Rice vs brown rice: which one do you choose?

Among the cereals we talked about in previous articles we find rice. Very versatile and base food in the diet of many populations It can be an excellent alternative to pasta and is gluten-free. When we talk about rice, the two varieties that come to mind are white rice and brown rice.

Brown rice is generally recognized as healthier. But is it true? And why is it better than white rice? 

In this article, we will see: 

- What is brown rice 

- Why should we prefer it to white? 

- Properties of brown rice 

What is brown rice?

To answer this question, let's go back a moment and see what rice is. 

Rice is a cereal now grown all over the world and meets 50% of food demands. There are several varieties such as Venere, white and wholemeal rice. The latter is nothing more than the grain to which only the shell has been removed, called husk, inedible and to which, unlike white rice, the bran is left which is rich in fibre and germ, rich in proteins, vitamins and fibre. So the whole germ remains, and it is the bran that gives the brown tone. 

When brown rice is bleached, having eliminated the bran and germ, the result is the white rice.

At this point, it would be natural to ask, why if the germ and bran are custodians of most of the properties of rice, are they eliminated? One of the reasons why rice is subjected to treatment is because in this way it can be stored for longer, even if from a nutritional point of view, it eliminates important qualities

Why you shoul prefer brown rice?

In general, therefore, it would be advisable to integrate rice into your diet by alternating it with wheat, for a whole series of benefits such as easier digestibility and a sense of prolonged satiety over time. At this point in the choice between white rice and brown rice, you should prefer whole wheat because its nutritional value is greater. Brown rice containing bran that has not been eliminated during bleaching, provides a greater amount of fibre, vitamins and minerals.

In addition, compared to white rice contains a greater amount of phosphorus, more manganese that has antioxidant properties. Plus iron, vitamin B3, B1 and B6. The motivation is found in the minor refining that allows maintaining certain properties.

Another advantage of consuming rice and especially brown rice is the fact that rice among all cereals has a greater amount of protein of high biological value. When we talk about proteins in rice, the important element is not so much the quantity of protein but the quality. Despite being only 2% in brown rice, almost all 8 essential amino acids are present. This news is particularly useful for those who as vegetarians and vegans adopt a meat-free diet and can integrate rice into the diet as one of the sources of protein for daily needs. 

Properties of brown rice

Brown rice at the nutritional level is more nutritious and allows slower digestion and a better transit because still having the germ and bran is richer in minerals. The glycemic index of brown rice is lower than that of white rice for this reason, it is assimilated more slowly by the stomach dilating over time the sense of satiety.

In addition, brown rice has a high rate of vitamin A which is useful for tissue renewal and acts against cellular ageing.

It contains beta carotene, B vitamins and a large amount of phosphorus, zinc and various minerals, for this reason, it is suitable for all diets. In addition, brown rice is rich in phytonutrients that are useful for the prevention of heart and degenerative diseases. 

It is great for those suffering from kidney failure and obesity because it promotes metabolism. 

In conclusion, it is a good helper to keep blood pressure and cholesterol under control. These last two benefits are mainly attributable to fibre, soluble and insoluble, capable of promoting gastrointestinal transit and increasing the production of short-chain fatty acids by "good" bacteria, as claimed by a study conducted by the National Rice Authority.

Sources: La grande via Franco Berrino, Luigi Fontana

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