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Rice is easily digested
Rice is easily digested

Health benefits of rice

Rice is the seed of a cereal grass. It is one of the most important dietary carbohydrates in the world, with over half the global population depending on it.


Typically boiled or steamed, rice can also be ground into gluten-free flour. It is a central component of many cuisines including those of India, China and Southeast Asia.

There are many types of rice but they are categorised by their shape (long or short grain) and colour, white or brown. Brown rice, especially is an excellent source of many nutrients, including fibre, manganese, selenium, magnesium and B vitamins.

Rice can be prepared into different recipes such as rice porridge or rice water as popularly called in Ghana and is mostly served as breakfast. Here are some benefits of adding rice to your meal:

Healthy weight

Brown rice contains fibre and protein, both known to have a satiating effect. For this reason, opting for brown rice over white rice helps reduce blood glucose and fasting insulin levels. All of which stabilise energy levels, prevent cravings and may help with weight management.

Athletic support

Athletes, often opt for white rice as a preferred source of energy, especially when refuelling after exercise. This is because refined carbohydrates, like white rice, are a source of quick, easily accessible carbohydrates which are needed to replenish muscle glycogen after physical exertion.

Easy on the 
digestive system

White rice is easily digested, low in fibre and when cooked and served correctly is unlikely to cause gastric upset. It may be a useful inclusion for those who suffer from heartburn or nausea as well as during the flare-ups associated with conditions like diverticulitis and Crohn’s disease.

Gluten-free grain

Being naturally gluten-free, rice is a valuable option for those with coeliac disease or non-coeliac gluten sensitivity. The brown, wholegrain variety is especially useful because it supplies insoluble fibre, which promotes digestive function and “fuels” the beneficial gut bacteria which are so important for health.

Protect against 
chronic disease

Brown rice retains the bran layer and as such contains protective compounds called flavonoids, examples of these include apigenin and quercetin. 

These compounds play an important role in protecting against disease. Numerous studies suggest including wholegrains, like brown rice, in the diet is linked to a reduced risk of conditions such as heart disease, some cancers including pancreatic and gastric cancers as well as Type 2 diabetes.

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