Health Benefits of Rice
While all whole grains share similar health benefits, each individual whole grain also offers its own special advantages. Here is some of the recent research related to rice.
Black Rice Rivals Blueberries as Antioxidant Source
Scientists working with Zhimin Xu at the Louisiana State University Agricultural Center have found that black rice (sometimes called “forbidden rice”) contains health-promoting antioxidants called anthocyanins, at levels similar to those found in blueberries and blackberries.
August 26, 2010 presentation at the National Meeting of the American Chemical Society, Boston MA
Black Rice Bran Protects Against Inflammation
S.P. Choi and colleagues from Ajou University in Suwon, South Korea tested both black rice bran and brown rice bran for their effectiveness in protecting against skim inflammation. In mouse tests, they found that the black rice bran did suppress dermatitis, but the brown rice bran did not. The scientists suggest that black rice may be a “useful therapeutic agent for the treatment and prevention of diseases associated with chronic inflammation.”
Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, August 23, 2010. [epub ahead of print]
Black Rice Bran High in Antioxidants
A team of researchers at Cornell University, including WGC Scientific Advisor Rui Hai Liu, analyzed the phenolic content and antioxidant activity of 12 diverse varieties of black rice, and found that antioxidants were about six times higher in black rice than in common brown/white rice. The black rice bran had higher content of phenolics, flavonoids and anthocyanins.
Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, July 14, 2010; 58 (13): 7580-7.
Switch to Brown Rice Reduces Diabetes Risk in Men and Women
Scientists at the Harvard School of Public Health followed 39,765 men and 157,463 women as part of the Health Professionals Follow-up Study and the Nurses’ Health Study I and II. They found that those eating several servings of white rice per week had a higher risk of Type 2 diabetes and that those eating 2 or more servings of brown rice had a lower risk. They estimate that replacing about two servings a week of white rice with the same amount of brown rice would lower diabetes risk 16%.
Archives of Internal Medicine. June 14, 2010; 170 (11): 96-9.
Changing Chinese Attitudes to Brown Rice
One in ten Chinese adults is estimated to have diabetes, with another 16% on the verge of developing it. With a rate of increase in diabetes faster than in Europe or the U.S., Chinese nutrition experts seeking to promote whole grain brown rice in China carried out a pilot study with 32 Shanghai residents, to learn about attitudes to brown rice. Only a quarter of the group had ever tried brown rice, and almost all (30 of 32) ate white rice daily. While most participants had an inferior view of brown rice before the project, after tasting it and learning of its health benefits, their views became more positive, and 27 of the 32 expressed a willingness to participate in a future long-term brown rice intervention study.
Journal of the American Dietetic Association. August 2010; 110(8): 1216-21.
Black/Brown Rice More Effective in Weight Control
At the Department of Food and Nutrition at Hanyang University in Seoul, Korean researchers randomly assigned forty overweight adult women to two groups. For six weeks, one group ate meals containing white rice, while the other consumed otherwise-identical meals with a mix of black and brown rice. While both groups showed significant reductions in weight, BMI and body fat, the whole grain rice group surpassed the white rice group in all three measures. The whole grain group also saw an increase in HDL (good) cholesterol and in antioxidant activity.
Nutrition Research. February 2008; 28(2): 66-71.
Brown Rice, for lower blood glucose in Healthy and Diabetic Subjects
Lower post-prandial blood glucose response can be important both for preventing and for controlling diabetes. In a study at the University of the Philippines, researchers used a randomized cross-over design to compare the effects on blood glucose of brown rice and white rice on 10 healthy and nine Type 2 diabetic volunteers. In healthy volunteers, the glycemic area and glycemic index were, respectively, 19.8% and 12.1% lower with brown rice than with white rice; with diabetics, the same values for brown rice were 35.2% and 35.6” lower than with white rice.
International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition. May-June 2006; 57 (3-4): 151-8.
Phenols in Brown Rice may Inhibit Breast and Colon Cancer
Rice is a staple in Asia, where breast and colon cancer rates are markedly lower than in the Western world. Scientists at the University of Leicester, UK, analyzed the phenolic compounds in brown rice, brown rice bran, and white milled rice (from the same varietal) to look for known cancer-suppressive compounds. They discovered that several such compounds were present in all three samples, but were found in much lower levels in the white rice. They postulated that consuming rice bran or brown rice instead of white rice may be advantageous with respect to cancer prevention.
Cancer, Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention. November 2000; 9(11): 1163-70.