10 Surprising Health Benefits Of Brown Rice

By:    Published: April 12, 2012

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Whole grains are important part of any diet and have often been labeled the healthiest grains that anybody can eat. One of those whole grains is brown rice, which is rice that is natural and unrefined. Many people choose to eat brown rice instead of white rice because of its health benefits. But what makes it so healthy? Read on to find out.

1. It Lowers The Risk Of Developing Diabetes

Harvard researchers have discovered that eating at least two servings of brown rice per week can lower the risk of developing diabetes. They found that by eating just 50 grams of brown rice a day, the risk of type 2 diabetes can be lowered by 16 percent, while other whole grains, such as barley and whole wheat, can lower the risk by 36 percent.

2. It’s High In Fiber

Brown rice supplies 14 percent of the recommended daily value for fiber, an important nutrient that protects against colon cancer and breast cancer. Fiber tends to latch onto the chemicals that cause cancer and steer them away from the cells in the colon and breasts, preventing cancer from developing in those areas. Fiber also has many other health benefits including promoting cardiovascular health.

3. It’s A Good Source Of Manganese And Selenium

One cup of brown rice contains 88 percent of the recommended daily value of manganese, a nutrient that plays an important part in fighting free radicals. Manganese is part of a compound known as superoxide dismutase, an antioxidant that prevents damage from free radicals created during the energy production process. Manganese is also important for deriving energy from protein and carbohydrates and plays a key role in the synthesis of fatty acids.

Selenium also plays a role in the antioxidant process and can destroy cancer cells and even repair DNA. Selenium is important for regulating the thyroid hormone metabolism and immune system function. Most people don’t take in the proper amount of selenium of which brown rice is a good source – it provides more than 27 percent of the daily recommended value.

4. It Can Prevent Weight Gain

A study conducted by Harvard researchers shows that women who incorporate whole grains, such as brown rice, into their diet were more likely to maintain a healthy body weight. They were also almost 50 percent more likely to not gain weight by eating a diet rich in whole grains.

5. It Can Lower Cholesterol

The oil in brown rice has been shown to lower levels of LDL cholesterol, also known as the bad cholesterol, by up to seven percent. At the same time, a diet high in whole grains can increase the level of HDL cholesterol, or the good cholesterol.

6. It Offers Many Cardiovascular Benefits

Studies have shown that brown rice can have many cardiovascular benefits for postmenopausal women, including slowing the progression of atherosclerosis, which is the build-up of plaque in the arteries, as well as slowing the progression of the narrowing of the arteries. But postmenopausal women aren’t the only ones who can benefit from the heart-healthy compounds in this whole grain. Brown rice also contains plant lignans, which can protect against heart disease and certain types of cancer.

7. It’s A Good Source Of Phytonutrients

Phytonutrients are compounds naturally found in plants that have anti-inflammatory properties and tend to act as an antioxidant. Brown rice is a great source of these plant compounds, especially phenolics. In fact, research has shown that brown rice contains almost as much phenolics as fruits and vegetables.

8. It Reduces The Risk Of Developing Metabolic Syndrome

Metabolic syndrome is a combination of factors that increases the risk for developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke. This condition is characterized by excess fat in the abdominal area and insulin resistance. Eating whole grains on a regular basis can reduce the risk of weight gain and insulin resistance by up to 38 percent.

9. It Reduces The Risk Of Childhood Asthma

Asthma is a very common condition among children and causes many children to miss numerous days of school. But children who eat plenty of whole grains along with fish can lower their risk of developing asthma by 50 percent. Studies show that fruits, vegetables and even dairy don’t have much of an effect in reducing asthma, but whole grains and fish do.

10. It Promotes Bone Health

Brown rice is a good source of magnesium, a mineral that is essential to bone health. Just one cup of brown rice contains 21 percent of the recommended daily value of magnesium. Most of the magnesium in the body is stored on or in the bones, so to keep a high level of magnesium in your bones, and to reap the other health benefits, eat plenty of brown rice each week.

Rice is a popular menu option in cultures all over the world. It goes well with seafood, chicken, beef and almost any vegetable. It is extremely popular due to its versatility and culinary simplicity. Unfortunately, most people do not stop to find out about the nutritional value of rice. When choosing the type of rice to serve with your meals, opt for the healthy whole grain - brown rice.

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