The Power of Rice: Benefits of Eating this Popular Grain

Rice cooked in Japanese hot pot

If you have ever traveled to certain countries in the Asia-Pacific region (where about 90% of the world’s rice is produced and consumed), you would have seen prolific paddy-field farming of rice. Both young and old work the paddy fields, yielding bag upon bag of rice – a commodity that forms a staple diet in these countries, but is also exported around the globe. 

You would be forgiven for thinking that the only reason rice is such a staple food the world over is because it is “cheap”, but the reality is that eating rice comes with a variety of additional advantages and benefits. If you haven’t been having a serving of rice each day, perhaps now is the time to start. Before you rush off to gobble up a bowl of rice immediately for its many potential benefits, let’s take a look at each of these benefits and advantages.

First, it must be mentioned that brown rice has far more nutritional value than white rice, although white rice still has health benefits. If you want to enjoy the nutritional value of brown rice without giving up on your much-loved fluffy white rice texture and flavor, consider combining white and brown rice so that you can have the best of both.

These are 18 advantages and benefits of eating rice:

1. It’s delicious!

There might not be much to rice, but it just so happens to be delicious. You can always add a few flavors to it during the cooking process, but most people agree that rice is delicious “as it is”.

2. Rice is a good source for a range of B vitamins.

Most people don’t know this, but rice is a great source of Vitamin B complex. This is essential for energy but also to ensure that the nervous system of the body functions smoothly and correctly. When we consume the right B vitamins, we produce more neurotransmitters that help regulate biological processes. Rice, brown rice, in particular, is fairly rich in thiamin, niacin, and pantothenic acid.

White rice in bowl on wooden Background

3. Quick and easy to cook.

There’s not much effort required to cook rice. It is typically boiled in a pot on the stovetop, but can also be made in the microwave. 

4. It’s affordable – can feed the whole family on the cheap.

If you have a big family to feed on a limited budget, rice can really save the day. You can cook a large quantity of rice quite cheaply. This means that you can feed a large group affordably. 

5. Rice is a versatile dish.

Rice is versatile in that it can be used in a variety of meals from curry and rice, or stir-fry to rice pudding. You can really whip up some of the most amazing meals with this seemingly simple ingredient. 

6. Brown rice can help prevent heart disease.

Eating whole grains, such as brown rice, can reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease

Organic Brown Rice in the bowl on the wooden table

7. Improves colon health.

Rice contains resistant starch. When consuming this starch, the colon starts to form short-chain fatty acids which are known to protect and improve colon health as well as work against possible colon cancer. 

8. Rice is rich in certain minerals essential to the body.

 When consuming rice, you are providing your body with a variety of minerals, including manganese, selenium, calcium, magnesium, and copper. A few servings of rice per week can help your body to enjoy the benefits of these particular minerals. 

9. It’s gluten-free.

If you are looking for a gluten-free start, you might feel as if you will never find it. But rice is exactly that. Rice is naturally gluten-free. Just waiting for you to enjoy it!

10. Rice supports bones, muscles, and nerves.

Eating rice can provide much-needed support to your bones, muscles, and nerves. This is mainly because of the food’s magnesium content. This is a structural component of our bones. It is responsible for helping hundreds of enzyme reactions involved when DNA and protein are synthesized, thus allowing for correct muscle and nerve contraction and condition. 

11. Provides the body with energy.

Rice is essentially a carbohydrate. Many people try to avoid carbs because they wrongly believe that carbs will make them fat. In reality, carbs are essential for energy, and that’s the very reason why rice might form a large part of an athlete’s or sportsmen and women’s diets. Don’t ditch all of the carbs in your diet. If you have already, add some rice to some of your meals. It adds great balance and will keep you feeling energized.

12. Can ease diarrhea.

Boy in red shirt with stomach ache

Got the runs? While rice isn’t something that can cure diarrhea, it can ease the symptoms. You can eat the rice, but it is recommended that you actually drink the rice water. Simply boil 1 cup of rice in 2 cups of water for around 10 minutes. The water must become cloudy before you can stop boiling the rice. Strain the rice and keep the water to drink. The rice water will help prevent dehydration and will also reduce just how long you have an upset stomach for. The rice has a binding effect and, therefore, “settles” the stomach.

13. Reduces blood pressure.

Rice is very low in sodium and is, therefore, a good go-to food for those who have hypertension. Sodium is what causes veins and arteries to constrict, which in turn puts the heart under stress and increases blood pressure. By eating rice regularly, the chances of clogging those arteries and veins with sodium are reduced, thus reducing blood pressure

14. Decent source of fiber.

Everyone needs to have fiber in their diet, and brown rice is considered a good proponent for that goal. While white rice isn’t very high in fiber (1 cup of cooked white rice has 0.6 grams of fiber), brown rice is considered a fairly good source of fiber (1 cup of cooked brown rice has about 3.5g of fiber). 

15. Rich source of amino acids.

Amino acids are essential for the human body. They are the building blocks of protein and play a vital role in our bodies. The protein in most rice is high in cysteine and methionine, but considerably low in lysine. 

16. Boosts your body’s iron reserves.

Iron is something that a lot of people need to supplement. If you have low iron levels, you can feel tired, lethargic, and even depressed. Rice is a great way to add a bit of iron oomph to your diet. 1 cup of cooked brown rice contains approximately 0.8mg of iron. Iron is required by the human body. Women need around 18 mg per day, where men only need 8 mg per day. 

17. Good source of plant-based protein.

People following a vegan or vegetarian diet need to find an alternative way of getting their protein. The average male needs around 56 g of protein, whereas the average female requires around 46 g of protein per day. It works out to around 0.8 g of protein per kg of body weight. 

Bowl of brown rice on wooden table

Whether you need to get all of your protein from plants or just want to boost your animal-based protein intake, rice can play a helpful role. In a cup of cooked brown rice, there is around 5g of protein. 

18. Controls blood sugar levels.

White rice is certainly not recommended for diabetics or people trying to lower their blood sugar levels. Brown rice, however, is a different story. Brown rice is a healthier choice. It is high in carbohydrates and has a glycemic index that is lower than white rice, but what’s special about it is that it increases insulin sensitivity. This means that there is less of a sugar spike after meals. 

In closing

If you were looking for a reason to eat rice, now you have 18! Cooking and eating rice at home won’t just be affordable, but also a healthy choice for you and your family. Grab yourself a bag of whole-grain brown rice on your next shopping trip and start adding it to your meals a few times a week. You never know – you just might love it. It’s guaranteed that you will love the benefits and advantages. 

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This article was co-authored by our team of writers and editors who share one thing in common: their passion for food and drinks!

JC Franco
Editor | + posts

JC Franco works as a New York-based editor at Foodrinke, driven by his lifelong love for food. His culinary journey began in childhood, as he eagerly assisted his mother with her local sandwich and bakery business, relishing every opportunity to sample her creations. Known among family and friends as an easy eater, JC has a particular affinity for Chinese, Italian, Mexican, and Peruvian cuisine. At Foodrinke, he channels his passion for food into his work, sharing his enthusiasm and knowledge with readers.