Kanin is life! (Rice is life!) No ulam is enticing and satisfying enough when it is served without rice.

White rice makes every ulam extra special. But the milling and polishing processes it undergoes lower its nutritional value due to the removal of rice bran and rice germ.

This now calls for consumers to consider eating the healthier and more colorful alternatives to white rice.

As we put a close to this year’s Nutrition Month Celebration, let’s find out how we can healthily boost our families’ meals by trying out these colorful rice alternatives.

  • Brown Rice

Brown, chewy, and healthy!

Brown rice or pinawa is known to have more dietary fibers and polyphenols. Dietary fiber improves digestion and helps prevent constipation. Polyphenols, on the other hand, can help in weight management, and in preventing diseases like diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.  

Only the rice husk is removed to produce brown rice, making it an unpolished rice. The bran layer, which is usually removed during milling, is not detached from the grain; resulting in the rice’s brown color. Brown rice is a healthier alternative to polished and well-milled rice because its bran is also rich in protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

Dinorado rice from Arakan Valley, North Cotabato in three forms.
  • Red Rice

PhilRice studies have confirmed that unpolished pigmented rice is superior to white rice, and even brown rice, in terms of health benefits!

Aside from the health benefits that consumers get from brown rice, red rice like dinorado has phytochemicals in its bran. These phytochemicals have high antioxidant activity. Unpolished pigmented rice is packed with antioxidants that strengthen our bodies against chronic lifestyle diseases like cancer and heart diseases.  In some countries, red rice was traditionally consumed as medicine to support better kidney function, blood flow, and diabetes prevention.

  • Black Rice

Famously known as the “Forbidden Rice” or the “Emperor’s Rice”, black rice was exclusive for rich and emperors in China during the ancient times.  People believed that those who consume black rice have longer life.  But now, anyone, regardless of age, gender, or status can eat and enjoy the goodness of black rice for only P75 a kilo.

Like red rice, black rice also has antioxidants that can fight free radicals, which usually destroy body cells  and cause health complications such as poor eyesight, diabetes, atherosclerosis (blood flow restriction due to fat build up), and cancer.

Black rice also has anthocyanins. These anthocyanins give colors red, violet, and blue to food such as grapes, tomatoes, blueberries, and black rice. The sugars from red and black rice are more easily absorbed and used by our bodies compared to sugars from white rice; thus, lowering the risk of diabetes.

Rice will always be a constant part of every Filipinos’ life.  But with more options, everyone can choose and add diversity to the plate, nutrients to the bodythrough brown, red, and black rice.

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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