Lately rice has been a huge topic of debate when it comes to health and fitness. In this blog I’ll try to throw some light on the varieties of rice namely, White, Red, Brown, Black and Green. Apart from the significant color difference there’s a lot that differs in the nutritional value.
It is a highly refined version of raw rice and is commonly known as “polished” rice. The process of heavily milling the rice takes away significant parts of the grain i.e. the bran and germ. They are rich in dietary fiber, B vitamins, and essential fats that are important for human health. After the milling and polishing process that the white rice goes through, it is left empty of nutrients and becomes primarily starch. Consuming un-enriched white rice can lead to a disorder called beriberi, which occurs due to thiamine (vitamin B1) deficiency. This condition is much more common in the eastern world, mostly Asia, where white rice is the main source of carbohydrate.
According to a Delhi based weight management expert, Dr. Gargi Sharma, “If white rice undergoes further process of polishing then its aleurone layer gets removed leading to loss of nutrients. This layer is rich in B vitamins, other nutrients and essential fats.” White rice is primarily starch. Due to processing, it falls short on some essential nutrients like thiamine, also known as B1 as well other B Vitamins. Consuming un-enriched white rice can lead to a condition called beriberi, which occurs due to thiamine deficiency. White rice is also treated with additives that can – in certain cases – harm human body and trigger metabolic disorders like diabetes, obesity and so on.
White rice is also treated with additives that in some cases can lead to metabolic disorders such as diabetes, obesity, and so on. White rice gets a bad rap, and perhaps deservedly. When matched up against the available alternatives, in terms of nutritional value, white rice pales in comparison.
Now let’s talk about the healthier alternatives.
Red Rice & Brown Rice:
The gorgeous red colour is actually natural! The colour comes from an antioxidant known as anthocyanin, which can also be found in some red fruits and vegetables (like cherries and red cabbage). Anthocyanin has strong anti-inflammatory properties, which can help protect against symptoms of inflammation, like joint pain or fatigue. Red rice also has magnesium, which may help to reduce muscle cramping.
Because of its beautiful colour and earthy flavour, red rice is amazing with Thai dishes. It’s also great for an antioxidant boost, red rice has up to TEN times the antioxidants of brown rice. The manganese present in both varieties helps in strengthening metabolism, while magnesium helps in migraine, lowers blood pressure as well as risks of heart attacks. Along with calcium, magnesium helps in maintaining healthy bones and teeth, and prevents risks of arthritis and osteoporosis. Selenium on the other hand protects the body against infections. Moreover, since they are high in fibre content, the digestion process is slow, which leads to a strengthened digestive system. Fibre also aids in slowing down the rate at which carbs are converted into blood sugar; therefore fibrous foods are low on the glycemic load.
According to experts, the two varieties are also highly recommended for diabetics – because of their low glycemic index – and heart patients. These are considered whole grains, which can help in reducing the arterial plaque, prevent risks of cardiovascular diseases, tame high cholesterol and regulate blood sugar. According to recent studies, consuming one cup of brown rice on a daily basis can significantly cut short the risks of developing diabetes by up to 60%.
Green smoothies are good for us, so the same must apply to rice, right? Well, kind of! Green rice is actually brown rice that has been infused with either bamboo juice or chlorophyll to get that deep green colour. Because it retains many of the same properties as brown rice, it is a good source of fibre, while also providing a taste similar to green tea. Green rice adds real vibrancy to your sushi rolls! But you can pretty much use green rice anywhere you’d normally use brown rice.
This is also commonly known as the forbidden rice. Once known as a food served only to the royals in ancient China, the consumption of black rice was forbidden by the masses. The surge in food trends revolving around healthier options like brown rice and quinoa has finally given way to unveil this superfood. This variety beats the nutritional benefits of brown and red rice combined. Rich in fiber, it comes loaded with antioxidants, phytonutrients, phytochemicals, vitamin E, protein, and iron to name a few. Black rice is believed to be beneficial for the liver, kidneys, and stomach. It has high content of anthocyanins, which help in preventing risks of cancer. Its low sugar and glycemic content makes it an extremely desirable dietary option for heart patients, diabetics as well as for those with high blood pressure.
“A spoonful of black rice bran contains more health promoting anthocyanin antioxidants than are found in a spoonful of blueberries, but with less sugar, more fiber, vitamins and antioxidants,” noted Zhimin Zu, associate professor, Louisiana and State University, America.
There are over 40,000 varieties of rice produced all over the world. So, why should we limit ourselves to the plain, boring white rice? The more color you add to your plate, the healthier your meal gets because color is directly proportional to nutrients, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and, fiber. Eat colorful – Eat Healthy! 🙂