Brown rice has long been a “step child” of grains.

We favor white rice, fried rice, boxed rice and even basmati rice, but brown rice? No, most prefer instant white rice. It’s faster to cook and generally has a more moist texture. We shy away from cooking and eating the healthier versions of rice, such as brown rice, that still contain the bran and germ and therefore contain more nutrients. And many get hung up on color!

Let’s debunk some of these myths that white rice might be better.

MORE NUTRIENTS

When you compare the food label of white versus brown rice, it might not look that much different at first.

But there are lots of reasons to swap your white rice for brown. Not only is brown rice less processed than white rice, because of this brown rice retains more nutrients.

Like other whole grains, brown rice is a complex carbohydrate that contains fiber, magnesium, copper, and selenium. Foods containing fiber boost satiety, so stay full longer while simultaneously nourishing your gut bacteria, lowering blood cholesterol, and reducing your risk of heart disease. In addition, studies show that including just two (1/2 cup) servings of brown rice per week in place of white rice may lower the risk for type 2 diabetes by up to 16%! That’s a BIG WIN! Brown rice is gluten free and has a lower glycemic index than white rice (brown is 50; white is 72), which means that it does not raise blood sugar levels as quickly and therefore keeps insulin, your fat storage hormone, under control.

Unlike traditional breakfast cereals, such as boxed cereal and white rice, brown rice is:

❤️ Less processed, so it retains more of its nutrients.

❤️ A complex carbohydrate that contains fiber, magnesium, copper, and selenium.

❤️ Rich in fiber to boost satiety, so you get less hungry in between meals.

❤️ A food found to help lower blood cholesterol.

❤️ A food found to lower the risk for type 2 diabetes by up to 16% in studies where individuals added just two (1/2 cup) servings of brown rice per week.

❤️ A gluten free food with a lower glycemic index than white rice, which means that it does not raise blood sugar levels as quickly.

Thankfully, you don’t have to spend every night slaving in front of a hot stove to enjoy the benefits of brown rice.

EASY TO STORE AND TO PREPARE

Uncooked brown rice has a shelf-life of about 6 months and can be stored at room temperature or refrigerated to add more time to the shelf life. However, always check for “use by” dates on the rice. My favorite brown rice picks include Basmati or Jasmine Brown Rice, since these varieties provide a more fragrant flavor.

Thankfully, if you subscribe to my healthy food prep to “cook once, eat twice,” you don’t have to spend every night slaving in front of a hot stove to enjoy the benefits of brown rice. A large pot of brown rice, like other seeds and grains, can be cooked, stored for the week, or frozen, and it will retain its quality for up to 6 months! Cooking a large batch of grains should become part of your weekly food prep! It’s so easy!

Whole grains have a proper technique for preparation to maximize nutrient density and to keep you safe.

Best practices recommend you rinse and drain brown rice (and all grains) several times to remove the surface starch to prevent it from clumping together. Additionally, you can soak or sprout your rice for 20 hours to break down the phytic acid, an anti-nutrient that reduce your body’s ability to absorb nutrients and to stimulate germination, which activates enzymes and to improve the nutritional value of brown rice.

Brown rice can be cooked in any liquid of your choice: water, vegetable, chicken or beef broth. Typically, 2 parts liquids to 1 part rice are used. Chopped onions, minced garlic, ginger, herbs and spices can be added to season a savory brown rice, whereas fruit/dried fruit, nuts, and sweet spices such as cinnamon or cloves create a sweet treat or a breakfast cereal.

If storing, after the rice is cooked, rinse through a colander and place on a cookie sheet to cool for 20-30 minutes. Once rice is cooled, package it in 1-2 cup servings (depending on need) in freezer-safe bags.

HOW TO CHEAT SHEET:

👉🏻🥢🍚 Rinse brown rice in a colander to remove surface starch OR soak rice for 20 hours to reduce phytic acid, to boost nutrition, to activate enzymes.

👉🏻🥢🍚 Use 2 parts liquids to 1 part rice. Bring to boil, cover, reduce heat to simmer until rice is soft and tender to bite. Fluff, season, and serve.

👉🏻🥢🍚 If storing, after the rice is cooked, rinse through a colander and place on a cookie sheet to cool for 20-30 minutes.

👉🏻🥢🍚 Once rice is cooled, package it in 1-2 cup servings (depending on need) in freezer-safe bags.

👉🏻🥢🍚 Store in your freezer for up to 6 months

RICE FOR BREAKFAST!

Here’s a fast and easy breakfast upgrade for your health!

Brown Rice Breakfast Bowls are perfect to kick off your day with QUALITY nutrients. Seriously! I don’t buy boxed cereal anymore to avoid the added sugar, not to mention it’s lacking in fiber, and generally created from GMO/glyphosate treated crops.

Of course the Romans started our culture of breakfast CEREAL with their love of Bulgur Wheat, considered one of the first porridge grains and referred to as “cerealis.” It’s really too bad that grain has gotten a bad name!

When not treated with chemicals, grain has a great deal of nutrients to offer including fiber, protein, vitamins and minerals including magnesium, selenium, and B6. Who knew? But that’s not happening in a box of puffed rice or corn cereal!

Next time you reach for a box of cereal, think outside of the box. Warm up leftover brown rice, soak bulgur wheat overnight, steam a bowl of buckwheat. Add your favorite spices, fresh fruit, some nuts or nut butter and non-dairy milk, and you will see why those Romans were strong and satiated for gladiatorial combat!

Eat your cereal and go conquer your day!

HOW TO: Warm leftover organic, brown basmati rice with 1/2 banana, drizzle of almond butter, almond milk to desired consistency, sprinkle with dried cherries and cinnamon.

References:

  1. Hongyu Wu, PhD1Alan J. Flint, MD, ScD1Qibin Qi, PhD2; et al. Association Between Dietary Whole Grain Intake and Risk of MortalityTwo Large Prospective Studies in US Men and Women. JAMA Intern Med. 2015;175(3):373-384.
  2. Dr. Qi Sun, MD, ScD, Dr. Donna Spiegelman, ScD, Dr. Rob M. van Dam, PhD, Dr. Michelle D. Holmes, MD, DrPH, Ms. Vasanti S. Malik, MSc, Dr. Walter C. Willett, MD, DrPH, and Dr. Frank B. Hu, MD, PhD.  White Rice, Brown Rice, and Risk of Type 2 Diabetes in US Men and Women.  Arch Intern Med. 2010 Jun 14; 170(11): 961–969.