and iron this way, you will reap benefits in many other ways.
If you want to choose something that is even higher quality, you should choose germinated brown rice. The nutrients have a higher bio-availability when in sprouted brown rice. Look for it in your local market. And in case you want to make your rice bowl even more colorful, look for black rice.