Rice is a staple food in many parts of the world, especially in many Asian countries like India. Especially in South India, rice is used throughout the day from breakfast to dinner, for all meals. There are many different preparations of rice that is used to create both sweet as well as savory dishes. Hence, rice is something that seems unavoidable, if you are living in India. However, due to many health concerns, with diseases like diabetes, people, especially the South Indians have now taken to wheat-based food like rotis to maintain health.
So, is white rice terrible for health and is brown rice better? Are there good and bad qualities in either? Should we avoid rice altogether or eat in moderation or should we switch to brown rice entirely? These are the questions that we are trying to address in today’s article.
Rice contains carbs entirely, with no fat and small amounts of protein. The significant difference between the main varieties of rice, namely brown and white is that white rice has its bran and germ removed. The brown rice, however, is a full grain one which retains all parts like the bran which is highly fibrous, the germ which is highly nutritious and the carb-rich endosperm. This is one of the main reasons why brown rice is said to be healthier.
Pros and cons
Put on a comparison table, and the brown rice has more vitamins and minerals, especially the likes of Vitamin B6, Manganese, Magnesium, Iron, and Zinc. It has more fiber and anti-oxidants as well.
On the cons part, brown rice MAY have anti-nutrients and a toxic chemical called arsenic. Antinutrients may reduce the body’s ability to absorb nutrients, whereas long-term consumption of arsenic can cause many diseases like cancer, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes. Arsenic poisoning is a well known environmental pollution challenge. Even white rice may have this, but the arsenic quantity tends to be more with brown rice.
Impact on health
Since brown rice is higher in magnesium content, it helps in regulating the blood sugar levels and can thus assist in diabetes management. This could be the reason why doctors tell diabetic patients to reduce white rice or switch to brown rice. It has also been proved through research that brown rice consumption can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. Also, it has also been proved through studies that the use of white rice increases the risk of diabetes. One reason for this could be the high glycemic index in it, which increases the blood sugar levels.
Coming to heart diseases, brown rice contains compounds like lignans that help protect against this. Studies suggest that these compounds reduce the amount of fat in the blood, helps in lowering the blood pressure and also decrease the inflammation in the arteries. Brown rice will even lower bad cholesterol. Thus, it helps reduce many risk factors that contribute to the heart disease.
The high amount of anti-oxidants present in brown rice helps prevent many chronic diseases including even cancer. Also, consumption of brown rice can help in reducing weight and maintain the Body Mass Index (BMI). It could thus help in preventing or reducing obesity, which again leads to many health issues.
So, in an overall comparison, the one takeaway may be that rice itself has to be eaten in moderation, and in that brown rice may be better than white as it helps in many ways. Eating white rice too, in moderate quantities now and then, may not prove to be highly harmful as well.