Brown Rice or White Rice: What’s The Difference?

Most people grew up eating white rice which has been a staple in households for a very long time. But recently, brown rice has taken center stage as a supposedly healthier option to white rice. So, which is it? Should you be eating brown rice or white rice? Let’s take a look at the differences between these two types of rice.

Before we look at the health benefits of brown rice you need to understand what brown rice is. It’s not a new and different kind of rice. In fact, it is the same rice you have eaten all along. It’s just that brown rice has not been processed as much as white rice.

Here’s how this works. Rice has a series of layers. In the middle, hidden by the other layers, is the endosperm. That, in a nutshell, is what white rice is. It is the very center of rice after all other layers have been removed. On the other hand, brown rice leaves some of those layers intact. These layers are the bran (yes, you recognize that don’t you?) and the germ.

Why is this significant? Mostly because that is where a whole bunch of nutrients and fiber live. You see, when these layers are removed to produce white rice, these goodies are removed with them. Let’s take a look at the nutritional differences between brown rice and white rice.

First of all, here are the things we don’t need to focus on. When comparing brown rice vs. white rice, calories, protein, carbohydrate, and calcium are virtually the same. We don’t need to worry about these.

One difference is in the fat. Brown rice actually contains nearly 4 times more fat than white rice, but don’t worry. Both kinds are a low fat food, and much of the fat in brown rice is monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fat. Those are the kinds of fat that are actually good for you. In fact, the healthy oils in brown rice can actually lower your cholesterol.

Where brown rice and white rice really start to show differences is in the nutrition of the two. Brown ice contains 600% of the fiber compared to white rice. That’s because of that bran and germ that you are eating in brown rice. White rice is not a great source of fiber, but brown rice really is. Other nutrients found at much higher rates in brown rice include magnesium (466% of white rice), phosphorus (238%), manganese (236%), selenium (162%), zinc (156%), and potassium (150%). Yes, brown rice adds nutritional value indeed.

Among health benefits of brown rice in addition to lower cholesterol include protection against heart disease and cardiovascular disease, lower risk of type 2 diabetes, and reduced risk of certain cancers.

You can easily use brown rice in any dish that you would have used white rice. It is cooked the same, though may take a few more minutes and has a similar texture. However, brown rice is slightly more firm and has a somewhat nutty taste. Still, the taste is mild and may actually enhance your dish overall. Brown rice all by itself makes an excellent side to a meal.

So, which should you eat, brown rice or white rice? For the added nutrition and fiber, go with brown rice.

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