Brown rice for diabetes

Metabolic diseases in which blood sugar levels remain high for a longer period are known as diabetes. Initial symptoms of diabetes are frequent urination, feeling thirsty always and increased hunger. At the advanced stage, diabetes can cause damage to the eyes, foot ulcers, stroke, heart diseases and chronic kidney failures. Untreated diabetes can lead to coma and become fatal. The incidence of diabetes is insufficient production of insulin by pancreas or when there is sufficient production of insulin, improper response by the body to insulin. We would try and assess if brown rice is a healthy choice for those with diabetes.

Types of diabetes

Three types of diabetes prevail

Type 1 – Which is insulin dependent diabetes mellitus where the cause is not known,

Type 2 – Where insulin resistance NIDDM (non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus) due to excess body weight or lack of exercise.

Third one is gestational diabetes in pregnant women without any previous history.

Ideal food for diabetes

Most cases of diabetes can be prevented or can even be reversed.

Each type of diabetes is treated differently ranging from change of dietary habits and diet, exercises and weight management techniques to curative medicine supplements.  Adopting healthy eating habits and losing weight are the twin best remedies. Selection of food items play a major role. For example white rice can be replaced by Brown rice.

Brown rice for diabetes

What is brown rice?

As the name suggests, brown rice is just unpolished rice from the grain from which white rice is made. By removing the inedible outer hull from the grain brown rice is obtained.

Being a whole rice, brown rice contains carbohydrates, magnesium, niacin, and thiamine, selenium, phosphorous and vitamin B-6. Brown rice is also an excellent source of fiber and manganese. Ferulic acid, lysine and vitamin E are also present in brown rice.

Germinated form of brown rice is more beneficial as it has extra nutritional value acquired due to the process of germination.

Nutrition information

The comparative nutritional values of white rice and brown rice throw more light on the desirability of switching over from white rice to brown rice by diabetic patients.

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In 100 gm., white rice contain 130 calories, potassium 35 gm. carbohydrate 28 gm. Dietary fiber 0.48 gm. Protein 2.7 gm. calcium 1% RDA, iron 1%, vitamin B-6- 5%, magnesium 3%.

In comparison 100 gm. Brown rice gives 111 calories and contain potassium 43 gm. carbohydrate 23gm. Dietary fiber 1.8 gm. protein 2.6gm. Calcium 1%, Iron 2%, vitamin B6- 5%, magnesium 10%.

It can be seen that brown rice provides more nutrients with lesser calories.

Why is brown rice suitable for diabetes?

This variety of rice is more suitable for a diabeticz as it contains less carbohydrate and more fiber, iron, magnesium and also cholesterol free with no fat, sodium or gluten.

As far as diabetes cure is concerned, brown rice helps stabilize blood sugar levels.

Brown rice reduces serum insulin levels and prevents and control diabetes. Brown rice has lesser glycemic index and glycemic load factor when compared to white rice. The glycemic index and glycemic load factor of brown rice and white rice are 55 and 62 and 22 and 29 respectively. Lower FI and GLF have the ability to restrict increase of sugar in the blood and prevent the risk of metabolic syndrome. Since the carbohydrates in white rice is refined it has more GI and digested very fast quickly increasing the blood sugar level. In contrast, brown rice with lower GI is digested slowly preventing sudden increase in glucose level in addition to deferring the next serving of food.

Even though the metabolic factors of both the rice varieties are similar, brown rice also lowers the HDL cholesterol level and blood pressure in diabetics.

Dietary fiber present in this more than three times that of white rice. Due to such higher fiber content, brown rice has lower GI and is a better substitute for white rice for diabetics. Because of more fiber in it, brown rice provides more satiety and the hungry feeling is deferred.

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Brown rice is an alternative to white rice only, if rice is the only option. It will be prudent to do away with any type of rice because of the carbohydrate present and switch over to many other grains, maize, ragi, wheat and millets that are more diabetic friendly.

How to cook Brown rice?

Cook brown rice just like white rice but it takes a little longer time to get cooked. But you can the broken variety relatively fast. Diabetics must consume brown rice also in moderation with other non- starchy vegetables and lean proteins for a balanced diet.

Ramya Srinivasan, PDGBA, earned her Master’s degree in Business. As a result of her passion in native medicine, she got her Diploma in Traditional Siddha Medicine from Bharat Sevak Samaj registered under the Indian Planning Commission. She is certified by Stanford University School of Medicine in Introduction to Food and Health.