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The Benefits of Brown Rice for Weight Loss
Have you just hit a weight loss plateau? Or do you want to try changing up your food habits without sacrificing the quality of your meals?
Why not try switching to brown rice, which has been scientifically proven to be beneficial to weight loss?
Interested? Read on below to learn more about brown rice for weight loss!
The Benefits of Brown Rice for Weight Loss: A healthier alternative
Technically, brown rice is unpolished white rice, and thus remains a whole grain. So while white rice is considered a source of “empty calories” and is made up mostly of carbs, brown rice is a whopping 25% more nutritious than white rice, according to wholegrainscouncil.org.
This is thanks to the bran and germ, two components of the whole grain that are usually milled away when rice is polished. The germ of a whole grain contains the ability to reproduce, and thus contains a variety of nutrients, such as B vitamins, healthy fats, proteins, and minerals.
Meanwhile, the bran of the grain is the edible outer shell of the grain. The most important thing that you get from the bran is dietary fiber. A plant-based nutrient which will contribute the most to helping you lose weight.
Fiber needs longer to digest, meaning you will feel full faster despite eating less. In the long run, this reduces your appetite, helping you lose weight. And while one cup of white rice only contains 0.6 grams of fiber, a cup of brown rice offers 3.5 grams.
As an added bonus, since brown rice is a complex carbohydrate, the fiber it contains may help fight off stubborn belly fat with the help of all the other nutrients in the rice, something we’ve explored in a previous blog post here on myfitness7.com. And while its down there, fiber cleans your digestive system too, keeping your gut bacteria healthy.
Choosing a variety of brown rice
Rice-eating nations all over the world use rice in everything from savory dishes to sticky-sweet desserts, and each type of rice suits particular dishes better than others. The same logic applies to the varieties of brown rice.
For example, the short grain brown rice’s small kernels work best for sticky dishes, like risotto. With its larger, rounder shape, on the other hand, medium grain brown rice is a better choice for dishes like paella.
Meanwhile, long grain brown rice is the type most people are familiar with, and is usually used in stir fries, biryani and pilaf. And while light brown rice requires less preparation than the rest, half its bran has been milled away, resulting in less fiber content.
Of course, it is usually best to choose the rice that suits the dishes you like to eat. However, if you are really committed to brown rice for weight loss and have the time to meal prep, it’s best to stay away from light brown rice and stick to other varieties. This way, you get as much fiber in your diet as possible.
How to prepare brown rice for weight loss:
Soak and rinse
It is highly recommended that you soak your preferred amount of brown rice for at least half an hour before cooking. This softens the bran, so you do not end up with crunchy rice. It will also help your body absorb the rice’s nutrients better when you eat it.
The next step is to rinse the rice. Rinsing the rice is mainly done to remove dirt, and, if you are using bagged rice, it can help rehydrate the grains somewhat.
More importantly, however, rinsing removes that white powder you get on your fingers when you handle rice. This is a starchy coating acquired from all those grains rubbing against each other on the way from the rice paddy to your pantry. If this powder accompanies your rice to the cooker or the stove, it can result in an unpleasant, gooey texture in the finished product.
You can wash your rice by hand. Once you have filled your pot with the desired amount of rice, fill it with some water. Swirl the rice and water before pouring the water out and repeat the process until the water is no longer cloudy. The usual number of repeats is around three or four.
Cooking the rice
After rinsing your rice, the next step is to measure the amount of water you need for cooking. There is no need to mess around with cups and ratios — you can draw wisdom from different sources and use the Asian “Finger Trick,” or the First Knuckle Method. To do this, make your rice sit level in the pot, place your index finger on top of the rice, and simply fill the pot with water until it hits your first knuckle.
Finally, you can cook your rice. If you’re using any modern rice cooker, weknowrice.com points out that you can simply set it to “cook” — and that’s it! But if you are going old school, just keep an eye on your pot while it’s cooking on the stove. For this, it is best to use a transparent glass lid so you don’t have to lift the lid to check on the rice, as this releases steam too often.
If your cooker or pot on the stove starts to rattle and the contents start to bubble, don’t panic, as this is part of the process. Simply wait for the starchy rice bubbles to completely recede. Lift the lid, wait for the steam to reside, and agitate the rice with a fork or a pair of chopsticks. You will be left with a fluffy pot of brown rice!
Tada! Your brown rice for weight loss is now ready to be served.
If you are unsure of when —or how— to start eating rice, we recommend having a cup with any viand you usually have. Think eggs, fish, meat, or vegetables — and replace what carbs you usually have with it, such as bread or potatoes, with a fragrant, steaming cup of brown rice for weight loss.
If you want to experiment with making both sweet and savory rice dishes, these recipes from recipetineats.com are also a good place to start. Rice can be eaten with anything and as anything, so feel free to explore to your heart’s content!
This article was specially written for MyFitness7 by Alicia Carter.