What are the Health Benefits of Brown Rice?

The white rice that you commonly see in the supermarket was brown rice once, but it was refined and processed to remove the bran and hull so that it cooks faster and is lighter in color. This process also removes most of the nutrients from the rice, including protein, fiber, calcium, thiamine, potassium, and magnesium.

This is why you will find most white rice with “enriched” labels. Those are unnatural additives that are meant to restore the important nutrients that have been lost. Most white rice is fortified or enriched with the iron, zinc, and other vitamins that it lost during the refining process. Following that process, white rice is so lacking in nutrients that it has to be chemically altered to meet the FDA’s minimum nutritional requirements to be sold as a food in supermarkets.


Here are several benefits that come from opting for brown rice over white.

Low Glycemic Index

Brown rice is particularly beneficial to people who have diabetes or hypoglycemia. Foods with a low glycemic index allow the carbohydrates to be released more slowly into the body which prevents blood sugar level spikes which result in lower amounts of insulin being released. Brown rice is a complex carbohydrate whereas white rice is a simple carbohydrate. The simple carbohydrates are the ones that need to be avoided The American Diabetes Association recommends that individuals with diabetes choose brown rice because of the nutritional value it possesses.

Weight Loss Help

Brown rice is a whole grain, which have been proven to have an extremely positive effect on the body, particularly in regards to fat and weight loss. Whole grains help enhance an enzyme in the body known as glutathione peroxidase, which is not as active as it should be in obese individuals. This antioxidant helps to remove the toxins in the body that can prevent weight loss. An important part of brown rice that helps with weight loss even more is manganese. This essential mineral helps to break down fat in the body, which can lead to greater weight loss.

Improved Digestion

One of the things that brown rice has which white rice does not is fiber. Fiber is essential to digestive health and will help to regulate the bowels. A recent study done to compare the digestive impact of brown rice verses white rice clearly indicated that brown rice is significantly more beneficial to the body than white rice. Additionally, fiber helps you feel full for longer which helps you eat less and stick to your diet more easily.

Heart Healthy

Another nutrient that brown rice contains is selenium. Selenium is an important nutrient for your cardiovascular health as it helps to reduce the plaque buildup on your arteries which can lead to heart attacks and hypertension. Some studies done on the outer casing of brown rice (which is removed in the processing to create white rice) indicates that there is a component which works against angiotensin ii, an endocrine protein which is linked to high blood pressure and hardening of the arteries.

Lowered Risk of Cancer

The fiber that brown rice contains is actually able to bind itself to the toxins in the body that are known to cause cancer, which means eating brown rice can actually help to reduce your risk of various types of cancer including breast cancer, colon cancer, and leukemia. What happens is that toxins build up on the walls of the colon which can lead to cancer. However, consumption of brown rice will help remove them and eliminate them from your body.

More than just the fiber content, brown rice also contains essential phenols which help to prevent breast and colon cancer cells from reproducing. Some of the phenols brown rice contains are ferulic acid, tricin, and caffeic acid. One study that was done on germinated brown rice showed that it stimulated apoptosis which then helped to prevent leukemia cancer cells from being produced. Additional studies done on the bran contained in brown rice have indicated that they do have antitumor properties.

Additional Benefits

Brown rice can also help treat insomnia. This is because it contains a natural form of melatonin, a sleep hormone. Eating brown rice in the evening can help your nervous system to relax and increase your sleep cycle.

Magnesium is the nutrient that works alongside calcium to strengthen bones, and it can be found in brown rice. That means that brown rice can help prevent bone demineralization. It can also help with conditions like osteoporosis and arthritis.