Brown rice can be a bit of a dry subject (get it?), until you realize just how much of a powerhouse this whole grain really is.
Want to improve your energy levels with some healthy calories? Check. Want to get in some healthy vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants? Check. What about curb your hunger?
You get the point!
Let’s take a look at exactly how eating brown rice can give you a healthy boost of energy to keep you fueled during the day, as well as provide you with other surprising benefits.
Brown Rice: A Power House
Brown rice is classified as a complex carbohydrate. That’s right, I said carbohydrate. No, not all carbohydrates are the same, and not all of them are bad for you.
First off, let’s run through quickly what simple and complex carbohydrates are, so you can see why brown rice is so great.
Simple carbohydrates are made of 1-2 sugar molecules and they’re utilized as quick sources of energy. Simple sugars can be found in candy, honey, table sugar, and sodas. Despite being able to provide quick boosts of energy, this energy doesn’t last too long, and they cause spikes in blood sugar, which can lead to weight gain.
On the other hand, complex carbohydrates (brown rice) are made up of sugar molecules connected in long, complex chains (hence the name). Because of complex carbohydrates’ molecular structure, they take longer to digest, and this is a big benefit we’ll discuss in a little bit.
Simply put, not only is brown rice fairly low in calories (only about 216 per cup), it’s quite a nutrient powerhouse.
Talk to any big time fitness buff and you’ll likely find out they eat their fair share of brown rice, especially before hitting the gym.
Brown rice as a carbohydrate provides our body with fuel. The sugar molecules are turned to glucose (sugar), which our body uses for energy. However, brown rice doesn’t give you a blast of energy all at once, opening a floodgate of sugar into your body and spiking your blood sugar. Brown rice takes longer to digest, mainly because of its fiber component, which means you’ll get a longer, more sustained boost of energy than you would from cake, brownies, and candy.
You’ll also experience a much smaller spike in blood sugar as a result.
Vitamins, Minerals, & Antioxidants
Brown rice is packed with several vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
Some of the micronutrients in brown rice include:
- vitamin B1
- vitamin B2
- vitamin B3
- vitamin B6
- vitamin E
- vitamin K
Check out that big list. We all know that vitamins and minerals are important. Many of us were probably taught ever since we were young that we should be getting enough of these micronutrients each day. Micronutrients are substances required in small amounts for the body to grow.
But don’t confuse “small” with not being important!
B vitamins are key for supporting growth, proper function, and even lowering cholesterol.
Next time you serve yourself up a portion of brown rice, just know that you’re stocking up on some much needed micronutrients.
Protein & Fiber
Brown rice also contains 2 very important macronutrients, protein and fiber. While you won’t be able to get all of your daily protein needs from brown rice, it does provide about 5 g of protein per cup.
One cup of brown rice also provides about 3.5 g of fiber.
Both of these (protein & fiber) are considered macronutrients, meaning the body requires these in larger amounts.
Protein is involved in so many cellular functions throughout the body. It’s utilized to help repair tissues, and is the building block of skin, bones, muscle, and blood.
Fiber is important for supporting a healthy digestive system, as well as lowering cholesterol and helping control blood sugar levels. Not too mention, fiber also helps you feel full, which can help you eat fewer calories and even lose weight.
Great for Meal Prep
Now I’m not saying that brown rice is a cure all, and that all you’ll need for the best energy around and to completely manage your blood sugar is to slam down plate after plate of brown rice.
However, brown rice is a complex carbohydrate that is easy to prepare (even for a microwave guy like myself), fairly affordable, and provides several important micronutrients and macronutrients.
If you’re looking to dabble in some meal prep in an effort to eat healthier, avoid junk food, and even lose weight, definitely don’t count out brown rice. You can whip up a week’s worth of brown rice in less than 30 minutes and add it to your arsenal of healthy food options for some great fuel and to help fill you up.
Take Your Nutrition to a New Level
Implementing brown rice into your diet can certainly provide several advantages. But, do you want to step up your nutrition game, make better eating choices, and improve your metabolism for greater weight loss and overall health?
Check out the 12-week delicious nutrition guide IdealPlan eBook. It’s designed to maximize fat loss and support healthy eating through delicious recipes and customized meal plans based on gender and weight.
Eating healthy doesn’t have to be boring, and it won’t be with the IdealPlan. The IdealPlan provides carefully crafted, tasty meal plans that include brown rice, as well as other nutrient-powerhouse foods to keep you feeling full, energized, and on the road to reaching your ideal shape.