The Challenges of Adopting a Brown Rice Diet

Brown rice is a great source of fiber, as well as phytoestrogen and phenolic compounds. This rice is also a rich in the B vitamins niacin and thiamin. Brown rice is low in fat, low sodium, and has a pleasing nutty flavor that adapts to many dishes. Adding it to your diet can seem challenging, but with some planning it’s quite easy to get the four recommended servings every day.

Nutrients Found in Brown Rice

Because your body uses up B vitamins regularly, you should make sure you eat a diet rich in these vitamins, and brown rice is a great way to do it. Many B vitamins help your body produce red blood cells and make sure the central nervous system works properly. Niacin (B3) helps your cells produce energy and keeps hair and skin healthy. Thiamin (B1) also helps produce energy and helps with heart, muscle, and nerve health.

Phytoestrogen is found in grains and vegetables. As it mimics the natural estrogen found in a human’s body, it can help with hormonal imbalances, especially after menopause. Conflicting information is one reason many women shy away from foods like brown rice and soy. For years the media suggested that the phytoestrogen in foods might increase your risk of breast cancer. Recent studies have found just the opposite; diets rich in phytoestrogen had lower incidences of breast cancer. They’ve also found that phytoestrogen reduces the the risk of colon cancer, ovarian cancer, and prostate cancer.

Phenolic compounds are equally beneficial. They help prevent cell damage by free radicals. This can help reduce inflammation that causes pain in arthritis and other conditions. They also can help prevent blood clots from forming.

Cooking Brown Rice

Brown rice requires a 2:1 ratio of water to rice. Rinse first to remove any small foreign objects that may remain after manufacturing. Bring the rice and water to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, place a cover on the pot, and simmer for 45 minutes. At the end of 45 minutes, remove from heat and let sit 10 minutes before serving.

You can store brown rice in the refrigerator for up to a week. If you want to keep rice in the freezer, it will last for six months.

Variety Adds Spice to Rice

Fitting in four servings of brown rice or other fiber-rich grains is the biggest challenge you’ll face. Many people tend to skip meals. You’ll have to learn to make time for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. You’ll find that eating three daily meals helps keep you full and limits your between meal cravings.

Make breakfast your biggest meal of the day. Turn brown rice into a hearty oatmeal-style dish by cooking it in coconut milk, adding dried fruits, and sweetening it with honey. You can also make brown rice pancakes and waffles. You’ll find many breakfast options when you download brown rice recipes.

Serve rice as a side dish or main course for lunch and dinner. To make a quick and simple pilaf, saute 1 cup brown rice and 1 diced onion in 1 tbsp olive oil until the onion is translucent. Add 2 cups of broth and bring to a boil. Simmer for 45 minutes. You can add your favorite vegetables toward the end of the cooking time for added nutrition and flavor.

To get your fourth serving of brown rice, make crackers using a mixture of cooked brown rice, grated vegetables, nuts, and seeds. Mix the ingredients in a food processor until a thick paste forms. Use your hands to shape tablespoon sized portions of the dough into thin wafers. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

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Physical Challenges to Adding Brown Rice’s Fiber to Your Diet

If your body is used to a low-fiber diet, it can be hard to switch to a brown rice diet. The excess fiber in brown rice may cause gas and abdominal discomfort. Counteract this by slowly getting your body use to the extra fiber. If you rarely eat high-fiber foods, start by adding one serving a day for a few days and then gradually increase that amount. Products like Beano can also help with the gas and bloating. After a few days, your body adjusts to the extra fiber, and you’ll feel great.

Have you added brown rice to your diet? Do you have a favorite side or meal using brown rice? Feel free to share your own tips and recipes.

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