From my personal experience, sometimes, it's easier to make a "healthy" choice if you understand why that's the healthier choice. So... what makes brown rice so different from white? Call it unreliable if you'd like, but Wikepidia helped me find the sources to all the answers :) My favorite Chinese food spot in midtown is Ginger's on Fashion Ave. While some feel like their rushed in & out of the place, I appreciate the fast service. What I always struggle with ---no matter where I'm eating lunch --- is choosing my starch. I'm not quite a lo mein girl, so rice is always the option for me. The word "fried" says enough for me to stay away but, between white and brown rice, I never really knew the difference. Until today, that is!!!
Brown rice is healthier than white rice because brown rice retains its natural nutrients. Brown rice is what appears when the husk is removed. To make White rices, you have to continue to remove layers --therefore removing the nutrients help in those layers. Technically, Brown rice is what white rice originally was :) Rice has several layers. The "husk" is the first. To make white rice, the grain is them milled to remover the bran and germ. Then, the rice is polished to remove the aleurone layer which contains protein and essential fat that allow the plant to germinate and grow evenly!
The complete milling and polishing that converts brown rice into white rice destroys 67% of the vitamin B3, 80% of the vitamin B1, 90% of the vitamin B6, half of the manganese, half of the phosphorus, 60% of the iron, and all of the dietary fiber and essential fatty acids. By law in the United States, fully milled and polished white rice must be "enriched" with vitamins B1, B3, and iron. -via World's Healthiest Foods
To make brown rice healthiest, you should soak it for 1 or 2 days. This makes the internal minerals change so that it's both healthier and easier to chew (it is a bit tougher than white rice, but you get over it after a while -- especially with Ginger's chicken & broccoli to distract you! lol). Brown rice is reportedly a good source of selenium (helps your thyroid produce energy & to reduce your antioxidants) and magnesium (which helps to stabilize our internal chemistry --for example laxatives!) Studies have been done that showed that eating brown rice can help suppress blood pressure and fight sleeplessness. Now, I wasn't part of that study, but that sounds good to me!
There are federal regulations for the modes and length of time you can store rice. Cooked rice can be stored 3-5 days (or 6 moths frozen). Brown rice only has a shelf life of 6-months (unless you freeze it), whereas white rice can be stored "indefinitely." Like... forever? I'm not sure if that's a good or bad thing. But... what other food can be stored forever & how do you make it last so long? No preservative, yo! (Other sources say you should only store your white rice for one year.) Brown rice is typically more expensive because of it's short life span and restrictions in storage --simply tougher to produce & maintain.
Being Dominican, though, I've grown up on mi arroz blanco. I couldn't bring myself to eat my beans with brown rice. I suppose it would be a great benefit to switch over to brown rice when the meal calls for it --to make sure you're getting those essential vitamins and nutrients. I know I try to make that choice when I can. Can't hurt *shrugs* :) I'm a firm believer in that what grows naturally from the earth is what is made to sustain the human body. We are creatures in this world after all :)
Hope this can help you make one more healthy decision when the time calls for it :)