Whole Grains are In

Introduction

We became a founding member of the Whole Grain Council in 2002 to help meet the need for education about whole grains, as well as to promote their myriad health benefits. The USDA has also become active in encouraging people to eat more whole grains. The revised food pyramid recommends 6-11 servings of grains per day, at least half of which should be whole grains. The FDA allows a claim stating that whole grains reduce the risk of heart disease and some cancers. What we have always known about whole grains is that they provide extra food value by increasing energy and vitality, while decreasing the risk of costly health problems. All this focus on whole grains is helping consumers recognize the amazing benefits of adding whole grains into their diets.

For 14 years, we’ve pioneered the introduction of exotic heirloom rice varieties to the American palate. Most of our rice varietals are whole grains— Forbidden Rice®, Organic Forbidden Rice®, Bhutanese Red Rice,  Madagascar Pink Rice™, Indonesian Volcano Rice™, Organic Brown Jasmine Rice, and Organic Brown Dehraduni Basmati. Besides being good to excellent sources of protein, fiber and minerals, these rices cook in less time than other whole grain rice and have distinctive textures and unique flavors and colors that make them an exciting addition to your plate.

Whole Grain Rice Is Healthy in So Many Ways!

Generally low in fat with little or no cholesterol, whole grain rice is rich in complex carbohydrates, including dietary fiber, and contains important vitamins and minerals and other components that appear to play a role in keeping us healthy.

Whole grain rice is an important source of both soluble and insoluble dietary fiber. Studies suggest that eating more soluble fiber may reduce blood cholesterol levels. Lower blood cholesterol levels may help reduce the risk of heart disease. Insoluble dietary fiber aids in bowel regularity and may prevent gastrointestinal disorders and certain types of cancer.

All rice, both brown and white, is considered a good source of vitamins and minerals. Whole grain rice is an especially good source of B vitamins, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, molybdenum, iron and zinc.

Rice protein is of very high quality compared to other food crops, with a relatively favorable amino acid composition, with a high proportion of lysine and a high protein digestibility. Whole grain rice has a higher protein content and higher proportion of lysine than milled rice.

Additionally, whole grains are abundant sources of extremely important phytonutrients called "plant lignans." These are thought to play a role in protecting against breast and other hormone-dependent cancers as well as heart disease.

Numerous studies have confirmed that the whole grains play a significant role in preventing heart disease, as well as a number of cancers.

Make Your Carbs Count with Complex Carbohydrates

These days, it seems that everyone is "counting carbs" and carbohydrates have gotten a bad rap from years of strict no-carb diet crazes. In fact, besides having great taste and versatility, complex carbohydrates, such as whole grain rice, have numerous nutritional benefits and are an extremely important part of a healthy diet.

Carbohydrates are the body's primary source of fuel. The energy can be released quickly and easily to fulfill immediate requirement within cells. Carbohydrates do not require oxygen to burn therefore they fuel most muscular contractions. All carbohydrates are made up from sugars. There are a number of different types of sugars but in the body all carbohydrate metabolism converts sugar to glucose, our body's preferred energy source.

Complex carbohydrates are made mostly of long strands of simple sugars. They are found in grains, fruits, legumes and other vegetables. Complex carbohydrates include three types of dietary fiber -- cellulose, hemicellulose and gums -- and starches.

Digestive enzymes have to work much harder to access the bonds to break these long strands of sugars into individual sugars for absorption through the intestines. For this reason digestion of complex carbohydrates takes longer. The slow absorption of sugars provides us with a steady supply of energy and limits the amount of sugar converted into fat and stored.

Complex carbohydrates, once avoided by dieters as fattening, are actually a good source of energy for those who want to lose weight. Additionally, they slow digestion, moderate blood insulin and blood sugar levels, as well as reducing cholesterol levels. All this while also giving you a sense of satiation, so you feel satisfied and full for longer.

Glycemic Index & Glycemic Load

The glycemic index (GI) is a numerical system of measuring how much of a rise in circulating blood sugar a carbohydrate triggers. The higher the number, the greater the blood sugar response. So a low GI food will cause a small rise, while a high GI food will trigger a dramatic spike. A GI of 70 or more is high and a GI of 55 is low. Most whole grain rice has a medium to low glycemic index.

The glycemic load (GL) is a relatively new way to assess the impact of carbohydrate consumption that takes the glycemic index into account, but gives a fuller picture than does glycemic index alone. A GI value indicates how rapidly a particular carbohydrate turns into sugar. What it doesn’t indicate is how much of that carbohydrate is in a serving of that particular food. For example, the carbohydrate in watermelon has a high GI. However, there isn’t much of it, so watermelon's glycemic load is relatively low. A GL of 20 or more is high and a GL of 10 or less is low.

Whole grain rice has an extremely low GL, around 4 or so. Thus, it produces only small fluctuations in blood glucose and insulin levels. Low GI and low GL foods reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes. Additionally, they help keep your energy level balanced by slowly sending glucose into the blood stream. They help you feel fuller longer and are the key to sustainable weight loss.

The Health Benefits of Whole Grains

There are numerous benefits to making whole grains a regular part of your healthy diet. The FDA has approved a health claim stating that, "Diets rich in whole grain foods and other plant foods and low in total fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol, may help reduce the risk of heart disease and certain cancers."

According to the Whole Grains Council, "The medical evidence is clear that whole grains reduce risks of heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes and obesity."

Below are some of the health benefits confirmed by repeated scientific studies:
  • Stroke risk reduced 30-36%
  • Type 2 diabetes risk reduced 21-30%
  • Heart disease risk reduced 25-28%
  • Better weight maintenance
  • Reduced risk of asthma
  • Healthier carotid arteries
  • Reduction of inflammatory disease risk
  • Lower risk of colorectal cancer
  • Healthier blood pressure levels
  • Less gum disease and tooth loss
Heart Health Benefits of Whole Grains
  • Protect against heart disease
  • Lower cholesterol
  • Lower risk of heart failure
  • Reduce risk of cardiovascular disease
  • Reduce risk of hypertension
  • Reduce blood pressure
  • Promote healthier carotid arteries
  • Lower triglycerides
  • Slow the build-up of artery-clogging plaque
Cancer Prevention
  • Lower risk of pancreatic cancer
  • Lower risk of breast cancer
  • Lower risk of colorectal cancer

What is a Whole Grain?

A whole grain contains the bran and germ, as well as the endosperm, unlike refined grains which have had the bran and germ removed, leaving only the endosperm. The color of the bran determines the color of whole grain rice - typically brown, but there are also black and red bran rices.