There are so many rice varieties to choose from these days. If you are cooking a rice meal based on a recipe you have found on the internet, you are not going to have a hard time finding the perfect rice because the recipe will tell which one is the right one. However, if you are shopping for rice based on the nutritive value, that’s when the challenge steps into the scene. Especially if you are a newbie rice shopper, finding the perfect rice for your needs may not be that easy.
Although white rice is the most common of all the rice varieties, many will agree that it’s not the healthiest of the bunch. The fact that the grains are white and shiny is a giveaway that much of the beneficial aspects of rice are already stripped off. You see, the kind of processing white rice goes through in order to achieve its characteristic appearance removes a couple of health-giving components: the bran and germ.
Reasons Why the Bran and Germ Should Remain Intact
The bran is found directly under the hull, the tough covering of rice grains that’s also known as the husk. No matter the type of rice, the hull has to be removed to make them suited for human consumption.
Going back to the bran, this usually has a tan color. However, its color will still largely depend on the pigmentation present. For instance, it may be black or reddish. What makes the bran good for you is this: it is an excellent source of dietary fiber as well as copper, zinc, potassium, iron, niacin and many others.
On the other hand, the germ is packed with B-vitamins necessary for synthesis of energy and the proper functioning of the nerves. The germ is also loaded with an assortment of minerals. By the way, the germ is found right under the hull too.
Just like what’s mentioned earlier, both the bran and germ are removed when rice is polished. What’s left is the so-called endosperm, which is basically just that light-colored grain of white rice. Needless to say, white rice is no longer as nutritious as rice should be due to the absence of the bran and germ.
White Rice is Still Actually Nutritious
However, this does not mean that white rice is devoid of any nutrient. White rice is actually a good source of complex carbohydrates and a little protein. It also contains thiamine, niacin, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous and selenium — all of which are essential for good health.
White rice is still nutritious, but not as nutritious as most other types of rice available on the market, in particular those whose bran and germ parts remain intact.
Brown Rice: Why It’s Much Healthier Than White Rice
The color of brown rice is a clear indicator that it has not undergone the kind of processing that white rice has been through, which means that both the bran and germ remain intact. This fact is what exactly makes brown rice the healthiest type of rice on the planet. It may not look as attractive as white rice, but brown rice can impress when it comes to its nutrient profile. Since brown rice is not polished in any way, it contains a lot more of the nutrients found in white rice.
A serving of brown rice provides more health-giving B-vitamins, copper, potassium, iron and others. Experts say that brown rice is particularly rich in manganese, a nutrient important for the protection of cells against free radicals, conversion of carbohydrates into energy, production of sex hormones and a healthy nervous system.
Since both bran and germ are still present, brown rice is a wonderful source of dietary fiber that helps ward off constipation and lower your risk of colorectal cancer. It also helps in reducing cholesterol levels, therefore helping to lower your chances of having high blood pressure and heart disease.
Other Healthy Rice Types to Include in Your Diet
Aside from brown rice, there are a few other types of rice on today’s market that you might want to welcome into your life. For instance, there is wild rice that’s teeming with complex carbohydrates, dietary fiber, protein, potassium and others. Then there is also black rice that boasts of plenty of antioxidants. You may also try wehani rice that is not only nutritious, but also has an aroma that will remind you of buttery popcorn!