A Whole Food Value; The Forgotten Nutrition in Whole Grain Rice

wholegrainrice2Much of our population is deficient in key essential minerals not only because of depletion of nutrients from the soil, over farmed for years while only replenishing 3 of the 250+ nutrients naturally occurring in soil, but because of the processing that removes most of the inherent nutrition in the food.

I have already listed the essential minerals and the symptoms of deficiencies so I won’t go over them again, but this is an example of what we miss when we eat, for example, plain white rice rather than whole grain brown rice.

After wheat, rice is used most extensively in human nutrition than any other grain. Like whole wheat, unrefined whole grain brown rice contains a plethora of nutrients, most of which are removed with processing.

It has been widely known for some time in eastern Asia, and yet not widely accepted in the west, that brown rice consumption has a positive effect on blood sugar levels. But refined grains are associated with high sugar imbalances, and this is because the minerals necessary for the regulation of blood sugars have been removed.

Unrefined brown rice has more healing properties than just aiding in balancing blood sugar. It contains unique forms of vitamin E, tacotrienols which lower excess fat and cholesterol. It also provides greater anti-tumor protection than any other tocotrienol form of vitamin E.

The natural oils in rice bran also appear to be potent antioxidants that counteract cholesterol excess, particularly the lipoprotien variety, which is known to contribute to a variety of heart and vascular conditions. It also inhibits triglycerides in the blood.

Further, the sheath typically removed from unrefined brown rice during processing is tossing aside these other healing components:

  • Polysaccharides are complex carbohydrates that stimulate the immune system and control high blood sugar.
  • Gamma-oryzanol, which is a potent antioxidant found in meaningful quantities only in brown rice bran. Gamma-oryzanol strengthens the muscles while it converts fat to lean body mass, and improves circulation, and benefits hormonal balances through a regulation of pituitary secretion.
  • Alpha lipoic acid is a polyphenol antioxidant which is beneficial to the liver in that is has a restorative effect, and slows the aging process as it has a low glycemic index (oxidation occurs at a much slower and regulated pace than with refined grains and simple carbohydrates).
  • Glutathione peroxidase (GPx) is an enzyme that reduces mucus excess, helps respiratory functions, and aids in detoxification.
  • Superoxide dismatuase is an antioxidant enzyme used to treat cataracts, rheumatoid and osteoarthritis, and other chronic diseases associated with aging.
  • Coenzyme Q10 is beneficial to the cellular mitochondria, and burns fat into energy reducing obesity.
  • Proanthocyanidins are concentrated tannins which are some of the most potent antioxidants available. They are synthesized by many plants. They facilitate healing, strengthen the circulatory system,
  • Lecithin is another nutrient which is critical for brain function. Also found in eggs and soy beans, it is a fatty substance, comprised primarily of essential fatty acids which contains phosphorus, and is produced by the liver. It is particularly important for brain function, nerves and cell membranes. It is what comprises 30% of the brains dry weight, and is the predominant part of the myelin sheath, the fatty coating of the nerve endings. It protects against high blood pressure and improves memory , eyesight, and reduces cholesterol. (Supplemental lecithin should be taken in limited quantities however, as it has known side effects if taken in excess.)

So, whether anyone can remember all of that is not an issue, if you just realize that unrefined, whole grain brown rice packs a nutritious punch compared to its refined counterpart.

This goes for whole foods in general as opposed to processed foods. When the processing takes out nutritious properties and replaces them with ones that are often even more harmful than beneficial, the moral of the story is obvious, eat more whole, unprocessed foods!

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