Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Health Benefits of Brown Rice

(c) 2011, Kathy Fannon

Brown rice has all bran layers intact and thus contains all of its naturally present nutrients. These layers of bran act to protect the grain and to help maintain its fatty acids. Brown rice contains the highest amount of B vitamins out of all grains. Additionally, it contains iron, vitamin E, amino acids, and linoleic acid. Brown rice is high in fiber, extremely low in sodium, and is composed of 80% complex carbohydrates. Because brown rice is a whole food, it takes longer to digest than white rice, providing the body with sustained energy throughout the day.

Phytic acid is a naturally occurring organic acid in the outer layer or bran. All grains contain phytic acid to some degree, but brown rice contains a relatively high level. When brown rice with untreated phytic acid enters the intestines, the phytic acid mixes with calcium, magnesium, copper, iron and zinc. The chemical reaction that takes place prohibits those minerals from being absorbed and utilized by the body. Some sources say that eating grains with untreated phytic acid will cause the body to lose bone mass and will eventually lead to overall mineral deficiency. However, soaking brown rice and other grains will eliminate the consequences of phytic acid by producing beneficial enzymes and raising the amount of nutrients present in brown rice. Others believe that un-soaked brown rice is healthier, as it stays in the digestive system longer than soaked grains, thus providing more energy. (Soak for at least one hour in enough water to cover the rice.)

· Generates energy
· Promotes good digestion
· Quenches thirst
· Alleviates diarrhea caused by spleen-pancreas deficiency
· Relieves mental depression

Buying & Storing
Look for quality brown rice that contains a small amount of green grains. We recommend buying high quality organic brown rice and storing it in airtight glass jars in a dark cupboard. 

(c) Integrative Nutrition

Try my Rice and Beans recipe for a cheap and nutritious meal or snack!

When I make brown rice I use 2 cups dry to make extra for the week for the three of us. It will make enough to have with a few meals (some even make a hot breakfast cereal with it) and it stores really well in the refrigerator for a week or longer.

Making brown rice is easy. Bring the rice and water to a boil, give a quick stir, then cover and simmer for 45 minutes while you do something else! It takes no real work and actually takes about the same amount of time as making Minute Rice as far as standing at the stove, but it's so much healthier! Brown rice has a sweet, nutty flavor and is really good.

I always add some cilantro while it cooks, either fresh or dried, for added flavor and color.