Basmati has been grown for centuries in the Himalayan foothills. Today, India makes up 70% of the world’s production of basmati rice and covers 65% of the overseas market in the export of basmati rice.
Of the two kinds of basmati rice, white and brown, white basmati is more processed and during its processing, the hull, bran, and germ are eliminated while in the case of brown rice, it is only the hull that gets removed.
Basmati rice is regarded as a healthier choice of rice on account of its imposing nutrient profile. In this article, we will look into some remarkable benefits of this unique variety of rice.
Difference Between White and Brown Basmati Rice
As we already know, basmati rice has two types white and brown. White basmati rice is processed and its bran and germ layers are removed, for which it has a softer and sticky texture compared to brown basmati rice when cooked.
The outer bran layer of brown basmati rice remains intact and therefore, it is more nutritious and has a chewy texture with a nutty aroma when cooked.
Brown basmati rice contains both soluble and insoluble dietary fiber in good amounts. Soluble fiber prolongs gastric emptying time and decelerates the process of digestion. Insoluble fiber aids in adding bulk to stool and helps move food smoothly along the intestines stimulating digestion, easing off constipation, and treating other gastrointestinal afflictions.
Both the varieties of rice comprise all eight essential amino acids together with a significant amount of selenium and magnesium, which reinforces the metabolism of protein and carbohydrates and good performance of the nervous system. Huge supplies of selenium aid in the appropriate working of the thyroid gland and reduce the risk of cancer.
Besides, both rice varieties are gluten-free, rich in carbohydrates, and packed in energy, which helps the body to work at its best possible level.
As white rice is refined, polished, and devoid of its bran and germ, it has increased shelf life, tastiness, and cooking quality, but significantly lower nutritional value. However, white rice is usually enriched with vitamins after processing.
Being an intact whole grain, brown rice contains the most nutritious parts of the grain – the bran and the germ. Therefore, brown rice contains vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants. Hence, brown rice may have more fiber and nutrients compared to white rice.
Glycemic Index of Basmati Rice
How rapidly blood sugar level increases after the consumption of a certain food, is measured by the glycemic index (GI). It has been noted that the consumption of a diet with high GI foods can raise the risk of metabolic disorders such as diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.
The glycemic index of rice is thought to be high. But basmati rice has a glycemic index ranging between 50 and 58 and so, basmati rice can be considered as a medium glycemic index food. Thus, basmati rice is a very healthy substitute for carbohydrates. What is more, the glycemic index of brown basmati rice is even lower.
Health Benefits of Basmati Rice
1. May Be a Diabetes-Friendly Rice Variety
People with diabetes are generally expected to avoid rice as the glycemic index of most varieties of rice is high. But basmati rice has a glycemic index much lower on the scale. Basmati rice can be considered as a low to medium glycemic index food with a glycemic index between 50 and 58.
The indication from the Diabetes Association of Canada that basmati rice has a glycemic index lower than any other rice variety is of great consequence for people with diabetes because the low glycemic index is crucial for them.
As basmati rice contains a significant amount of essential nutrients, fiber, starchy carbs, protein, and amylase, it slows down the digestion process and its glycemic index remains low while it keeps blood sugar levels under control. Thus, basmati rice becomes a diabetes-friendly variety of rice.
2. May Keep Your Heart Healthy
Apart from the fact that 100g cooked basmati rice has low calories, its saturated fat content is lower compared to other varieties of rice. This makes basmati rice a healthier choice for your heart.
Furthermore, being rich in vitamin B and dietary fiber, basmati rice helps enhance good cholesterol levels and decreases bad cholesterol. This inhibits fatty deposits in heart vessels and aids in cardiac muscle tasks and improves heart health.
Hence, the consumption of whole grains such as brown basmati rice is associated with a reduced risk of heart disease. Besides, blood cholesterol levels get lowered with the help of whole grains. In addition, whole grains help decrease hypertension, a heart disease risk factor.
3. May Help in Proper Digestion
Basmati rice is high in soluble fiber that offers the system sufficient amounts of roughage that helps in easing good bowel movement and smooth working of the digestive system.
A poorer fiber diet is linked to constipation problems. Hence, people with digestive and constipation problems can gain by adding basmati rice to their eating habits.
4. May Support Weight Loss
Many believe that eating rice is opposed to weight loss. But it has been shown that basmati rice can help people in getting rid of excess weight.
The abundance of natural dietary fiber in basmati rice decelerates digestion and controls your appetite, making you feel fuller for a lengthier time. What is more, basmati rice contains an elevated amount of amylose, which is a kind of carbohydrate that makes it difficult for the body to digest and accelerates weight loss.
5. May Control Blood Pressure
Magnesium and potassium are plentifully present in basmati rice and they aid in decreasing blood pressure astonishingly. Potassium plays an important role in smoothing blood vessels and enhancing blood circulation.
In addition, magnesium in basmati rice assists in keeping healthy bones and heart health. Therefore, the inclusion of basmati rice in their diet can help people with high blood pressure to a great extent.
6. May Prevent Development of Cancer Cells
Having plenty of dietary fiber, basmati rice can prevent the development of cancer cells. Studies have revealed that fiber consumption wards off multiple forms of cancer, particularly colon cancer.
Besides, the intake of whole-grain basmati rice effectively prevents breast cancer as fiber aids the body in getting rid of estrogen hormones.
7. May Have Low Arsenic Content
Heavy metal arsenic can damage your health and potentially raise the risk of heart problems, diabetes, and some cancers. Arsenic is likely to build up more in rice than in other food grains. This can be especially worrying for those who regularly eat rice.
However, the arsenic content of basmati rice is generally lower than that of other varieties of rice. And compared to other rice varieties, basmati rice produced in California, India, and Pakistan has the lowest arsenic concentrations.
It should be noted that within any one species of rice, the brown variety contains more arsenic than the white variety because arsenic builds up in the hard outer layer bran found in brown rice. White rice is produced by removing this layer and so, a portion of the arsenic is eliminated in white rice.
Nevertheless, nutritious fiber and vitamins are present in the bran; therefore, although brown rice generally contains more arsenic, it also offers more nutrition.