Rice is a food staple in many countries across the world. Researchers believe it was first cultivated thousands of years ago in China. While rice may have its longest history in Asia, it’s a popular food around the world today. White rice is often stripped of its nutrients, but brown rice, in contrast, is loaded with vitamins and minerals. It contains high amounts of manganese, selenium, magnesium, phosphorus and B vitamins. It also contains fiber and protein, which help the body maintain a healthy and regular digestive system. As a naturally gluten-free grain, brown rice is a healthy carbohydrate option for those who keep gluten out of their diet. Brown rice health benefits include the ability to reduce the risk of diabetes, promote heart health and more.
Brown Rice Health Benefits
1. Boosts Heart Health
Brown rice health benefits include improved heart health. It contains plant lignans, which have been shown to help protect the body from various diseases, including heart disease. Brown rice is also high in magnesium. Studies have shown that magnesium helps maintain normal heart rhythm. Brown rice health benefits include a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and a healthier heart. (1)
2. Provides the Body with Manganese
Thanks to the manganese it contains, brown rice health benefits include improved nutrient absorption, improved bone development and a strengthened immune system. The body uses manganese for many functions, including the production of digestive enzymes and the formation of blood-clotting. Brown rice health benefits also include the ability to help naturally regulate blood sugar.
3. Decreases Cholesterol
Brown rice health benefits include the ability to naturally lower cholesterol levels. Brown rice contains both fiber and bran. Studies have shown that together, fiber and bran can help lower unhealthy cholesterol levels. Fiber binds to cholesterol in the digestive system to help promote its excretion. (2)
4. Lowers Diabetes Risk
Research has shown that brown rice health benefits include a decreased risk of diabetes. A 2010 study conducted at the Harvard School of Public Health found that if you consume about 12 ounces of white rice per week but make the switch to brown rice, your diabetes risk may reduce by an estimated 16%. Brown rice health benefits include a lower risk of diabetes thanks to its position on the glycemic index. Researchers found that people who eat brown rice tend to be healthier overall, compared to those who eat white rice. (3)
5. Free of Gluten
Brown rice health benefits can work for those who are sensitive or intolerant to gluten. For many people who eat a gluten-free diet, brown rice is a go-to carbohydrate. Avoiding gluten can help reduce the chance of allergic reactions or other symptoms related to gluten sensitivities. Gluten-related symptoms can include rashes, nausea, vomiting and digestive problems.