Brown rice doesn’t have the wonderfully low glycemic levels of some other grains, like barley or oats. Nevertheless it’s a far better choice, for your blood sugar, then most white rice. So, if rice is on the menu, better make it brown.
As a nutrient packed, fiber rich whole grain, brown rice has many of the good qualities you expect. Not only does it boast six times the fiber of white rice, it’s packed with vitamins, minerals, and natural plant compounds made by nature to protect your health. And, as a whole grain, brown rice is part of the formula for lower your risk of diabetes and heart disease. Remember, we want you to eat 3 servings a day of whole grain, which protects against metabolic syndrome, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and cancer. A serving of brown rice is ½ cup.
Regular brown rice takes about 35 minutes to cook. When time is of the essence, don’t opt for instant rice, white or brown, which has been partially cooked and dehydrated and has a high glycemic level. You would do better to opt for converted white rice, which has the glycemic levels similar to that of brown rice and many of the nutrients too. While brown rice should always be your number one rice choice (more nutrients and fiber), converted white rice is the next best thing.
All rice starts off as brown rice. Only when it’s been refined and the branand the germ have been removed is white rice born. Different types of rice vary in their glycemic levels depending on the type of starch they naturally contain. The rice you want to avoid: jasmine, Arborial and sticky rice.
Health Bonus of Brown Rice
Brown rice offers more than just fiber. It’s rich in the bone building mineral magnesium, a mineral important for keeping up the body’s natural defences.
Did you know?
Brown rice: still has the bran and the germ of the whole rice kernel, so it contains all the nutrition of a whole grain. It has a longer cooking time and a higher fiber content. The taste is a nutty flavour with a hearty texture.
Converted rice: the rice is steamed before its husked, allowing individual grains to absorb more nutrients. Takes that the same amount of time to cook as white rice, but less time than brown rice.
Wild rice: not a rice at all but the seeds of a marsh grass. It’s high in protein and fiber and several B vitamins. Has a pungent, earthy flavour.
Basmati rice: a long grain, aromatic white rice grown in the Himalayas. It cooks up dry and fluffy. You can get brown or white basmati rice. The glycemic level of brown basmati is lower, closer to that of brown rice.
Long grain white rice: is the most common rice used in cooking. The nutritious bran and germ have been processed of, taking fiber and natural plant compounds with them. As with most refined products, some nutrients, such as iron, vitamin, niacin, and folate have been added back.
Long grain quick cooking rice: this rice is completely cooked and dehydrated, so cooking time in short, usually 10 to 15 minutes. It comes as white or brown rice.
Sticky rice: also called glutinous rice, though it doesn’t contain gluten, this is a short grain, white, refined rice that sticks together. Though it sometimes called "sweet rice," it has a bland flavour like most white rice.
Arborio rice: a plump, refined, short grain white rice that absorbs water without developing a mushy texture. Used in risotto and noted more for its ability to absorb flavors.