Written by the Web Team


Is rice just a source of carbohydrates? Think again.

A food scientist based in the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) said that rice has more to give than carbohydrates with the consumption of unpolished or brown rice and colored or pigmented rice.

Dr. Marissa V. Romero, who recently presented the health benefits of rice in a scientific forum for the media, said that rice also contains protein, fat, and fiber. Micronutrients such as thiamine, riboflavin, iron, and zinc can also be derived from the Filipino’s staple food.

Romero, program leader of PhilRice’s Natural Products and Value-Adding Systems, said brown rice and colored rice are more nutritious than white rice as these types of rice have more macro- and micro-nutrients as well as antioxidants.

However, she stressed that polishing or removing the rice bran removes significant percentage of the nutrients found in rice as most of them are concentrated in the said part of the grain.

“Polishing rice removes 15 percent of protein; 85, fat; 80, thiamine; 70, riboflavin; and 68, niacin. This process also removes 90 percent of calcium; 75, phosphorus; and 60, other minerals,” the 2010 Outstanding Women in the Nation’s Service awardee for Science and Technology said.

As a rich source of various nutrients, Romero said brown rice or the locally known pinawa, could help prevent cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and diabetes as shown by some clinical studies.

Romero further said that health claims on cancer prevention and improved brain metabolism are also associated with eating sprouted or germinated brown rice.

Meanwhile, pigmented rice such as Ballatinao, Dinorado, Calatrava, and La Castellana are also said to be rich in phytonutrients or the chemicals in plants beneficial to the body. Benefits of phytonutrients include doses of antioxidants, immune system boost, and cellular repair.

“We consume 35 percent of rice in our daily food intake. As such, we should be aware of the quality of rice that we eat as this awareness will lead us to healthier lifestyle and better health,” Romero, who leads PhilRice researches on antioxidant-rich pigmented rice and rice bran oil, said.

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Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) is a government corporate entity attached to the Department of Agriculture created through Executive Order 1061 on 5 November 1985 (as amended) to help develop high-yielding and cost-reducing technologies so farmers can produce enough rice for all Filipinos.

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Philippine Rice Research Institute