Is Brown Rice Heathier Than White?

IS brown rice healthier than white? In my opinion this is contradictory, in theory brown rice has more nutrients but it also has more arsenic which is toxic.

Brown rice is considered healthier due to the grain not being processed, stripped of all its nutrients. There is more fiber, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals in brown rice.

It holds all of its nutrients intact but sadly brown rice is also known for having higher content of arsenic (one of the world’s most toxic elements). Arsenic is absorbed through the soil and environment, but is more often dispensed in water. Rice is more susceptible being that rice is grown in flooded fields called rice paddies.

Rice flour is very popular in the gluten-free population, if you would like some alternatives check out Top 5 Gluten-Free Flours.

Arsenic is further discussed below.

White rice is processed by having its bran and germ removed making it more refined and polished than brown rice. This also leaves few essential nutrients but also reduces amounts of arsenic.

Washing the rice removes arsenic partially and cooking the rice in 5 times the amount water and rinsing it after it is cooked greatly reduces the amount of arsenic found in it.

Watch How to reduce Arsenic in rice

USDA Nutritional Content of White Rice(1)

Calculated per serving of 100g

Calories: 340k cal.

Protein: 6.38 g

Carbohydrates: 78.72 g

Fiber: 2.1 g

Iron: 3.06 mg

Niacin: 3.404 mg

Additional Vitamins & Minerals for White Rice (5)

Amounts per cup (195g)

Thiamin (B1): 22% of the RDI

Niacin (B3): 20% of the RDI

Pantothenic acid (B5): 15% of the RDI

Iron: 16% of the RDI

Magnesium: 11% of the RDI

Phosphorus: 13% of the RDI

Zinc: 15% of the RDI

Copper: 16% of the RDI

Manganese: 90% of the RDI

Selenium: 40% of the RDI

USDA Nutritional Content of Brown Rice (2)

Calculated per serving of 100g

Calories: 356 k cal

Protein: 8.89 g

Carbohydrate: 77.78 g

Fiber: 8.2 g

Iron: 0.8 mg

Additional Vitamins and Minerals for Brown Rice(4)

Amounts per cup (195g)

Thiamin (B1): 49% of the RDI

Niacin (B3): 47% of the RDI

Pyridoxine (B6): 47% of the RDI

Pantothenic acid (B5): 28% of the RDI

Magnesium: 66% of the RDI

Phosphorus: 62% of the RDI

Zinc: 25% of the RDI

Copper: 26% of the RDI

Manganese: 346% of the RDI

Selenium: 62% of the RDI

Additional Benefits of Brown Rice(3)

  1. Essential polyphenols (help manage blood pressure and keeps blood vessels healthy and flexible)
  2. Antioxidants (helps with immune system)
  3. reduces hormone surges (stabilizes blood sugar)
  4. High in Manganese(good for healing, nerve function, sugar regulation)
  5. When brown rice is sprouted or germinated it creates high amounts of gamma-aminobutyric(GABA) and high nutritional value. It has elevated amounts of proteins and good enzymes

What is arsenic? (4, 6)

Arsenic is a natural element of the earth’s crust, which is highly toxic, and can cause cancer and skin lesions when there is long-term exposure.

It can be found in water, soil and rocks, with levels varying in different areas. Arsenic in water contaminates populations through drinking and cooking water and well as the crops through irrigation. It is found in the water in numerous countries throughout the world some of these countries are United States, Mexico, Argentina, India, China, Chile.

It is also found in pesticides, herbicides, wood preservatives, fertilizers, and coal among other sources of pollutants. And often dispersed in the water and soil in which rice paddies

In the past when cotton fields was the main crop in the south central United States, farmers used arsenic-based pesticides. The soil still has residual and is contaminating the rice paddies that currently cover the fields that were once covered by cotton. Rice absorbs more arsenic than other crops which makes it the largest food source of inorganic arsenic.

There are two types of arsenic:

  1. Organic arsenic: mainly found in plant and animal tissues.
  2. Inorganic arsenic: found in rocks and soil or dissolved in water. This is the more toxic form.

Arsenic is found in nearly all food and drinks in diminutive amounts, with rice being the biggest food source of inorganic arsenic.

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