Can’t do without rice in a day?
I totally relate to you, and so will more than half of the Indian population. But this staple is often under ‘restricted’ foods category due to its high carb content. But what If I told that you can have rice and still keep a check on your carb intake? Sounds too good to be true? Read on to learn about the best rice substitute which is not just filling and nutritious but can also fulfill your rice craving. By now you know what I am talking about right? Yes, it’s brown rice.
Brown Rice—A Brief
Scientific Name—Oryza sativa
Origin—Eastern India, Myanmar, Northern Vietnam, Thailand
The unpolished and unrefined form of white rice is known as brown rice. This variety is obtained by removing just the outer hull of the kernel of rice and retains the layer of nutrient filled bran.
The brown and unrefined variety is definitely superior to the staple white and refined one in a many ways. Most importantly, is the abundance of essential nutrients that come with brown rice, which is more often than not lost in the multiple milling and polishing in white rice’s case.
Brown rice is rich in vital minerals, such as magnesium, calcium, potassium, manganese, phosphorous, zinc, iron, and selenium. It also contains essential vitamins, such as Vitamin B1 called thiamine, Vitamin B2 called riboflavin, Vitamin B3 called niacin, Vitamin B6, Vitamin E and also Vitamin K. Brown rice is an excellent source of protein and has a rich amount of fiber too. Besides all these, brown rice provides important fatty acids, which are vital for maintaining good health.
There are numerous benefits of including brown rice in your diet, not just for your health, but also for skin and hair!
Why Should You Include Brown Rice In Your Diet
- Flawless Skin
- Stalls Premature Aging
- Maintains Skin’s Elasticity
- Treats Acne
- Cures Eczema
- Soothes Rashes And Sunburns
- Controls Cholesterol Level
- Protects From Free Radical Damage
- Prevents Heart Diseases
- Beneficial For Diabetics
- Helps To Control Weight
- Prevents Cancer
- Prevents Neuro-Degenerative Complications
- Treats Insomnia
- Prevents Gallstones
- Bone Health
- Beneficial For Nervous System
- Cures Asthma
- Keeps The Immune System Strong
- Beneficial For Lactating Women
- Contains Anti-Depressant Qualities
- Aids Proper Bowel Function
- Controls Candida Yeast Infections
- Is Perfect As A Baby Food
Skin Benefits Of Brown Rice
Rice is the staple food of many regions of India. Can you imagine a Tamilian or Bengali, who does not eat rice?
But knowing that a staple can actually improve your health and beauty is a different deal altogether. Just like how our brown rice works to give you healthy, beautiful skin.
Read on to find out the ‘hows and ‘whys’!
1. Flawless Skin
Flawless skin. How many of us look into the mirror every morning and are utterly satisfied with what we see? I am not; thanks to all the pollution and UV rays which gift me with all those spots, dark patches and inflammation.
Worry not, nature has a solution for all.
The rich content of fiber and other essential minerals in brown rice work well to make your skin blemish-free (1). Also, the proteins found in this healthy rice is known to work as a powerful exfoliant. They promote cell growth and stimulate blood flow in our skin, giving us a vibrant and bright appearance.
Here’s how you can use brown rice to get a flawless skin:
You Will Need
- 1/2 cup brown rice
- 1 cup water
- 1 bowl
- Clean cotton balls
What You Need To Do
- Begin the process by roughly cleaning the rice to remove any impurities.
- Place the rice in a clean bowl and cover it up with water.
- Let it soak for about 15 minutes, till the excess nutrients seep into the water.
- Strain the mix, save the water and use the rice for cooking purposes.
- Dip a clean cotton ball into the liquid and cleanse your face and neck with it. Massage gently for a few minutes.
- Leave it on for about 10 minutes, until the mix completely dries.
- Wash it off with regular water and pat dry.
- Repeat this process every day to achieve that radiant glow.
This method will work as an efficient toner, helping in minimizing all the visible spots and pores.
2. Stalls Premature Aging
Packed with proteins, brown rice repairs damaged skin, protecting it from wrinkles, sagging skin and fine lines.
Fluctuating blood sugar levels can lead to stress, which is one of the leading causes of aging. Complex carbohydrates present in the brown rice can help regulate the blood sugar levels, preventing premature aging. Rice bran is also said to be highly effective when applied topically, in preventing wrinkles (2).
3. Maintains Skin’s Elasticity
The selenium present in brown rice helps to maintain skin elasticity and reduce skin inflammation (3).
Use the following face pack to get a firm skin:
You Will Need
- 2 tablespoons brown rice
- 1 tablespoon plain yogurt
What You Need To Do
1. To make this face mask, first, grind brown rice till they are very fine.
2. Mix one tablespoon of plain yogurt with half a tablespoon of ground rice.
3. Apply this mixture to your freshly washed face.
4. Rinse it with warm water after leaving it for about 10 minutes.
5. For best results, repeat this process twice a week.
4. Treats Acne
Here’s a sure shot solution for all your acne problems!
Brown rice is packed with antioxidants, vitamins, and magnesium, which protect the skin from blemishes and acne breakouts.
The insulin produced by the use of white rice triggers production of sebum on the skin. Excess sebum on the skin can cause acne breakouts. Brown rice effectively prevents this problem.
This variety of rice contains astringent and cooling properties, which is best when used on the breakouts. It soothes the burns and helps reduce the redness surrounding the acne.
You Will Need
- 2 tablespoon brown rice water
- Cotton balls
What You Need To Do
- Clean your face thoroughly.
- Dip the cotton ball in the rice water and apply directly on the affected areas.
- Let it air dry. It will take around 10 to 15 minutes.
- Wash it off using lukewarm water.
- Repeat this method every three days to get an acne free skin.
5. Cures Eczema
The high starch content of brown rice works effectively in soothing eczema.
All you need to do is to dip a clean cloth in brown rice water and gently pat the affected area with it. Repeat the process for five minutes and let it air dry.
Doing this treatment twice a day for 10 days straight will certainly provide relief from the skin disorder.
6. Soothes Rashes And Sunburns
Has the sun been really harsh this summer?
No worries, here we give you a cheap and effective solution to get rid of that burn.
Brown rice has high anti-inflammatory and cooling properties which comes in handy while handling rashes and sunburns (4). It helps the speedy recovery of our skin, protecting it from forming any marks.
Just apply brown rice water on the affected area once a day to see the immediate effects.
Hair Benefits Of Brown Rice
Brown rice is good for maintaining healthy hair. It contains Vitamin B1, Vitamin B3, Vitamin B6, Vitamin E, folacin, potassium and lots of fiber—all of which are needed for healthy hair.
Let’s see how you can make use of this godsend ingredient for your crowning glory.
7. Heals Damaged Hair
Our hair needs a number of minerals and nutrients to grow healthily. And brown rice is a powerhouse of nutrition.
It treats the scalp and roots, preventing them from breaking, thus putting an end to hair loss (5). Brown rice also contains proteins that encourage cell growth and blood supply to the scalp, making them a perfect ingredient to treat damaged hair.
You Will Need
- 3-4 tablespoons brown rice
- 1 egg
- 1 cup water
What You Need To Do
- Mix ground rice with egg white and add a cup of water to it.
- Whisk this mixture to make it a little frothy.
- Apply this mixture to the hair.
- Rinse off after about 10 minutes. It will help clean the hair and remove dirt and excess oil.
- Repeat this process once or twice a week to tame that damaged hair.
8. Works As A Natural Hair Conditioner
Why buy expensive conditioners when you can get the same treatment done at home?
Brown rice is full of nutrients, fiber, and starch which can help our tresses be all fine and shiny. Use the following process to make your own natural brown rice hair conditioner:
You Will Need
- 1 cup brown rice water
- 3-4 drops of rosemary/geranium/lavender or any other essential oil of your choice
What You Need To Do
1. Add a few drops of essential oil in a cup of brown rice water and let it blend well.
2. Apply this mix on your hair after you are done shampooing it.
3. Leave it on for 10 to 15 minutes, then wash it off using cold water.
4. Repeat this process every time you take a head bath.
9. Treats Dandruff
Tired of dusting away the white flakes off your black dress on your shoulder?
It’s time you try out a natural way to tackle stubborn dandruff.
Brown rice is highly rich in selenium, a mineral that is known to decrease dandruff. It’s regular usage also promotes healthy hair growth (6).
All you need to do is massage your hair and scalp with freshly made rice water twice a week. This process will ensure proper blood flow and nutrient supply to your hair follicles.
Health Benefits Of Brown Rice
With such high nutrient content, brown rice is a must-have in all healthy diets. Some of the health benefits of brown rice are:
10. Controls Cholesterol Level
Our love for junk food has sent our cholesterol levels rising. Worry not, we have a home remedy to tackle this problem too.
Brown rice contains naturally occurring oils, which helps maintain healthy cholesterol levels in the body (7).
The use of germinated brown rice extract can also prevent the rise in triglycerides content in the liver due to high alcohol intake.
11. Protects From Free Radical Damage
The presence of powerful antioxidants in brown rice protects the body from free radical damage (8).
This staple grain contains superoxide dismutase, an essential antioxidant enzyme that protects our cells from oxidation damage, particularly during energy production (9).
12. Prevents Heart Diseases
Brown rice is the best when it comes to heart health.
Cardiovascular diseases are one of the primary causes of deaths globally; They claimed about 17.5 million lives in 2012, according to the data released by the WHO.
13. Beneficial For Diabetics
Brown rice’s low glycemic index helps balance sugar levels in the blood by reducing insulin release in the body (12). A study revealed that the progress of diabetes can be reduced by up to 60% with regular consumption of brown rice.
Go ahead, and include brown rice in your diet today.
14. Helps To Control Weight
You would have often noticed that your dietician has put brown rice in place of white rice in your diet chart. For people trying to lose weight, brown rice is the best available option, particularly if you are a rice lover. When paired with a good exercise routine, it can help you get in shape in a matter of days.
Manganese in brown rice assists in synthesizing the extra fat in the body (13). It also amplifies the function of the antioxidant enzyme glutathione peroxidase. It also helps to enhance the HDL cholesterol levels to combat obesity.
15. Prevents Cancer
Brown rice is helpful in fighting against various cancers like breast cancer, colon cancer, and leukemia (14).
The presence of fiber and potent antioxidants in brown rice makes it a perfect weapon against cancer. The fiber found in brown rice adheres itself to the dangerous toxins, which cause cancer.
Brown rice also contains important phenols, such as ferulic acid, tricin, and caffeic acid, which are helpful in restraining the uncontrolled growth of breast and colon cancer cells. Researchers have also verified the antitumor properties of brown rice.
16. Prevents Neuro-degenerative Complications
Brown rice, especially the germinated one, is rich in gamma-aminobutyric acid that helps to prevent neurodegenerative disorder like Alzheimer’s disease (15). The essential components present in germinated brown rice helps to inhibit the harmful enzyme known as protylendopetidase.
17. Treats Insomnia
Do you get your eight hours of sound sleep or are you one of those who finds yourself tossing and turning on the bed at night?
If the latter is true in your case, you must try brown rice. This grain is known to have relaxing properties that help you sleep peacefully like a baby.
Also, melatonin, the sleep hormone present in brown rice, helps to elevate the quality of sleep (16). They relax the nerves, which enhances the cycle of sleep.
18. Prevents Gallstones
Gallstones are caused by excess amount of bile acids. The insoluble fiber present in brown rice brings down the level of secreted bile acids from the intestine along with boosting food movement, bringing down chances of gallstone formation (17).
19. Bone Health
Spinach isn’t the only way to get healthy bones like Popeye.
Brown rice is rich in magnesium, which is considered to be a vital nutrient required to keep the bones healthy along with Vitamin D and calcium (18). It is helpful in preventing and treating osteoporosis and other bone disorders. This is one of the wonderful brown rice health benefits.
20. Beneficial For Nervous System
Brown rice is helpful in maintaining the smooth and proper functioning of the nervous system and brain.
The metabolism of the brain is accelerated with the help of essential minerals like manganese and Vitamin B present in the brown rice (19, 20). Magnesium found in brown rice also helps to regulate the muscles and nerves. It also controls the sudden release of calcium in the nerve cells and prevents the nerve from getting sudden activation. This keeps the muscles and nerves relaxed and prevents over contraction.
Brown rice is rich in Vitamin E, which also helps to prevent various diseases related to the brain.
21. Cures Asthma
Those with childhood cases of asthma must switch to brown rice to put an end to this condition.
Studies have shown that the consumption of whole grains, such as brown rice along with fish reduces asthmatic and wheezing symptoms by 50%.
22. Keeps The Immune System Strong
Do you often fall sick? Does even a slight change in the weather invite health concerns for you? Then brown rice is the thing for you.
Brown rice is packed with essential minerals, vitamins and significant phenolic components that help to power up the body’s immune system. It also helps to accelerate healing, nourish the body to enable it to combat infections better (21).
23. Beneficial For Lactating Women
Germinated brown rice or sprouted brown rice is useful for lactating mothers.
Research has confirmed positive results in lactating women about reduction in fatigue, depression and mood disturbances. So what are you waiting for, include this incredible grain in your diet today to prevent postpartum depression!
24. Contains Anti Depressant Qualities
Sprouted brown rice contain anti depressant properties and assists in fighting mental disorders.
An investigative research has shown the presence of essential amino acids in brown rice, such as glycerin, GABA, and glutamine, which work to reduce depression, anxiety, and stress (22).
25. Aids Proper Bowel Function
The presence of insoluble fiber in brown rice aids digestion and helps in proper excretion. The water gets attracted to the gut because of the presence of fiber, which results in preventing constipation by adding more fluid in the bowel movements (23, 24).
26. Controls Candida Yeast Infections
Brown rice is simply the best bet for those suffering from candida yeast infections because of its low glycemic index.
In this condition, sugary and starchy foods are a strict no-no as they increase inflammation risk. The high fiber content of brown rice helps digestive system heal the overgrowth of candida.
27. Is Perfect As A Baby Food
Being easily digestible and high in fiber, brown rice is one of the best food for your baby.
It is also rich in a number of nutrients, like calcium, manganese, selenium and many others, that assist in the child’s growth. Honestly, this alternative is far better than gifting your small baby with white rice cereal products.
You can start giving your baby a brown rice pudding after they cross the six-month mark.
A Word Of Caution
Here are a few side-effects and health hazards associated with brown rice, which when ignored can cause severe problems:
- A few people can show an allergy to brown rice, especially those who are allergic to soy, nuts, and gluten. So make sure you are not allergic to them, before consuming brown rice in larger quantities.
- Don’t have brown rice stored in the fridge for more than six days. With time, the nutrient-rich environment can serve as a breeding ground for some microorganisms.
- Avoid having brown rice in large quantities as it contains a high concentration of arsenic which can cause organ failure, tissue damage, and eventually death.
Expert’s Answers For Readers’ Questions
How many calories are there in a cup of brown rice?
One cup of long-grained, cooked brown rice contains about 216 calories.
Why does brown rice take longer to cook?
Brown rice takes longer to cook when compared to all varieties of white rice. This is because the bran layer on the former restricts the free passing of water molecules through them, whereas water easily passes through the white rice granules even without the aid of heat.
Brown rice is simply a super food, which can be added to any diet. It may take some time getting used to, but replace your daily quota of white rice with its brown counterpart, and see the difference!
Do you like eating brown rice? Do you know of any special brown rice recipes? Share them with us in the comments box below.
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