Brown Rice: The Right Rice for Nutrients Fiber & Flavor  Recipe
Brown Rice: The Right Rice for Nutrients Fiber & Flavor

By Kitty Broihier, M.S., R.D.

Rice has been feeding people for more than 5,000 years and remains a staple for two-thirds of the world's population. An ancient Chinese remedy for stomach upset and colds calls for making a compress out of a cloth filled with toasted brown rice and minced ginger root, then simmering it in liquor.

Brown rice is a whole grain, with the nutrient-dense germ and fiber-filled bran intact (they are both removed to make white rice). Both brown and white rice are very low in fat and sodium and are good sources of carbohydrates, but brown beats white rice in B vitamins, several minerals and fiber. In fact, a half-cup of cooked brown rice provides 44 percent of the Daily Value for manganese and nearly three times the dietary fiber of white rice plus some essential fatty acids.

The manganese abundant in brown rice is a trace mineral that aids nervous system function, helps the body produce energy and is a critical component of free-radical-fighting enzymes.

A plethora of phytonutrients found in whole grains like brown rice improve insulin sensitivity as well as help fend off oxidative damage that may lead to cancer. One study reported this past fall suggests that people who eat rice--brown or white--consume less fat and sugar, more vitamins and minerals and more fruit and legumes than those who don't eat rice. The study also suggests that rice eaters are less likely to be overweight, have elevated blood pressure or suffer metabolic syndrome.

Rice bran oil, extracted from brown rice, holds particular promise; it appears to lower blood levels of low-density lipo-proteins (LDLs), the "bad" cholesterol. Though you can buy rice bran oil by itself, it makes more nutritional sense to get the healthful fats it contains simply by eating brown rice, which has the oil-containing bran intact. Then you can reap all the other benefits of brown rice as well.

Brown rice is easiest to find as long-grain in the U.S. But medium-grain Arborio (used to make risotto) and the short-grain rice preferred for Asian dishes, as well as aromatic rices (e.g., jasmine, basmati), are all available as brown rice from specialty markets and online.

Brown rice has a chewier texture and more pronounced, somewhat nutty flavor than white rice. It can be used in place of white in virtually any recipe, but takes longer to cook -- about 25 to 35 minutes for long-grain brown rice, 40 minutes for short-grain.

Instant brown rice, nutritionally comparable to regular brown rice, is partially cooked and dried, making the grain more porous so it absorbs water faster, cooking in about 10 minutes. Precooked, microwave-ready rice is now available, cutting prep time down to just two minutes. However, it's often loaded with sodium.

Easy Asian-Inspired Brown Rice Recipe

Makes four 3/4-cup servings.

1/4 cup chicken broth (fat-free, reduced-sodium)

1 tablespoon soy sauce (reduced-sodium)

1 teaspoon sesame oil

1/2 teaspoon minced garlic

2 cups cooked (or leftover) brown rice

2 scallions, thinly sliced

1 (11-ounce) can mandarin orange segments in juice, drained

1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted

1. In a skillet over medium-high heat, heat broth, soy sauce, oil and garlic to a simmer.

2. Add the rice and stir to coat with the broth mixture.

3. Stir in the scallions and heat for 3 to 5 minutes or until heated through.

4. Remove from heat and gently stir in the orange segments.

5. Transfer to a serving bowl and sprinkle with toasted almonds.

Nutrition Information Per Serving: 155 calories, 3.5 grams protein, 24 grams carbohydrates, 5 grams fat, 50 milligrams magnesium, 181 milligrams sodium, 2 grams fiber.

Brown Rice: Notable Nutrients

(1/2 cup cooked)

Calories: 108

Dietary Fiber: 2 grams (7 percent DV)

Niacin: 1.5 milligrams (8 percent DV)

Vitamin B6: 0.1 milligram (5 percent DV)

Magnesium: 42 milligrams (11 percent DV)

Manganese: 0.8 milligram (40 percent DV)

 

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Article: Copyright © Tribune Media Services, Inc.

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