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Brown Rice: A Nourishing Gift

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Rice is a staple food that nourishes more than half of the world’s population. The most common types are white and brown, which are defined by the degree of the milling process. Although white rice’s texture is softer, its nutrients are significantly deprived during processing. Since most of the brown rice remains intact, it’s considered a whole grain. It has been proven to yield many health benefits because of its abundant nutritional value. For people who are sensitive to gluten or have celiac disease, brown rice is a good alternative to replace products that contain wheat because it's a natural, gluten-free grain.

Another reason that brown rice is a decent choice to help control blood sugar levels is because of its high amounts of dietary fiber and other polysaccharides, such as arabinoxylan and beta-glucan. These components can help to regulate glucose absorption in the intestines, thus avoiding a spike in blood sugar levels. A study showed that replacing just 50 grams of white rice with the same amount of brown rice per week was associated with a 16% reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Brown rice provides an abundant source of magnesium, which plays an important role in sustaining heart health. Just a cup of brown rice fulfills around 88% of the daily recommended intake of manganese. A cup of brown rice contains up to 19.1 milligrams of selenium, which makes up 27% of the recommended daily value. When immersed in water for a number of hours, it creates an environment for the grain to germinate. For example, vitamin E, dietary fiber, niacin, magnesium, vitamin B1, and vitamin B6 are significantly increased. In particular, the amount of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in germinated brown rice increases up to 10 times, as compared to white rice and two times more than that of normal brown rice. According to a study in the European Journal of Nutrition, consuming germinated brown rice can help stabilize the mood of nursing women.

Brown rice has an antioxidant called phytic acid, which can also be found in whole grains, seeds, legumes, and nuts. But don’t worry because phytic acid only affects the absorption of minerals that are eaten in the same meal. Compared to white rice, brown rice has more phosphorus and potassium. In some special cases, people with kidney disease may need to control their intake of these nutrients.
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