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Rice: The Wonders of the Humble Grain

2 weeks ago by Anna Fernandez

For many cultures, rice symbolises nourishment, prosperity, beauty, and even fertility. This humble grain is a great carbohydrate and our body needs carbohydrates for energy so it’s really not a good idea to cut rice entirely from your diet. Here are just some of the more common types of rice and how they can benefit you.

Brown

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Brown rice provides nutrients like vitamin E. This vitamin plays an important role as an antioxidant and can help protect your body from free radicals, which can damage cells. Compared to white rice, brown rice is richer in fibre. It has 10 per cent of the daily recommended protein, as well as 14 per cent of the fibre, contained in a one-cup serving.

Brown rice also contains very healthy amounts of selenium, magnesium, and phosphorus, along with niacin, vitamin B6, and thiamin. It’s the manganese content, that’s really over the top – 88 per cent of what you need in one day is present in just one serving. Manganese turns carbohydrates and proteins into energy, supports the nervous system, and produces cholesterol to generate sex hormones. It also plays a vital role in protecting cells from free radical damage. In addition, brown rice has anti-depressant properties and helps maintain healthy bones and stronger immune system.

White

Brown rice is brown because it has the bran intact. White rice is just rice with the bran and germ removed. This removes much of the nutritional value.

White rice contains less nutrients than brown, black or red varieties. One reason why white rice is seen as inferior to the other types is due to its lower fibre content. It also has fewer vitamins and minerals than brown rice, with the exception of iron. If the white rice variety is enriched, it has added iron, niacin, thiamin, and folic acid. Iron and folic acid promote healthy red blood cell function, while niacin and thiamin support your metabolism.

Consuming steamed white rice helps boost your intake of zinc. Hundreds of proteins in your body – including those that control gene activity, support tissue structure and boost your metabolism – rely on zinc to function.

Steamed white rice should be eaten in moderation. Whole-grain varieties of rice, like brown rice, should make more regular appearances in your diet. Substituting even a small portion of your white rice intake for brown rice reduces the risk of diabetes.

White rice is can be kept longer than brown rice.

Black

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Despite being less popular than brown rice or wild rice, black rice brings the same benefits as brown rice, along with a set of powerful antioxidants.

Interestingly, it’s possible that the darker the rice, the more potent its nutrients. Black rice contains the highest amount of antioxidants, protein and dietary fibre of all rice varieties. It has been found to contain anthocyanins with nutritional attributes similar to those found in blueberries and blackberries. These anthocyanins are known to be able to eradicate cell-damaging free radicals and can help your body fight a number of serious health issues, like cancer and heart disease.

Black rice has an outer layer like brown rice, making it a little more time-intensive to cook than white rice.

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