There are over 8,000 different varieties of rice, and rice sustains over half of the world’s population. No wonder in some Asian languages, “to eat” literally translates “to eat rice”.
I prefer brown rice because it is the most nutritionally dense variety that has undergone the least amount of processing.
The Health Benefits Of Brown Rice
Brown rice is the whole grain, that has been hulled, removing the inedible outer layer, leaving the nutrient-rich bran and germ available.
Whole-grain brown rice contains essential nutrients such as B vitamins, manganese, selenium, magnesium, iron, and phosphorus, as well as dietary fiber and essential fatty acids.
The dietary fiber in brown rice can help reduce the risk of colon and breast cancer; assist with weight loss and metabolic disorders; regulate blood sugar levels and assist with diabetes; and lower cholesterol and protect against heart disease and strokes.
Conversely, white rice has been milled; and in the process of refining and polishing, the bran and germ has been removed, along with all of the valuable nutrients. White rice is delicious, but it is just empty starchy calories with no nutritional benefit. In fact, legislation in some countries dictates that white rice be enriched and fortified with some of these nutrients in order to meet the nutritional standards for human consumption.
I generally opt for quinoa and millet over brown rice, due to the high carbohydrate profile that feeds yeast and fungus, particular in people with really compromised immune systems.
Quinoa and millet are also alkaline-forming, whereas rice is more acid-forming. alkaline than brown rice.
However, for those living with food allergies, brown rice is considered a low allergy food, and is a great option.
How To Store Brown Rice
Some research suggests that non-organic U.S long grain rice may contain up to 5 times the arsenic than rice produced in India, Bangladesh or Europe. So purchase organic wherever possible.
Always purchase organic brown rice from stores with a high turn over to ensure maximum freshness, and take note of the use-by date.
Due to the natural oils contained in the germ of brown rice, it is susceptible to rancidity. So always store in a sealed glass container in a cool, dry pantry, and consume in good time.
How To Soak Brown Rice
Soak brown rice to neutralize the enzyme inhibitors to improve digestibility. Learn more about soaking brown rice here.
I will often toast brown rice in the skillet to enhance the flavor and make it more digestible before cooking.
Soaking has other added benefits. When you soak brown rice it becomes more light and fluffy, making it more appealing to those people who are opposed to the more gritty texture. Soaking is a great way to introduce children or reluctant adults to brown rice.
How To Cook Brown Rice
For unsoaked quinoa: Use 1 cup of quinoa to 2 cups of filtered water or vegetable broth.
For soaked quinoa, use 1 cup of quinoa to 1 1/2 cups of liquid.
To cook on the stove top: Bring 2 cups of water or broth to the boil, and add in one cup of quinoa. Cover, and simmer for about 20 minutes. Add sea vegetables and spices while cooking or stir through fresh herbs after cooking.
To cook in a rice cooker, place the drained quinoa in the machine and hit the rice setting.
How To Serve Brown Rice
Brown rice is incredibly versatile and is a glorious blank canvas for spicy, sweet, tangy, fruity or salty. It is hard to pass up a delectable rice pudding, rice pilaf, rice balls or rice salad. But you can make brown rice sushi, wraps or frittatas. Or have your tried making a pizza base by pressing cooked day-old brown rice into a pizza tray? Yum!
Brown Rice Flakes
Toasted rolled rice flakes are a fantastic gluten-free substitute for traditional oats if you have a serious gluten sensitivity and don’t want to fork out the money for safe gluten-free oats.
Brown rice flakes have a similar texture to conventional oats, but are a little bit firmer.
You can soak brown rice flakes in filtered water or milk in order to soften them.
Rice flakes make fantastic gluten-free porridge and puddings; and are wonderful for use in cereals and baked goods. You can also use them in place of oats in crisps and crumbles; and to coat and bind veggie burgers and rolls as an alternative to bread crumbs.
You won’t be getting the health benefits of oats, and rice flakes have a higher glycemic index, so perhaps not as desirable for diabetics or those watching their blood sugar levels.
But I find these flakes fabulous for a bit of diversity, and they cook up in a jiffy!