Rice is a staple in countless diest around the world. With so many varieties of rice out there, however, from basmati rice to the iconic white rice often seen, it can be hard to understand all of the benefits and differences. However, it has been becoming clearer and clearer that brown rice is a nutritional powerhouse. Even a tiny change such as transitioning from white rice to brown rice in one's diet can trigger some amazing health benefits. Brown rice is a whole grain that contains the husk of the grain; not just the starchy middle like white rice.
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Brown rice is a great gluten-free carbohydrate. This is wonderful news not only for individuals suffering from celiac disease, an autoimmune condition in which the patient's immune system attacks their small intestine when they consume anything with gluten, but also for individuals who are sensitive to gluten. Gluten is the protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. Brown rice does not contain any gluten, and due to this, it will not lead to inflammation, intestinal destruction, and numerous other side effects in individuals who are negatively affected if they consume gluten. Brown rice is quite good for the intestinal tract of everyone as it contains fiber and phytonutrients (nutrients from plants) that contribute to the health of the gut and body.
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Keeps Things Regular
Brown rice is full of healthy insoluble fiber, about 3.5 grams in every cup, which as many individuals will already know, is a key component of alleviating constipation and diarrhea, and simply keeping individuals regular in general. Brown rice and the fiber it contains will help keep everything moving through an individual's colon, particularly if they are sure to drink plenty of water as well. Insoluble fiber, a necessary part of any diet, is a major part of what keeps stool a consistent and healthy texture. The fiber content in brown rice and its effect on constipation is a major difference between it and white rice. In white rice, the germ, bran, and hull, which are what provide rice with nutritional benefits, have been removed. WIth brown rice, they are not removed, hence why they can benefit the body rather than have no effect or worse, cause digestive issues.
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Helps With Weight Management
As stated previously, brown rice contains quite a lot of fiber. But fiber can do more than just promote intestinal health; it also helps with feelings of satiation. Of course, however, consuming too much brown rice has the potential to make individuals feel too full. Approximately, one third to one half of a cup of brown rice is a perfect size to realize the health benefits while also making individuals feel satisfied. With this ability to increase satiety, individuals can have better control over their appetite and also regulate their consumption of calories. This is quite helpful when looking to lose excess weight or maintain a healthy weight. Brown rice fits well into a healthy diet while providing a level of energy necessary to maintain a balanced lifestyle.
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Decreases The Risk Of Diabetes
Brown rice also helps regulate blood glucose levels by influencing the absorption rate of carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are broken down into smaller units called glucose. Alone, glucose is absorbed very quickly into the bloodstream, such as when sugary candy is eaten or a soft drink is consumed. The quick absorption of glucose leads to spikes in blood glucose, which can overload the body. If this happens too often, the body begins to develop insulin resistance and potentially even type 2 diabetes. Pairing glucose with fiber, such as what is contained in brown rice, is one way to prevent these blood glucose spikes and reduce the risk of diabetes.
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Helps Balance Oxidation In The Body
Oxidation is a normal part of living and occurs in the body. Everyone's body naturally creates antioxidants and oxidants, although certain lifestyles can lead to the production of too many oxidants. Brown rice can come to the rescue by providing more antioxidants. Brown rice is filled with phytonutrients with antioxidant properties. Brown rice also contains an essential nutrient known as manganese, a potent antioxidant. Essential nutrients are nutrients the body does not produce, so, individuals must get them through their diet. One serving of brown rice provides approximately eighty percent of the recommended daily intake of manganese. Antioxidants work by becoming oxidized while other necessary molecules are left untouched. Antioxidants sacrifice themselves for the good of the body.
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Helps Promote Heart Health
As mentioned, brown rice contains phytonutrients that have anti-inflammatory properties. This means brown rice can help prevent or even reduce inflammation, which, along with oxidation, is the driving force behind cardiovascular disease. Brown rice also contains magnesium, which is an essential nutrient involved in energy metabolism and has been linked to lowering blood pressure. Brown rice is often included in a diet that helps with hypertension (high blood pressure). The soluble fiber in brown rice also helps lower blood cholesterol. Lower cholesterol and reduced inflammation are a couple of ways in which brown rice is thought to slow down atherosclerosis (the hardening of arteries).
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When most individuals think about bone health, they typically only think about calcium or maybe vitamin D. However, magnesium also plays an important role, as it works with calcium to promote bone health. About two-thirds of the body's magnesium is stored in the bones, which means bone structure is highly dependent on magnesium. If other parts of the body need magnesium, it is taken from the surface of the bones. To prevent this from happening, individuals need to get enough magnesium in their diet. Thankfully, brown rice is a good source of magnesium, and including brown rice in a balanced diet indirectly supports the structure of the bones.
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Decreases The Risk Of Cancer
Research has revealed there is a link between diet and cancer risk. more specifically, there is an inverse relationship between fiber consumption and certain types of cancer. This means as an individual's fiber intake increases, their risk of certain cancers decreases. For example, women eating thirty grams or more of fiber per day were said to have a fifty percent reduction in the risk of breast cancer as compared to women consuming twenty grams or less per day. The same has been seen with the intake of dietary antioxidants and nutrients with anti-inflammatory properties. Brown rice has all of these: fiber, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory properties. Along with other high fiber foods; mostly fruits and vegetables; brown rice can help decrease an individual's risk of colon and breast cancer.
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Provides The Body With Energy
One of the most abundant nutrients in brown rice is starch, and when eaten in appropriate amounts (one-third to one-half cup servings), brown rice provides the body healthy energy. The body needs sufficient energy to function properly and carbohydrates (starches and sugars) are the preferred fuels. A couple of the many reasons our body craves starches and sugars are that every cell in the body is set up to use carbohydrate for energy, but not every cell can use protein or fat (the other two nutrients that provide energy), and some cells, known as glycolytic cells, in the body can only use carbohydrates for energy. Brown rice is one source of this all-accepted nutrient.
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Helps Individuals Feel Good
Including brown rice in their diet can help individuals feel better about both themselves as a whole as well as just their diet. Brown rice, when made properly, tastes good and is, as established, quite healthy. This versatile grain can be used in many dishes and is easily seasoned. If individuals combine it with legumes (e.g. beans, lentils, and even peanuts), they have a good protein source. Knowing they are eating well and are doing something good for their body is a feeling like no other for countless individuals. This can work wonders for an individual's self-efficacy and attitude. Small changes add up and including brown rice in one's diet is a great step towards healthy eating.