Diet trends come and go, but some diet advice sticks around for the long haul. One of those unchanging touchstones is choosing whole grains over refined grains. This distinction may seem subtle, but it is an essential choice for those who include grains in their diet. It’s as easy as the choice of brown rice over white rice, but this easy choice brings complex benefits.
Brown rice is a whole grain, meaning it remains more intact during processing than refined grains like white rice. While white rice has its outer hull, bran and germ removed, brown rice keeps the bran and germ elements in tact, allowing it to retain their incredible nutritional properties. These parts of the rice also contribute to the nutty flavor.
Cold Asian Rice Salad with Ginger Lime Dressing
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 40 minutes
- Total Time: 45 minutes
- Yield: 2 1x
1/2 cup carrots, shredded
1/2 cup bell peppers, thinly sliced
1 Tbsp ginger, minced
1 lime, juiced & zested
1/4 cup cilantro
1/4 cup basil
- In a pot, bring 1 1/4 cup water to a boil for rice
- In a bowl, whisk together minced ginger, coconut aminos, tahini, rice vinegar, lime juice, lime zest and salt and pepper to taste
- Add rice to boiling water, return to a boil, cover and reduce heat to simmer then cook 35-40 minutes, until tender
- Transfer rice to a colander and rinse with cold water until cool (or cool in fridge for a few hours – this will help lower the glycemic index too!)
- In a bowl, combine cooled rice, carrots, peppers and dressing and toss to coat
- Garnish with cilantro, basil and sesame seeds
- Serving Size: 1/2 of recipe
- Calories: 279.7
- Sugar: 6.5
- Sodium: 303.5
- Fat: 7.2
- Saturated Fat: 1.2
- Unsaturated Fat: 3.3
- Trans Fat: 0
- Carbohydrates: 49.9
- Fiber: 4.3
- Protein: 0
- Cholesterol: 0
Keywords: gluten free, soy free, egg free, dairy free, vegan, oil free
Studies have shown that substituting refined grains, like white rice, with whole grains, like brown rice, can help lower the risk of type 1 diabetes. One study followed over 2,500 participants over 20 years, demonstrating that those with a higher brown rice intake had a 36% lower risk of type 2 diabetes (1).
Brown rice has strong antioxidant potential due to its content of selenium and manganese. Both have been shown to lower inflammatory markers (2). The reduction of these inflammatory markers may help reduce cardiovascular risk factors like obesity, BMI and blood pressure (3).
Because of the inclusion of the bran and germ, brown rice is an excellent source of fiber (4). Fiber has been shown not only to slow digestion and increase satiety but also to help regulate spikes in blood sugar (5). Many studies have been conducted on the heart-protective effects of a fiber-rich diet. One possible mode of this protection may be through improvement of endothelial function, which are the cells that line blood vessels. One study showed that a diet high in brown rice effectively improved endothelial function (5).
The high fiber content of brown rice also makes it a functional food that aids in weight loss. One study showed that the type of fiber found in brown rice may help reduce appetite and sustain long-term energy intake, while reducing body weight (6).
While brown rice touts many benefits, a general concern with rice in general is the arsenic levels. Most commonly, high arsenic levels in rice arise from pesticide-contaminated water, even in organic fields. Because rice is grown in flooded fields, it is especially susceptible to arsenic accumulation, more so than other plants. This includes both rice and rice products like syrups and milks. Rinsing and cooking the rice in clean water helps reduce these levels (7). Another way to avoid arsenic contamination is to choose basmati rice, which has been found to contain the least arsenic (8). And as always, we encourage you to buy organic when possible.
If you are on a low grain diet, then try this recipe with cauliflower rice or some roasted root vegetables. It’s also absolutely wonderful with spiralized zucchini.
If you are following a low glycemic index diet, try cooling your rice in the fridge fully before making this salad. Studies have shown that cooling cooked starches can cause starch retrogradation, which is a fancy way to say it will increase the resistant starch content, lowering the glycemic index (9).
You can switch up the flavor profile of the dressing by swapping tahini for cashew butter or almond butter too!
1–2 times per week
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