Brown rice (Oryza sativa) and whole grain or unpolished rice are all the same. Brown rice has only had the inedible outer hull (the husk) removed; it contains a large amount of fiber because as a whole grain it still contains the bran and germ.
Brown rice does not have the bran and germ removed after harvest. This means that it is healthier than white rice because all of its vitamins and minerals are retained.
Brown rice has a bit of nutty flavor and tastes delicious as a side dish, but can also be used to make delicious risotto or fried rice dishes. If you would like to benefit from the health benefits of brown rice, but find its nutty taste too intense, you can also prepare a side dish rice using half brown rice and half white rice.
In any case, brown rice is more filling than white rice, and you will feel full for much longer after a meal that includes brown rice. In other words: brown rice keeps you satisfied for a long time. And since brown rice is digested more slowly, blood sugar levels don’t rise as quickly.
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Brown rice should ideally be soaked in twice the amount of water overnight and then drained. This breaks down part of the phytic acid contained in the rice. Follow the link here to read more about phytic acid. Phytic acid is a phytonutrient that can reduce the absorption of minerals in the body. However, brown rice contains only 0.84 to 1 g of phytic acid per 100 g of rice, which is four times less than pumpkin seeds. In addition, soaking reduces the amount of polysaccarides, which leads to less flatulence since these are difficult to digest.
After soaking, cover the rice with twice the amount of water, bring to a boil, and then simmer for about 60 minutes. Brown rice is always a little firmer than white rice.
Brown rice can be sprouted and used to make raw food dishes. To do so, soak the rice for between 12 and 20 hours. Then rinse well and place in a sprouting jar or other sprouting container. Invert the jar at an angle so that the rice will drain and air can circulate. After 12 hours of draining, rinse and drain again. Repeat this process of rinsing and draining 2–3 times daily. After about 2–3 days, tiny sprouts should begin to form and you will know that sprouting is complete. Never let the rice sprout for more than 3–4 days because after this time valuable nutrients will be lost and bacteria as well as fungus can form and spread. Unlike other sprouts that are immersed in water, rice can survive for up to seven days.
Quick-cooking or instant rice is preboiled and then dried and is therefore not a raw food.
Brown rice and actually rice in general are gluten-free and therefore well suited for people who suffer from celiac disease, as long as there is no information on the package warning that the product may contain traces of gluten. This is the case when the same machines are used to process grains that contain gluten.
The nutrients contained in brown rice can vary depending on the particular type, as well as the environmental conditions and cultivation techniques. What all varieties of rice have in common, however, is that they contain primarily carbohydrates.
Brown rice (whole grain rice) contains more vitamins, minerals, and trace elements than white rice. The germ and aleurone layer (bran, husk) contain the most nutrients, in particular, the content of magnesium, calcium, iron, and zinc as well as vitamin E, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, and vitamin B3 is much higher. For example, magnesium comes in at 30 mg in general vs 157 mg here.
Dangers and health aspects:
Along with being rich in nutrients, the outer hull of brown rice unfortunately contains more heavy metals such as arsenic and cadmium as they tend to collect there.
Arsenic is considered carcinogenic. It is impossible to totally avoid consuming arsenic as traces can be found in almost all of the foods we eat, as well as in water and air. This is because arsenic is naturally present in the Earth’s crust, in higher or lower concentrations depending on the region. A high content of arsenic in the soil can also be caused by phosphate fertilizers. In addition, mining and the metal industry release arsenic. And the same happens when fossil fuels are burned.
Rice absorbs arsenic via its roots, and wet cultivation increases the availability of arsenic in the soil. In certain areas, the groundwater used is heavily contaminated with arsenic, and arsenic can be found ten times more concentrated in rice than in other grains. Arsenic in rice is known to cause cancer and is can cause developmental effects on infants and adverse pregnancy outcomes.1 As a result, since 2016 rice products have been subject to the arsenic limits laid down in EU Regulation 2015/1006. Since then, rice has not been allowed to contain more than 200 micrograms per kilogram (µg/kg) of inorganic arsenic. Products on the market must comply with these official values.
On the world market, rice contains between 20 and 900 micrograms (µg) of arsenic per kg. In contrast, the EU requires drinking water to contain less than 10 µg/l of arsenic.2,3,4
Not only rice5, but also products made from rice, such as rice milk and rice-based pasta, are contaminated.6 Baby foods like rice cereal usually contain between 100 and 350 µg/kg. Along with rice cereal, other rice products that are often given to small children are also contaminated (e.g., rice cakes and snack bars made with rice).7
Since the arsenic intake of toddlers is 2–3 times higher than that of adults in relation to their body weight, the Bavarian state office for health and food safety (Bayerisches Landesamt für
Gesundheit und Lebensmittelsicherheit) recommends a maximum of 20 grams of rice cakes per week for children up to three years.8
Conclusion: Infants and toddlers should not be given exclusively processed rice foods or rice drinks. And children should only eat rice cakes in moderation. Brown rice, in particular, should be washed well before cooking. It is also a good idea to soak the rice in advance and cook it with 10 times the amount of filtered water. When the rice is done, you can simply drain off the extra water.
Wikipedia: Rice is the seed of the grass species Oryza sativa (Asian rice) or Oryza glaberrima (African rice). Oryza sativa is cultivated in many countries around the world, and Oryza glaberrima (also called “African rice”), which originated in West Africa is grown in Africa and the United States. Asia — in particular, China, India, and other parts of Southeast Asia — contains the main cultivation areas for rice. More than 95 % of the total world production comes from here. In Europe, a significant cultivation area is found in northern Italy (Poebene).
After harvesting, the rice is threshed and then dried, whereby the water content is reduced to 14 to 16 %. At this stage, the rice is called unmilled or paddy rice. During various processes, broken rice is produced, and depending on the rice quality this breakage amounts to between 5 % and 40 % in the end product. Broken rice is usually used to produce rice flour, rice semolina, sweets, and alcoholic beverages such as rice wine, rice beer, and rice vinegar.
The husks are then removed because raw rice or paddy rice with the husks is practically inedible and can cause suffocation, especially in small children. After the rice is husked in a rice mill, the product that remains is unhulled rice, which has lost 20 % of its original weight. Unhulled rice consists of the bran and germ. This unhulled or unpolished rice is called whole grain rice, brown rice, or cargo rice, as it is usually exported in this form.
White rice, on the other hand has had its bran and germ removed. After the rice is milled, the grains of rice are rough and when cooked become sticky, which is why it is also polished. White rice is therefore also called polished rice. Parboiled rice is rice that is soaked, steamed, and dried before it is polished. This process drives nutrients from the bran to the endosperm — white parboiled rice has 80 % of the nutritional value of brown rice.
White rice has a much longer shelf life than brown rice, but has lost a large part of its minerals and vitamins. Wikipedia provides much more detailed information about rice and also distinguishes between rice varieties such as Arborio rice, Bassein rice, Basmati rice, Bomba rice, Rangoon rice, Java and Lombok rice, Patna rice, Japan rice, Chigalon rice, Inca rice, Irat rice, Khao Youak rice, sweet rice, variety C rice, Jasmine rice, red rice, and green rice, which all have their own characteristics.
Literature/Sources for arsenic:
- Reis kann giftiges Arsen enthalten (Rice can contain toxic arsenic) on scinexx.de, December 7, 2011.
- Richard Stone: Gefahr durch Arsen – Gift im Korn (Danger caused by arsenic – poison in rice). In: sueddeutsche.de. May 17, 2010, accessed on December 26, 2014.
- rme/aerzteblatt.de: Arsen macht Reis genotoxisch (Arsenic makes rice genotoxic). In: aerzteblatt.de. Jul y 23, 2013, accessed on December 26, 2014.
- M. Banerjee, N. Banerjee, P. Bhattacharjee, D. Mondal, P. R. Lythgoe, M. Martínez, J. Pan, D. A. Polya, A. K. Giri: High arsenic in rice is associated with elevated genotoxic effects in humans. In: Scientific reports. Volume 3, July 2013, S. 2195. doi:10.1038/srep02195. PMID 23873074.
- Ernährung: Arsen im Langkornreis (Nutrition: arsenic in long-grain rice). In: Focus Online. August 27, 2010, accessed on December 26, 2014.
- Test: Reiswaffeln (Test: rice cakes). Öko-Test June 2012, accessed on November 2, 2014.
- Untersuchung von anorganischem Arsen in Kindernahrung (Investigation of inorganic arsenic in food for infants and children) Bayerisches Landesamt für Gesundheit und Lebensmittelsicherheit (Bavarian state office for health and food safety). September 4, 2012, accessed on November 2, 2014.
- Reiswaffeln enthalten Arsen, Cadmium und Acrylamid: Anbieter reagieren auf Kritik auf rtl.de (Rice cakes contain arsenic, cadmium, and acrylamide: providers respond to criticism on rtl.de). September 14, 2014, accessed on November 2, 2014.