According to World’s Healthiest Foods website, here are some of the ways in which the nutrients supplied by brown rice can make an important difference in your health:

1. Brown Rice Produces Energy and Protects from Free Radicals:

Just one cup of brown rice will provide you with 88.0% of the daily value for manganese. This trace mineral helps produce energy from protein and carbohydrates and is involved in the synthesis of fatty acids, which are important for a healthy nervous system, and in the production of cholesterol, which is used by the body to produce sex hormones. Manganese is also a critical component of a very important antioxidant enzyme called superoxide dismutase. Superoxide dismutase (SOD) is found inside the body’s mitochondria (the oxygen-based energy factories inside most of our cells) where it provides protection against damage from the free radicals produced during energy production.

2. Brown Rice Helps in Reducing Weight:

People eating Brown Rice do not put on weight. The high percentage of fiber and lecithin content present in it doesn’t change much into Carbohydrates. Where as the white rice devoid of these contents makes you fat quickly.

A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition underscores the importance of choosing whole grains such as brown rice rather than refined grain, i.e., white rice, to maintain a healthy body weight. In this Harvard Medical School / Brigham and Women’s Hospital study, which collected data on over 74,000 female nurses aged 38-63 years over a 12 year period, weight gain was inversely associated with the intake of high-fiber, whole-grain foods but positively related to the intake of refined-grain foods. Not only did women who consumed more whole grains consistently weigh less than those who ate less of these fiber-rich foods, but those consuming the most dietary fiber from whole grains were 49% less likely to gain weight compared to those eating foods made from refined grains.

3. Brown Rice is Rich in Fiber and Selenium:

For people worried about colon cancer risk, brown rice packs a double punch by being a concentrated source of the fiber needed to minimize the amount of time cancer-causing substances spend in contact with colon cells, and being a very good source of selenium, a trace mineral that has been shown to substantially reduce the risk of colon cancer.

In addition to supplying 14.0% of the daily value for fiber, a cup of cooked brown rice provides 27.3% of the DV for selenium, an important benefit since many Americans do not get enough selenium in their diets, yet this trace mineral is of fundamental importance to human health. Selenium is an essential component of several major metabolic pathways, including thyroid hormone metabolism, antioxidant defense systems, and immune function. Accumulated evidence from prospective studies, intervention trials and studies on animal models of cancer has suggested a strong inverse correlation between selenium intake and cancer incidence. Several mechanisms have been suggested to explain the cancer-preventive activities of selenium. Selenium has been shown to induce DNA repair and synthesis in damaged cells, to inhibit the proliferation of cancer cells, and to induce their apoptosis, the self-destruct sequence the body uses to eliminate worn out or abnormal cells.

In addition, selenium is incorporated at the active site of many proteins, including glutathione peroxidase, which is particularly important for cancer protection. One of the body’s most powerful antioxidant enzymes, glutathione peroxidase is used in the liver to detoxify a wide range of potentially harmful molecules. When levels of glutathione peroxidase are too low, these toxic molecules are not disarmed and wreak havoc on any cells with which they come in contact, damaging their cellular DNA and promoting the development of cancer cells.

Not only does selenium play a critical role in cancer prevention as a cofactor of glutathione peroxidase, selenium also works with vitamin E in numerous other vital antioxidant systems throughout the body. These powerful antioxidant actions make selenium helpful in the prevention not only of cancer, but also of heart disease, and for decreasing the symptoms of asthma and the pain and inflammation of rheumatoid arthritis.

4. Lower Cholesterol with Whole Brown Rice:

Here’s yet another reason to rely on whole foods, such as brown rice, for your healthy way of eating. The oil in whole brown rice lowers cholesterol.

When Marlene Most and colleagues from Louisiana State University evaluated the effects of rice bran and rice bran oil on cholesterol levels in volunteers with moderately elevated cholesterol levels, they found that rice bran oil lowered their LDL (bad) cholesterol.

The study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, was divided into two parts. First, 26 subjects ate a diet including 13-22g of dietary fiber each day for three weeks, after which 13 switched to a diet that added defatted rice bran to double their fiber intake for five weeks. In the second part of the study, a randomized crossover trial, 14 subjects ate a diet with rice bran oil for 10 weeks.

While the diet including only defatted rice bran did not lower cholesterol, the one containing rice bran oil lowered LDL cholesterol by 7%. Since all the diets contained similar fatty acids, the researchers concluded that the reduction in cholesterol seen in that receiving rice bran oil must have been due to other constituents such as the unsaponifiable compounds found in rice bran oil. The scientists suggest that the unsaponifiables present in rice bran oil could become important functional foods for cardiovascular health. But why extract just one beneficial compound from brown rice when you can reap all the cardio protective benefits supplied by the matrix of nutrients naturally present in this delicious whole food? In addition to unsaponifiables, this whole grain also supplies hefty doses of heart-healthy fiber, magnesium, and B vitamins.

5. Significant Cardiovascular Benefits for Postmenopausal Women:

Eating a serving of whole grains, such as brown rice, at least 6 times each week is an especially good idea for postmenopausal women with high cholesterol, high blood pressure or other signs of cardiovascular disease (CVD).

A 3-year prospective study of over 200 postmenopausal women with CVD, published in the American Heart Journal, shows that those eating at least 6 servings of whole grains each week experienced both:

  • Slowed progression of atherosclerosis, the build-up of plaque that narrows the vessels through which blood flows, and
  • Less progression in stenosis, the narrowing of the diameter of arterial passageways.

6. Lignans Protect against Heart Disease:

One type of phytonutrient especially abundant in whole grains including brown rice are plant lignans, which are converted by friendly flora in our intestines into mammalian lignans, including one called enterolactone that is thought to protect against breast and other hormone-dependent cancers as well as heart disease. In addition to whole grains, nuts, seeds and berries are rich sources of plant lignans, and vegetables, fruits, and beverages such as coffee, tea and wine also contain some. When blood levels of enterolactone were measured in over 850 postmenopausal women in a Danish study published in the Journal of Nutrition, women eating the most whole grains were found to have significantly higher blood levels of this protective lignan. Women who ate more cabbage and leafy vegetables also had higher enterolactone levels.

7. Brown Rice Substantially Lower Type – 2 Diabetes Risk:

According to Dr. Mantena Satyanarayana Raju the white rice makes sugar patients suffer more! The white rice gets digested quickly, turns into glucose and thereby increases the quantity of sugar level in the body. On the contrary, one cannot eat as much of brown rice as the white rice because of the large size of the grains and its nature. It also gets digested slowly due to the fibrous contents present in it; as a result of which the glucose takes time to join the blood stream. Therefore the sugar level in the body doesn’t increase quickly. Hence, the brown rice relatively helps in constraining the increase of sugar level in the body.

Brown rice and other whole grains are a rich source of magnesium, a mineral that acts as a co-factor for more than 300 enzymes, including enzymes involved in the body’s use of glucose and insulin secretion.

8. Brown Rice acts as an Antibiotic:

Magnesium, another nutrient for which brown rice is a good source, has been shown in studies to be helpful for reducing the severity of asthma, lowering high blood pressure, reducing the frequency of migraine headaches, and reducing the risk of heart attack and stroke. How does magnesium accomplish all this? Magnesium helps regulate nerve and muscle tone by balancing the action of calcium. In many nerve cells, magnesium serves as Nature’s own calcium channel blocker, preventing calcium from rushing into the nerve cell and activating the nerve. By blocking calcium’s entry, magnesium keeps our nerves (and the blood vessels and muscles they ennervate) relaxed. If our diet provides us with too little magnesium, however, calcium can gain free entry, and nerve cells can become over activated, sending too many messages and causing excessive contraction. Insufficient magnesium can thus contribute to high blood pressure, muscle spasms (including spasms of the heart muscle or the spasms of the airways symptomatic of asthma), and migraine headaches, as well as muscle cramps, tension, soreness and fatigue.

But that’s far from all magnesium does for you. Magnesium, as well as calcium, is necessary for healthy bones. About two-thirds of the magnesium in the human body is found in our bones. Some helps give bones their physical structure, while the rest is found on the surface of the bone where it is stored for the body to draw upon as needed. Brown rice can help you keep those storage sites replenished and ready to meet your body’s needs. A cup of brown rice will give you 21.0% of the daily value for magnesium.

In addition to the niacin it supplies, brown rice may also help raise blood levels of nitric oxide, a small molecule known to improve blood vessel dilation and to inhibit oxidative (free radical) damage of cholesterol and the adhesion of white cells to the vascular wall (two important steps in the development of atherosclerotic plaques). A study published in the British Journal of Nutrition suggests that diets high in rice protein can help protect against atherosclerosis by increasing blood levels of nitric oxide.

9. A Good Source of Fiber:

The health benefits of brown rice continue with its fiber; a cup of brown rice provides 14.0% of the daily value for fiber, which has been shown to reduce high cholesterol levels, one more way brown rice helps prevent atherosclerosis. Fiber also helps out by keeping blood sugar levels under control, so brown rice is an excellent grain choice for people with diabetes. As we mentioned above, the fiber in brown rice can also help to protect you against colon cancer since fiber binds to cancer-causing chemicals, keeping them away from the cells lining the colon, plus it can help normalize bowel function, reducing constipation.

10. Fiber from Whole Grains and Fruit Protective against Breast Cancer:

When researchers looked at how much fiber 35,972 participants in the UK Women’s Cohort Study ate, they found a diet rich in fiber from whole grains, such as brown rice, and fruit offered significant protection against breast cancer for pre-menopausal women.

11. Brown Rice helps Prevent Gallstones:

Eating foods high in insoluble fiber, such as brown rice, can help women avoid gallstones, shows a study published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology.

Studying the overall fiber intake and types of fiber consumed over a 16 year period by over 69,000 women in the Nurses Health Study, researchers found that those consuming the most fiber overall (both soluble and insoluble) had a 13% lower risk of developing gallstones compared to women consuming the fewest fiber-rich foods.


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