Last updated 07 Apr 2014

The Health Benefits of Consuming Whole Brown Rice

In the macrobiotic diet, it is recommended to consume whole brown rice and other cereals or grain products on a daily basis. These grains should comprise about 50% of a person's daily food intake by cooked volume.

The food intake proportion may vary according to individual physical conditions, climate and environmental factors. In the case of digestive disorders, the consumption of whole grains may need to be increased to 70 to 80 percent for several days. In the case of intensive mental activity, the proportion may need to be adjusted to 60 to 70 percent for a short period of time. On social occasions, it may be reduced to less than 50% when combined with a greater variety of side dishes. During intensive physical training, 60 to 80 percent may be appropriate for the duration.

For regular daily consumption, whole grains and grain products should be kept unrefined and organic in quality, to avoid the use of petroleum, chemicals or other artificial ingredients in fertilizers, pesticides, preservatives and other chemical sprays.

There are three different types of brown rice grown around the world. Short-grain rice is naturally sweet, and it is the smallest and hardiest of the three, and contains the most minerals and a high amount of protein. Medium-grain rice is slightly larger and cooks up slightly softer and is moister in texture. Long-grain rice is light and fluffy when cooked. It is most suitable for consumption by Malaysians and people in Southeast Asia as well as people residing in subtropical regions.

There is another type of rice called sweet rice. It is stickier than regular brown rice and slightly sweeter to the taste. It is primarily used in making mochi (a type of Japanese rice cake), amazake (a type of concentrated grain sweetener), cookies, crackers and other snacks.

Nutritional Value

The grains of whole brown rice are unpolished with the bran intact. It contains a balance of protein, carbohydrates, fat and vitamins and minerals ideally suited for human consumption. It also provides more energy and calories than any other food. As a result, a smaller volume of food will be required on a grain-centered diet compared to other diets. The complex carbohydrates in whole grains will be assimilated gradually and smoothly throughout the digestive organs, providing a slow and steady source of energy to the cells and tissues.

Inside the mouth, enzymes in the saliva will initiate pre-digestion with the grains, and that is the main reason why all foods, especially whole grains, should be chewed thoroughly. Compared to the gradual burning of complex carbohydrates, the predominantly simple carbohydrates in fruits, milk and other dairy foods, sugar, honey and other highly refined sweeteners will burn faster in the digestive system, contributing to rapid and uneven digestion, fluctuations in blood sugar levels and unstable thoughts and emotions.

A diet centered on whole brown rice and cereal grains is beneficial for the elimination of excessive fats and mucus, reducing body weight, and regaining physical and mental flexibility. These effects contribute to the prevention and relief of many modern illnesses and diseases, including cancer, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, asthma, Parkinson’s disease, and chronic skin disorders. It has also been found that those who follow the macrobiotic diet will heal faster from injuries, burns, surgery and most other forms of accidental harm on account of their increased natural immunity and resistance to infection. Hearing loss has also been shown to be improved when people are taken off a high-fat diet and put on a well-balanced macrobiotic diet.

Over time, the regular consumption of whole brown rice and cereal grains as principal food will produce the following lasting benefits to help preserve physical and psychological health:

  1. Better digestion and excretion
  2. Better blood constitution and circulatory functions
  3. Better nervous system functions, including that of the brain
  4. Better natural immunity to infection and disease
  5. Better hormonal functions
  6. Better reproductive system
  7. Better mental clarity, psychological stability, and peacefulness in human relationships
  8. Strengthen physical and mental endurance
  9. Heightened awareness of the environment and natural world
  10. Deeper spiritual insight and aspiration

I wish to recommend the Cambodian long-grain brown rice for your daily consumption, because it has the most balanced mix of nutrients with calm and grounding energy.

Posted by June Ka Lim, macrobiotic chef & counselor

April 2014

Reference: Macrobiotic Diet by Michio and Aveline Kushi