Monday, April 22, 2024

The Rice and How it is Best for Health

Use of Brown Rice over White Rice is a healthy trend and should be promoted

Rice-Crop-in-Field Rice production in Pakistan holds an extremely important position in agriculture and in national economy. Pakistan is the world’s fourth largest rice producer country, after China, India and Indonesia. Each year, Pakistan produces an average of 6 million tons of rice. The country is responsible for supplying 30% of the world’s paddy rice output. Most of the rice crops are grown in the Punjab and fertile parts of Sindh provinces. Millions of farmers rely on rice cultivation as their major source of income. Among the most famous varieties grown in Pakistan include the Basmati Rice, which is known well for its quality, flavour and aroma.

Some of the regions of Punjab province produce one of the best quality rice in the world. The most notorious and recognized regions are Sialkot, Narowal, Gujranwala, Kamoki and Lahore districts. These regions produce best quality rice, competes in international market with rice from other regions of Sub-continent and rest of the Asia.

Rice is good for health, though it is not high in fiber as compare to other whole grains like Wheat and Barley, but it is easily digestible. Cooking rice is also easy as compare to Wheat and Barley, as these needs to go through many processes before take the shape of bread. Rice is better for health if it is less processed and use as food in more kind of natural form, but unfortunately the trend modern world of making things more beautiful, good looking and polished kind of, has made the rice unhealthy and low diet food, which is obviously not true.

There are many varieties of rice, consist of Long Grain & Short Grain, Thick & Thin, Crispy & Sticky, etc. with several sub categories and varieties, but basically the rice is divided into two main categories White Rice and Brown Rice.

In simplified explanation, White Rice is the rice which is industrially processed and polished to make it look more whitish and shiny. Whereas, the Brown Rice is unprocessed or very less processed, more like in natural form.

White Rice

White-Rice About a century ago, eating rice meant eating Brown Rice. Things started changing by the invention of the Rice Mill in Scotland in the year 1860 (During British rule over Sub-continent). Though at first it was invented only for Britain, but gradually the trend moved to USA and Europe, and finally after many decades it was adopted in Sub-continent as well and people slowly got out of the habit of eating Brown Rice.

People started using White Rice because it is tasty, can be stored for longer time than Brown Rice, and more over it takes less time to cook. By the passage of time, eating white rice was considered more sophisticated and an elite class act than eating Brown Rice. Despite of the fact that White Rice look good and it is popular, it has many disadvantages from nutritional point of view.

In order to convert Brown Rice into White Rice, the inner part of grain, germ and the inner covering of grain, husk (bran) are removed. Later the grain is polished with glucose or talc. The complete pounding and polishing (refining) that takes place to convert Brown Rice into White Rice destroys 67% of the vitamin B3, 80% of the vitamin B1, 90% of the vitamin B6, half of the manganese, half of the phosphorus, 60% of the iron, and all of the dietary fiber and essential fatty acids.

Disadvantages of White Rice:

  • White rice is rich in complex carbohydrates, which get changed into blood glucose within few minutes after the food is taken. So, for people with diabetes, white rice is not suggested to them.
  • White rice has high value of Glycemic index (87). Hence, regular consumption increases the risk of diabetes and also increases weight. A research from Harvard University also showed that regular intake of white rice increases the risk of Type 2 Diabetes.
  • White Rice has low nutritional value when compared to Brown Rice, since majority of the nutritious part of it has been removed.

Brown rice

Brown-Rice Brown rice (also called hulled rice) is produced by minimal processing either by machine, or by hand pounding. During the processing, only the hull or the husk of the paddy grain is removed and hence it is called as least processed form of rice. Under the hull, there lays a brown layer called as ‘bran’ layer, which is usually removed while polishing to produce White Rice. But, in case of Brown rice, the bran layer, which is said to have rich fiber content, is retained and hence makes the brown rice more nutritional. Instead of using machine, if the rice is processed using traditional hand techniques, then it is called hand pounded rice, which more ideal from nutritional point of view.

Brown rice requires less processing, it does not mean that it costs less than White Rice. Brown rice has a shorter shelf life due to some oil content in the bran layer and hence more resources are required to preserve its quality during storage and transportation. This increases the price. Moreover, due to the increased demand for White Rice which is produced in larger scale, leave the Brown Rice as a premium product.

Brown rice has a slightly chewy texture and nut like flavor and it takes approximately 40-45 minutes to cook one cup of rice, provided if it is soaked 30 minutes before cooking. The high fiber and the oil content of the bran layers increases the cooking time of Brown Rice compared to White Rice.

Benefits of Brown Rice:

  • Brown Rice is a high fiber diet, which helps in reducing the possibility of heart diseases, avoids abrupt spikes in sugar levels, helps digestion and reduces constipation.
  • It contains essential nutrients like Manganese (88%), selenium (27.3%), magnesium (20.9%), and tryptophan (18.7%) in one cup of rice. Manganese is useful to provide energy and antioxidant protection, while Selenium reduces the risk of colon cancer.
  • The oil in the whole brown rice helps in reducing cholesterol.
  • Eating a serving of Brown Rice, at least 6 times a week is especially useful for postmenopausal women with high cholesterol, high blood pressure and cardiovascular diseases.
  • Due to its low Glycemic index and high cereal fiber content, it reduces the risk of metabolic syndrome.
  • The insoluble fibers in Brown Rice are helpful for the women to prevent gallstones.
  • Brown Rice is the complete source, which has one of the most essential amino acids present in any vegetarian food.
  • Vital vitamin E components and many valuable nutrients are present in Brown Rice.

In a new study (Boston, Massachusetts, USA), researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) have found that eating five or more servings of White Rice per week was associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes. In contrast, eating two or more servings of Brown Rice per week was associated with a lower risk of the disease. The researchers estimated that replacing 50 grams of white rice (just one third of a typical daily serving) with the same amount of brown rice would lower risk of type 2 diabetes by 16%. The same replacement with other whole grains, such as whole wheat and barley, was associated with a 36% reduced risk.

Brown Rice is superior to White Rice when it comes to fiber content, minerals, vitamins, and phytochemicals, and it often does not generate as large an increase in blood sugar levels after a meal. Milling and polishing Brown Rice removes most vitamins and minerals. In addition, milling strips away most of its fiber, which helps discourage diabetes by slowing the rush of sugar (glucose) into the bloodstream.


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Category: Health

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