Skip to main content

Rice is an essential staple all over the world in many cuisines. It is such a vital crop that it is eaten by over half of the Earth’s population.

Rice on a SpoonWith rice being the chief cereal for most of the world, it has enormous potential to improve the health of the millions of people who eat it every day.
In fact, research is already being undertaken into how the nutrient value of rice can be increased. This includes the development of rice with high iron and zinc compounds through bio-fortification, which could also result in higher quality crops. This would benefit both farmers and rice consumers, who would potentially enjoy healthier, longer lives.

Today, rice forms the part of many low-calories meals and recipes due to its low-fat content. Here we explain the ins and outs of rice nutrition to give you a better understanding of how rice should be included as part of a balanced diet to help you eat healthier.

It is widely recommended that starchy, carbohydrate-rich foods such as rice, bread, potatoes, pasta and cereals, should form 33% of a meal. However, in terms of calories, these foods should make up 50% of our calorific intake from the meal.

 

Did you know?

Our microwaveable rice range contains less calories per portion than standard dry rice. Try it for yourself.

 

Rice Nutrition

Rice is an excellent source of Vitamin E, B vitamins thiamine & niacin, potassium, calcium, fibre, iron and riboflavin. These vitamins are essential for maintaining the body’s immune system, metabolism and organ systems.

 

How many nutrients and calories in rice?

Vitamin content of rice and selected cereals

(mg/per 100g, unless specified)

Source: Food Standards Agency and Institute of Food Research 2002

 

Mineral content of rice and selected cereals

(mg/per 100g, unless specified)

Source: Food Standards Agency and Institute of Food Research 2002

The Health Benefits of Rice

Thanks to its nutritional content, rice has been shown to provide a number of health benefits.

In summary, rice can help:

  •          Increase metabolism
  •          Improve the immune system
  •          Reduce high blood pressure
  •          Stabilise blood sugar levels
  •          Regulate and improve bowel movements
  •          Slow down the ageing process
  •          Boost skin health
  •          Your digestion
  •          Your weight loss efforts
  •          Provide protection against dysentery, cancer, and heart disease

Brown Rice Heart shapeSome of the key health benefits of rice are detailed below:

Management of Blood Pressure

Due to its low sodium content, rice is recommended for people who suffer from high blood pressure and hypertension. The reason behind this is that sodium can narrow arteries and veins, which increases blood pressure and stress on the cardiovascular system. Increased blood pressure can also cause other heart conditions, as well as heart attacks and strokes.

Improved Cardiovascular Health

Rice bran oil has antioxidant properties that reduce cholesterol levels and improve cardiovascular strength. Rice’s fibre, and low levels of fat and sodium. Wild rice and brown rice varieties are far better than white rice in this category since the husk of the grain is where much of the nutrients are; the husk is removed in white rice preparation.

Prevention of Cancer

Whole grain rice (such as brown rice) is rich in insoluble fibre, which many researchers and scientists believe are important for guarding against cancer, particularly colorectal and intestinal cancer. Besides fibre, rice also contains antioxidants such as vitamins A and C, as well as phenolic and flavonoid compounds, which stimulate or act as antioxidants to clean free radicals from the body. Free radicals are by-products of cellular metabolism. They can cause severe damage to organ systems and lead to the mutation of healthy cells into cancerous ones.

Prevention of Alzheimer’s Disease

The high level of nutrients contained in brown rice stimulate the activity and growth of neurotransmitters, which can help in preventing Alzheimer’s disease. Some varieties of wild rice have been found to stimulate the brain’s neuroprotective enzymes. This obstructs the effects of dangerous toxins such as free radicals that have been known to cause Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

Rice as a Source of Energy

Rice is 77.5% carbohydrate. Carbohydrates function as fuel for the human body by metabolising and turning into usable energy, while also aiding healthy brain function. The vitamins and minerals found in rice and other carbohydrates increase the metabolic activity all the body’s organ systems, which increases energy levels further.

Rice Allergies

Rice allergies are rare and rice itself is a common alternative carbohydrate source for people allergic or intolerant to wheat.

Rice for People with Diabetes

Diabetic patients should include brown rice rather than white rice, which contains low levels of glycaemic index. As little as one cup of brown rice on a daily basis provides a person with almost 100% of their daily manganese requirement, which helps to produce energy from carbohydrates and protein. Brown rice is also extremely beneficial for normal functioning of the nervous system and the production of sex hormones.