Written by the Web Team
The Department of Agriculture-Philippine Rice Research Institute in celebration of the National Year of Rice has set Nov. 15 to be the first Brown Rice Day in the country to promote better health to Filipinos.
NYR campaign director Hazel V. Antonio said that the Brown Rice Day aims to encourage the food service industry to serve unpolished rice to increase public awareness on its characteristics and health benefits.
“Other countries eat brown rice but this, we believe, is the first initiative in the world to encourage all food service providers in a country to serve this nutritious rice on the same day,” Antonio said.
Studies show that eating brown rice or unpolished rice may reduce the incidence of cardiovascular diseases such as hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, heart disease, and stroke. Cancer and diabetes may also be diminished by eating brown rice.
Polishing brown rice to obtain white rice removes 15 percent of protein; 85 percent, fat; 80 percent, thiamine; 70 percent, riboflavin; 68 percent, niacin; 90 percent calcium; 75 percent, phosphorous; and 60 percent of other minerals.
“We want Filipinos to get these nutrients, which is lost when rice is fully polished. Thus, we encourage the food industry to serve unpolished rice to the public on this unique day so that Filipinos could also experience the nutty flavor and chewiness of brown rice,” she said.
Eating brown rice could also help in achieving the country’s goal of rice self-sufficiency as it has 10 percent higher milling recovery. A study showed that if each Filipino would eat brown rice 36 meals a year, our rice importation would shrink by an average of 50,000mt a year.
The Brown Rice Day will highlight exhibits on cheap brown rice at the Lucky China Town in Binondo, feeding program of Jollibee foundation, and brown rice-based food products such as espasol, bibingkang kanin, and palitao.
“Our goal at the Department of Agriculture is to provide Filipinos with affordable brown rice so that more people could enjoy its health benefits. We are hopeful that with this initiative, the demand for brown rice will increase; thus, resulting in lower prices,” Antonio said.
The Brown Rice Day is also supported by the Department of Interior and Local Government, members of the Hotel and Restaurants Association of the Philippines, and concessioners of Megaworld Lifestyle Malls, and Robinsons Dumaguete.
For price support or for a source of affordable brown rice, malls, restaurants, or fastfood chains can contact the National Year of Rice secretariat at (044) 456-5390.