Why White Rice May Be Better For You Than Brown Rice

"Eat more whole grains." It was the most important message we were getting about our diets for quite some time. While grains aren’t as healthy as their fruit and veggie counterparts, they can support your health.

When it comes to incorporating rice into your diet, you may be surprised (like I initially was) to learn the factors that go into selecting the best type of rice for you.

White versus brown

Brown rice tends to be the favored option in the health food world. After all, the distinguishing factor between white and brown rice is that brown rice is the true whole grain, retaining the bran and germ. Those are the component that have the majority of nutrients. White rice has to be fortified with nutrients.

So, if you’re following this process, it’s stripped of nutrients and then has nutrients added back in. Sounds a little counterproductive to me.

However, white rice can be much easier to digest. So, if you’re having digestive issues, especially diarrhea, white rice may not be healthier in terms of nutrient density, but it certainly is the better option in terms of GI upset. White rice is more binding.

Organic versus conventional

We often just think of organic options when we’re in the produce section of the grocery store, and very rarely, if ever, when we’re talking grains. However, rice is a grain that if you have the option and budget to choose organic, you should go for it.

Rice has been outwardly acknowledged to contain arsenic – yup the toxic heavy medal. Regular exposure to it can lead to an increased risk of bladder, lung and skin cancer as well as heart disease and type 2 diabetes1. You can check out all the details from The Food and Drug Administration.

White rice tends to have less arsenic than brown rice, so there’s another kudo for the whole grain. Although there’s little evidence to show that organic rice has less arsenic than its conventional counterpart, I personally chose to buy organic because even if it lowers the level the slightest bit, it’s worth it to me.

Because of the arsenic, I’ve also chosen to reduce my intake of rice, but I still enjoy sushi and rice noodles, so I didn’t want to eliminate the gluten-free grain completely.

To soak or not

Rinsing or soaking the grain prior to cooking may help to reduce the level of arsenic – the studies are quite mixed, but again, I go with the school of thought that if it can eliminate the smallest amount, it’s worth it. The process can also make the grains easier to digest and absorb the nutrients. So, give it a try!

I know I may not have painted the best picture of rice here, but it’s to help share information about the food that we’re eating and empower us all to make the best decisions for our body. As I mentioned, I still eat rice, just a less amount of it, organic and do my best to either rinse or soak in advance.

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