I know that many fire houses use white rice as a side dish. It can be quick and easy to use. Even though white rice can be simple to make it does not have many of the nutrients that our bodies so desperately need. These days when a recipe calls for rice instead of using white rice I now use brown rice. Even though it may take a little longer to prepare I believe the benefits it provides are worth it.
White rice comes from brown rice. The difference is brown rice still has its outer shell that contains a variety of valuable vitamins and minerals. To make white rice, the outer shell of brown rice is removed. When this happens most of the vitamins, minerals and fiber is also removed leaving the rice to be basically starch. Starchy food can quickly enter the blood stream and cause problems with our blood sugar levels and adrenal glands. This is one reason why eating food as close to its natural state as possible is so important.
Brown rice may not be for everyone, but for those who can consume brown rice it is full of many beneficial nutrients. Brown Rice is a true whole-grain that contains a good amount of B vitamins. It also contains iron, vitamin E, amino acids and fiber. Brown rice is low in sodium and is made up of 80% complex carbohydrates. It is a whole food that is absorbed more slowly and takes longer to digest than white rice. Brown rice can provide you with energy throughout your day and keep you full longer.
Brown rice contains phytic acid which is a naturally occurring organic acid in the outer layer or bran. According to what I have studied, when left untreated phytic acid can cause the body to lose bone mass and may eventually lead to an overall mineral deficiency. Taking the time to soak brown rice (then draining the water and rinsing the rice before cooking it) can help to eliminate the consequences of phytic acid. This process can produce beneficial enzymes and increase the amount of nutrients.
However, there are some that believe that un-soaked brown rice is healthier and that it stays in the digestive system longer compared to soaked brown rice which may provide more energy. Personally, I have found that when I soak my brown rice for several hours or overnight before I cook it, it is easier for me to digest and it is easier for me to cook it. You may want to experiment to see what is best for you.
When buying brown rice I strongly believe quality matters. Not all food is created equal. Investing in brown rice (and other food) that is made without pesticides, artificial colors, flavors and other additives can make a big difference in how it can nourish your body. One way to tell if the brown rice you are purchasing is a higher-quality is to look for small amounts of green grains mixed in with the brown grains.
There are different sizes of brown rice such as; long grain, medium grain and short grain. When choosing a grain please keep in mind the type of recipe you want to create. The different types of grains may work well in one recipe, but may not taste the same in another recipe. For example, long grain brown rice can taste great in a rice pilaf dish, jambalaya or when you use it in place of white rice in many other recipes. Short grain brown rice can taste delicious in many stir fry recipes, sushi rolls, and as a substitute for noodles in some soups.
Do you eat brown rice?
What is your favorite way to enjoy this amazing whole grain?