Whenever a fitness junkie gives you food advice, chances are they have suggested you try brown, red, or black rice because they are complex carbohydrates packed with micronutrients that your body will thank you for.
Generally, these kinds of rice are unhulled or partially unhulled and have a red husk instead of the more common brown type. This gives the rice a nutty flavor but makes the cooking time longer and requires more preparation.
Brown, red, and black rice provides us with a lot of health benefits because of their nutritional qualities. Read on to learn more about the 3 most common benefits of this kind of rice.
1. They contain minerals that build body structure and regulate metabolism
Polished rice loses 95% of its mineral content with the removal of the bran while the unhulled type retain minerals such as zinc, potassium, manganese, and iron.
Zinc is important because it helps the immune and digestive systems function normally. It also helps us control diabetes, reduce stress levels, hasten the healing of wounds and acne, and regulate our metabolism.
Potassium, along with sodium, chloride, calcium, and magnesium, is an electrolyte that conducts electricity in the body. It is responsible for the normal function of smooth muscles such as the heart and blood vessels, stomach, intestines, and the bladder. It also plays a role in metabolism, water balance, and nerve function.
Manganese helps build strong bones by regulating bone structure and metabolism, and by creating essential enzymes for building bones. It acts as a coenzyme for metabolic processes, and aids in the formation of connective tissues, absorption of calcium, and regulation of blood sugar level.
Iron mainly functions as part of hemoglobin that allows red blood cells to deliver oxygen to all parts of the body. An adequate intake of iron reduces the risk for anemia and helps maintain your health.
As you can see the minerals in rice play an important role in all aspects of our bodies.
2. They are rich in B complex vitamins and antioxidants that boost metabolism and oxidative protection
B complex vitamins are also found in the bran of unhulled rice. These play an important role in keeping you healthy as they regulate energy and cellular growth. They work in tandem with minerals and other B complex vitamins but they also have roles of their own.
For example, Vitamin B1 helps your body make new cells as well as protects your immune system. Together with vitamin B5, it is necessary for breaking down carbohydrates and fats for energy. Speaking of fat, vitamin B3 regulates the balance of good and bad cholesterol in our bodies too.
Vitamin B2 works as an antioxidant that fights premature cell aging caused by free radicals.
Increased intake of vitamin B2 helps lessen occurrences of migraines; It also works with vitamin B6, B12, and folate to ensure the normal production and growth of red blood cells, while regulating the levels of toxic homocysteine - associated with heart disease.
Vitamin B5 and B7 contribute as “beauty vitamins” since vitamin B5 has the ability to reduce signs of skin aging such as spots and redness; vitamin B7 or biotin is known to maintain healthy hair, skin and nails.
Many studies have been done on folate and vitamin B9 for their ability to control depression and prevent memory loss. However, it is mostly known for helping pregnant women with fetal growth and prevention of neurological birth defects.
3. They provide a high content of dietary fiber that cleans the digestive tract
Keeping the rice bran (the outer covering of the rice grain) allows rice eaters to increase their intake of dietary fiber when they choose unhulled or partially unhulled rice varieties. Unlike vitamins and minerals, fiber cannot be digested and absorbed into the body, but this is the reason why it’s so healthy.
Including brown rice in your regular diet lowers your risk of obesity. Fiber tends to soak up water making it bulky and leaving you feeling fuller. It also helps you feel full by slowing down the rate of food passage in your digestive system which has an added benefit of preventing abrupt changes in blood sugar levels.
Fiber binds fatty substances as they pass through the intestines preventing from being absorbed and instead, they are excreted along with the fiber.
Similarly, bile - which is created from cholesterol by the liver - is also bound to fiber for excretion. This stimulates the body to send cholesterol out of the bloodstream and into the liver for recycling to create more bile. The less cholesterol and fatty substances in the bloodstream, the less risk for heart disease.
A high-fiber diet also aids in maintaining good bowel health as it provides bulk to the stool and allows ease of passage. This may lower your risk of developing hemorrhoids and diverticular disease.
We love eating rice and it is good news that upgrading our rice to brown, red, and black varieties can give us a lot of benefits. This includes the improvement of digestive and heart health, as well as better control of blood glucose and cholesterol levels. It also helps detoxify the body and boosts our immunity and metabolism.
These benefits are mostly because of the bran layer that is kept on the grain. It is a rich source of vitamins and minerals, and contains insoluble fiber that cleans the digestive tract.
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