You probably know that brown rice is nutritious for you as most whole grains are. However, knowing all the benefits brown rice has to offer nutritionally may inspire you to add it to your next meal plan and incorporate it into rice recipes every chance you get.
A 1-cup portion of cooked brown rice contains 218 calories, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Nutrient Database. But a 1-cup portion is actually two serving sizes, based on the USDA’s portion size food chart for grains. A 1/2 -cup portion of cooked brown rice is just 109 calories. Many moderately active men and women require between 2,000 and 2,500 calories daily, just to give you an idea about total daily calorie needs — but individualized calorie requirements vary.
Macronutrients (Carbs, Protein, and Fat)
Brown rice mainly consists of carbohydrates (especially fiber) and is a source of protein. A 1-cup portion of cooked brown rice provides you with about 46 grams of carbohydrates, 5 grams of protein, and less than 2 grams of fat. Of the total carbohydrates in brown rice, 3.5 grams are from fiber in each cup. Because brown rice is a starchy food packed with carbs and fiber, it’s an excellent source of energy and will keep you feeling full for long periods.
Micronutrients (Vitamins and Minerals)
Brown rice is an excellent source of certain vitamins and minerals as well. It provides you with B vitamins (especially vitamin B3, or niacin), phosphorous, and magnesium. It is also a source of iron and zinc (in smaller amounts). The micronutrient and macronutrient content of brown rice is higher for raw vs. cooked rice, because the size of the grain is smaller (more raw rice fits into a 1-cup portion). To keep the majority of vitamins and minerals intact during the cooking process, only use enough water to make the rice kernels swell up. Excess water that doesn’t absorb into rice while cooking it often contains vitamins and minerals, so avoid having to drain/strain excess water from cooked rice.
Brown Rice Health Benefits
Because brown rice is rich in fiber, it’s a heart healthy choice when used in place of refined grains (like white bread and white rice). In fact, a 2014 study published in the International Journal of Preventative Medicine found replacing white rice with brown rice may help reduce body weight, hip circumference, waist circumference, body mass index, and blood pressure, which helps lower heart disease risks. Because of this, it’s a great choice for your grain portion of your meals.