Is Rice Good For You?
If you are considering starting a Low Carb High Fat (LCHF) diet, such as the Banting diet, you might be wondering is rice good for you? The Banting diet focuses on eating lots of protein and high-fat food and steering clear of carbohydrates, or cabs as most people call it.
I would definitely advise that you first check with your physician before switching to a new fancy dieting method as extreme as the Banting diet. It might work brilliantly for a friend of yours, but we each have our own unique genetic make-up, and yours might not gel very well with cutting outside something like carbs.
Did you know: In 1862 the advice of Doctor William Harvey helped the overweight William Banting to lose weight in record time by following a low carbs diet.
What exactly is rice?
Before you decide if rice is good for you or if you should avoid it in your diet, let’s look at what exactly it is. Rice is a seed of a grass species called Oryza. It can be classified as Asian rice (Oryza Sativa) or African rice (Oryza Glaberrima). On the food classification chart it falls under starches, as a cereal grain.
The carbs in rice can provide you with some instant energy, plus it can keep you feeling fuller for longer. It is the staple food of quite a few countries in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, nearly half of the world’s population depend on it.
Rice on its own doesn’t provide much nutritional value in your diet, but it is a great basis for many meals. It is very easy to digest and not a heavy meal, which is good for your digestion. But on the flipside it has the knack of raising your blood sugar levels quite quickly and after it’s digested, you might start feeling hungry again.
If you’re not on a strict diet with specific weight loss goals, you can eat rice every day. But to stay on the safe side with your diet regulations, rather stick to maximum twice a week. On the other hand, if you want to gain weight, have a bowl or rice ever day with a boiled potato salad.
Another question to ask while you’re wonder if rice is good for you, when should you eat rice – for lunch or dinner? Lunch seems to be a better option, seeing as your metabolism is higher during the day, than in the evenings. Having it for lunch will help you to burn off the carbs quicker and to utilize the energy you gain from it. If you have it for dinner, those carbs might end up being stored by your body as fats.
White Rice vs Brown Rice
Once you’ve answered the question – is rice good for you, the next thing to figure out is what kind of rice to eat. Before I tell you the verdict of the age old debate, let’s first look at the different types of rice you can choose from.
Brown Rice includes Jasmine or Basmati types. The rice grains still contain their germ as well as bran layers. This means they can provide you with a range of important nutrients such as vitamin B, phosphorus and magnesium.
The high dietary fiber of brown rice can help to subdue those hunger pangs that make you crave junk food to instantly get your tummy full. It has a delicious nutty flavor which you won’t find in white rice.
Wild Rice may look like normal rice, but it’s actually not really rice. Found in North America, it’s the seed of a water grass, harvested via canoe by indigenous populations. Wild rice you will find on your supermarket shelf was most likely tamed and grown in man-made paddies. You can find organic wild rice in speciality stores.
It has a formidable range of nutrients including phosphorus, zinc, magnesium and vitamin B, as well as folate. It also has a nice nutty flavor, great for complimenting game meats.
Sprouted Rice is the most nutritional type you will find. It is created by kick-starting the germination process of the grain. The rice plant starts flourish and this is where the nutritional boost comes from.
The germinated brown rice has higher levels of GABA or gamma-aminobutyric acid. Sprouted rice is very good for your digestive system, the hard outer shell has been softened in the sprouting process.
Wehani Rice was created by Lundberg Family Farms in Northern California. It is russet-colored and somewhat chewy. The long-grain heirloom rice has an appetizing buttery popcorn smell when it’s cooked. The taste is close to basmati rice. A very nice type, is the black Japonica rice.
It is rich in complex and slow-digesting carbohydrates that helps to fuel your muscles.
Random fact: the pro-Banting fanatics might try to convince you how amazing protein is for a great sculpted physique, but carbs deliver more energy to sustain your high-intensity gym session and help you to build muscle quicker.
Black Rice has a lovely sweet, nutty taste with a chewy texture. The bran layer contains a surplus of anthocyanins, a type of antioxidant. It’s a non-sticky medium-grain rice, delicious with a stir-fry or salad.
White rice is milled rice with its husk, bran as well as germ removed. The flavor, texture and appearance of the rice is altered. The process helps to prevent spoilage and it extends the storage life. Some companies add back the nutrients lost in the transformation process, such as vitamin B and Iron.
The verdict: White Rice vs Brown Rice
By the turn of the 19th century, lots of people started questioning the whitening process of rice. Many people believe that brown or wild rice are healthier alternatives. Don’t know about you, but I tend to agree with them.
To decide whether rice is good for you or not, I would say that the fact that most of the dietary fiber is removed from white rice, not to speak of all the vitamins and minerals found in the germ, I personally think brown rice is much better for your dietary requirements.
Brown rice is much higher in nutrients such as vitamin B as well as fiber. You will also feel much fuller for longer after eating a bowl of brown rice. The high fiber content also makes it great for diabetics. There are many great brown rice recipes to try out if I’ve convinced you that rice is good for you.
White Rice isn’t all Bad
For all you gym fanatics, it’s a great post-workout option. Rice consists of three main components: endosperm, bran and the germ. The bran gives you the fiber boost, the germ the vitamins and minerals boost.
So to create white rice, the bran and the germ are both removed. This leaves only the endosperm intact. This part holds quick-digesting carbs. This is why eating white rice is a great option after going to the gym. Your blood sugar levels will be lifted, helping your muscles to replenish all the spent energy and your body will quickly burn the carbs, instead of transforming them into fat.
Benefits of Eating Rice
Let’s cut to the chase, is rice good for you or not? So far I’ve told you about the fiber benefits and the great vitamins and nutrients found in the right type of rice. But what are the other health benefits of a bowl of rice?
Because it a good source of carbs, rice is a great source of energy. It can act as a fuel for both your body and your brain. The high vitamin content also helps to boost your metabolic activity.
Rice is basically completely cholesterol free. It should form an integral part of a well-balanced diet. But these are mostly benefits of brown rice types. If you are struggling with your weight, leaning towards the overweight side, you should stay clear of white rice.
It can assist you with blood pressure management. Because it is low in sodium, it’s considered one of best foods for people struggling with high blood pressure or hypertension.
A few studies have found that rice can help with cancer prevention. Whole grain rice is rich in insoluble fiber, which can protect you from a few different types of cancer.
Rice can also help to combat Alzheimer’s disease. Again, you need to eat brown rice for this benefit. The high levels of nutrients found in rice helps to stimulate the growth and activity of neurotransmitters in your brain.
It is great for your digestive system. Yes, you guessed right, the high fiber content helps to keep your bowl movements regular and healthy.
Wrapping Up – is rice good for you?
Think it’s pretty safe to safe that the question “is rice good for you” has been answered with a “yes, it is”. As with all things in life, moderation is the key to harnessing the nutritional benefits of rice in your diet. You might still be pro-Banting, but I think the case for incorporating carbohydrates into your diet, is definitely very strong, especially if you want to build some muscle quickly.