We have been enjoying brown rice so much recently it inspired this article.
Cooking brown rice is so easy in your Zojirushi or Sakura rice cookers, although it takes longer to cook we think the wait is worth it!
Before white rice went through the milling process, it looked exactly like brown rice. Brown rice (unlike white rice) still has the side hull and bran on the grain. This hull and bran is why it takes longer to cook brown rice but it’s also responsible for the nutrients and why it’s good for you!
The hull and bran provide “natural wholeness” to the grain and are rich in proteins, thiamine, calcium, magnesium, fibre, and potassium. For those trying to lose weight or diabetics, brown rice can prove a healthy staple given it helps reduce insulin spikes as it has a low glycemic rating.
There are many other health benefits from eating brown rice and is sometimes called a ‘super food’ and eaten in combination with a healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and healthy fats it may help to protect against multiple lifestyle diseases. For example:
Heart disease prevention and lowering cholesterol…Eating a diet with brown rice in it may offer some protection against cardiovascular disease, due to its high fibre content. Whole grains like brown rice are proven to reduce the build up of arterial plaque and reduce the risk of heart disease and high cholesterol.
Brown rice is an excellent source of soluble fibre, which experts say help to lower levels of ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol in the blood. The oil present in brown rice or extracted rice bran oil is thought to help to lower harmful cholesterol levels and blood pressure, whilst raising levels of ‘healthy’ HDL cholesterol.
Maintaining a healthy body weight and controlling blood sugar levels…As already said, brown rice is an excellent source of dietary fibre, and has a lower glycemic index than white rice. What this means is that it will (in general) cause a more stable and slower rise in blood sugar levels. A diet high in dietary fibre tends to fill you up more and has been associated with decreased food intake and maintenance of a healthy body weight. This also contributes to keeping you fuller for longer and less likely to reach for those sugary snacks or overeat.
The digestion time of brown rice is a lot slower than more processed grains, including white rice. This means that there is a more controlled slower release of sugar into the blood stream. For diabetics, a diet rich in low GI, high fibre foods is essential to maintain stable blood glucose levels. For non-diabetics, it can help to reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Maintaining a healthy nervous system and keeping bones healthy…Brown rice contains a high level of essential nutrients our bodies need to stay healthy. For example, it contains manganese, which is required to produce fatty acids and hormones needed to maintain a healthy nervous system. It is a great source of magnesium, a key nutrient required to build bones (along with calcium and vitamin D ) and deficiency has been associated with low bone density and osteoporosis later in life. One cup of brown rice contains about 21% of your daily magnesium requirements.
Possible reduced Risk of Colon Cancer and healthy bowels…The high content of dietary fibre is thought to contribute to a healthy colon and digestive system. It is also thought that high selenium levels, as well as certain phenols found in brown rice may also be associated with reduced risk of colon cancer. Phenols are present in much higher concentrations in brown rice than in white rice.
Brown rice also contains good amounts of insoluble fibre that stays in the gut and aids digestion and excretion. This type of fibre attracts water to the gut and in this way causes more fluid bowel movements and prevents constipation.
Our delicious top tips for brown rice…
We use a standard brown basmati rice and tend not to rinse it – this may be different with each batch of rice though! We usually use a quarter or half a cup less water than we should when cooking as we like our rice to have a bit of a ‘bite’ to it.
The nutty taste of brown rice means it’s perfect with curries, especially Thai massaman and red curry and it’s a great pairing with chicken and cashew nuts! We add it to a hearty bean salad, mix it with tinned tuna and sweetcorn or Mediterranean vegetables for fantastic nutritious and easy lunches. It also easy to replace cold white rice with cold brown for fried rice.
Brown rice does take longer to cook than white – generally brown rice takes 60-90 minutes and unfortunately you can’t use the quick cook function with brown rice. This is where the timer feature of the Zojirushi’s come into their own! Just set it for the time you want it ready and when you come in from work you’ll have delicious brown rice waiting for you! When using the timer we definitely advise using less water as the soaking of the rice will soften it and that means the cooked rice produced will be a softer texture too.