Brown rice differs from other types of rice because it is unprocessed and contains all parts of the grain. As a result, it is generally brown in color and contains high levels of fiber and nutrients. Eating brown rice along with other whole grain foods is considered very healthy.
Most whole grains contain three parts, the bran, the kernel and the germ. The bran is the outside, or shell, of the grain and protects the innermost parts. The kernel is the largest part of the grain and is located below the bran. The innermost part of the grain is the germ, which is a very small part of the whole and is the part of the grain that sprouts when it is planted as seed.
Grains, including rice, can be found in three different forms, including brown, refined or enriched. Brown rice has not been processed and still has its bran, germ and kernel. Refined rice has been processed so that both the bran and germ are removed from the grain, leaving only the grain. Enriched grains are refined grains that have had some of their nutrients restored.
Increased whole grain is the most nutritious rice. It contains a large amount of fiber, which is found mainly in the bran layer of the grain. It also contains high levels of vitamins and minerals found in the germ of the grain. The grain, which is the only original part of the rice that remains in refined and enriched rice, contains very few nutrients. Enriched rice has had some of the nutrients lost in the refining process replaced, but the fiber cannot be replaced, and it is still not as nutritious as brown rice.
Eating whole grain foods, including brown rice, can be beneficial to health. These foods have been linked to a reduced risk of heart disease and diabetes. This is believed to be because brown rice is low in fat but very high in fiber and nutrients.
What is the difference between brown rice and white rice?
When rice is harvested, it must be processed before being sent to market. In the case of white rice and brown rice, the inedible outer hull of the rice is removed to make the rice grain accessible. To make the rice white, the individual grains are further stripped: the bran and germ and also removed, and the grains are polished to be white and smooth. However, brown rice is left with these outer layers intact, and since most of the nutrition is available in these layers, it is better for the consumer.
Which one is preferred?
There are several reasons for stripping rice down to the main grain, so white rice has some advantages over brown rice:
It cooks faster and tends to create fluffier rice.
In many parts of the world, white rice is preferred because people feel it tastes better.
The nutrient-rich outer layers of rice also have certain good fats, which can go rancid if the rice is not eaten soon enough.
White rice is much more stable in storage than brown rice, and can be stored under more unfavorable conditions. Brown rice should ideally be refrigerated and also eaten within six months.
Unfortunately, many people in developing countries rely heavily on rice for their nutrition. While these people have traditionally eaten brown rice, a growing trend toward white rice consumption has led to nutritional deficits in some parts of the world. In some areas, rice producers are trying to avoid this problem by nutritionally fortifying their rice with essential vitamins and minerals, which is a positive step. However, it is impossible to replace the valuable fiber removed with the bran and germ of the rice grain.
Fiber is an extremely important part of the human diet and serves a number of dietary functions. Foods rich in fiber help maintain intestinal health, fight obesity and affect the likelihood of heart disease and diabetes. For this reason, most dietary recommendations include a high intake of whole grains, including brown rice. However, many consumers omit the “whole” from “grains,” and eat many highly processed and stripped grain products, such as white bread and white rice, probably because these flavors appeal more to their palates.
Unfortunately, these foods do not have the same dietary value as whole grains, and consuming too much of them can lead to dietary imbalances.