Rice Dishes Get Healthier, Go Brown

By Katherine Chen

Whether it’s the Chinese takeout you wolfed down during final exam week, the sticky sushi your order in weekly or the creamy rice pudding your grandmother made when the family visited, rice is a staple of many of our diets. Many of us, though, seem to think a bowl of white rice as a healthy option, especially when paired with steamed chicken and broccoli (and compared with a box of oily and cheesy pizza). But is that really the case?

Don’t get us wrong, white rice is, by no means, an unhealthy option. But, believe it or not, it could be healthier – a lot healthier. We know, rice doesn’t taste like much, it’s not particularly salty and few would actually eat it without a helping of meat or vegetables on top, but there is a healthier option: brown rice!

A healthy stuffed pepper (made with brown rice!). Click here for recipe!

Though white rice certainly wins the popularity contest, its brown counterpart, free from the extra milling and polishing process that destroys important vitamins, is considerably healthier than the white variety – in fact, rice loses 67% of vitamin B3, 80% of vitamin B1, half of the manganese, 60% of the iron and all of the dietary fiber when undergoing the additional processes that make it white rather than brown. Moreover, unlike the white variety, brown rice contains a healthy amount of fiber, a notable dose of selenium (a mineral known for its effectiveness in reducing the risk of colon cancer) and oils shown to help lower bad cholesterol. Plus, with its slightly nutty flavor, it’s a relatively easy swap to make for considerable health benefits. So, next time you order in Chinese food or sushi or are preparing a meal at home, reach for the brown variety instead.

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One of our favorite at-home recipes: brown rice cooked with sesame oil, soy sauce, ginger and scallions – a perfect accompaniment to meat, fish, tofu or even eggs!

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