White rice isn’t something you should eat when you’re dieting. However, the good news is that there are three more types of rice that are more nutritious and don’t count as regular rice when it comes to calories!
White rice is primarily starch. Due to processing, it falls short on some essential nutrients like thiamine, also known as B1 as well other B Vitamins. Consuming un-enriched white rice can lead to a condition called beriberi, which occurs due to thiamine deficiency. White rice is also treated with additives that can - in certain cases - harm human body and trigger metabolic disorders like diabetes, obesity and so on.
The healthier alternatives: Brown, red and black
Both brown and red rice have similar nutritional profiles including harvesting process. These are either un-hulled or partially hulled types of rice, which means you get to chew on the bran and germ that are known to have various beneficial properties. Brown rice is easily available across the globe whereas the red one is specifically typical to Himalayan Mountains, southern Tibet, Bhutan, as well as southern India.
According to Dr. Gargi Sharma, “Brown rice and red rice are quite similar when we talk about them on the nutritional front. Both are great sources of fibre, B vitamins, calcium, zinc and iron, manganese, selenium, magnesium and other nutrients. One thing that sets the red variety apart from its brown counterpart is it being enriched with antioxidants that can help fight damaging free radicals in our body.”
Why brown and red rice?
The red variety gets its rich colour from an antioxidant called anthocyanins, which are also found in deep purple or reddish fruits and vegetables. The compound is believed to have properties that can reduce inflammation, allergy, prevent risks of cancer and help in weight management. The manganese present in both varieties helps in strengthening metabolism, while magnesium helps in migraine, lowers blood pressure as well as risks of heart attacks. Along with calcium, magnesium helps in maintaining healthy bones and teeth, and prevents risks of arthritis and osteoporosis. Selenium on the other hand protects the body against infections.
Moreover, since they are high in fibre content, the digestion process is slow, which leads to a strengthened digestive system. Fibre also aids in slowing down the rate at which carbs are converted into blood sugar; therefore fibrous foods are low on the glycemic load.
According to experts, the two varieties are also highly recommended for diabetics - because of their low glycemic index - and heart patients. These are considered whole grains, which can help in reducing the arterial plaque, prevent risks of cardiovascular diseases, tame high cholesterol and regulate blood sugar. According to recent studies, consuming one cup of brown rice on a daily basis can significantly cut short the risks of developing diabetes by up to 60%.