Eaten in all parts of the world, rice- known for its versatility, has been enjoyed by humans for thousands of years. A source of carbohydrates- that is, organic compounds that provide energy to the body, it makes a delicious accompaniment to a variety of different meals. Like most foods, however, there is a variety to choose from. For instance, there’s short-grained rice and long-grained rice; in terms of color, there’s also white rice, red white, and brown rice. Despite the fact that they all fall under the “rice” category, however, it’s important to note that different varieties have different nutrition contents.
More About White Rice
White rice is perhaps one of the more common varieties of rice. Often eaten in Asian countries, its white appearance comes from the fact that it has had its germ, bran, and husk removed during the milling process. Not only does this alter the texture and flavor, but the removal of the hulls also serves to extend its storage life.
While preventing spoilage may be useful, however, it’s no secret that the milling process removes essential nutrients from the rice itself. In fact, due to its lack of nutrition (mainly iron, B1, and B3), white rice is required to be enriched with vitamins by law in the U.S. Here’s some history trivia for you- did you know that the Japanese Navy fell ill with BeriBeri- a deficiency of Vitamin B1, after eating nothing but white rice out in the sea in the late 1800’s? Due to its relative lack of nutrition, many refer to white rice as “empty calories.”
The More Healthy Option: Brown Rice
Unlike white rice- a refined grain that has gone through the milling process, brown rice is a whole grain. What this means is that it retains all part of the grain, including the nutritious germ, and fibrous bran. As such, it is regarded as a much, healthier option than its white counterpart.
Not only does its appearance differ, but its nutrient content is also vastly different. For instance, brown rice contains a lot more important vitamins and minerals- not to mention antioxidants, as well as fiber.
Let’s take a closer look at the difference in fiber- for every 100 grams of cooked brown rice, there are approximately 1.8 grams of fiber. In contrast to this, 100 grams of white rice only contains 0.4 grams of fiber.
Why Do We Need Fiber?
Found in foods such as whole grains or fruits, fiber has many health benefits; not only does it aid in digestive health, but there’s also evidence to prove that it helps to lower the risk of heart disease. Because of this, it’s highly recommended for individuals to consume finer-rich foods as part of their everyday diet.
Vitamins and Minerals Present in Brown Rice
Aside from fiber, brown rice is also rich in many different nutrients such as:
A necessary mineral nutrient, selenium plays an important role in the production of thyroid hormone. Not only that, but it is also involved in immune function and antioxidant protein. In some studies, it is also found to protect cells from cancer, when vitamin E is present.
Unlike white rice, brown rice is a rich source of magnesium. For example, you can get around 11% of your daily recommended amount from 1/2 cup of cooked brown rice (though the exact intake depends on other factors such as age and sex).
Just like selenium, magnesium is a major player in many functions such as muscle contraction, bone development, blood coagulation and cellular production.
Brown rice is also known for its high manganese content. For example, you can easily get ~88% of your daily recommended intake from one cup of cooked brown rice. Another essential mineral, it is important in both antioxidant function and energy production.
Anti-Nutrients in Brown Rice
With all that said, brown rice is known to contain a few anti-nutrients- that is, things that reduce your body’s ability to absorb “good nutrients.” For instance, there’s phytate, something that hinders the absorption of zinc and iron.
Furthermore, there’s the issue of arsenic in brown rice. While both white and brown rice contains arsenic, consumer reports have found a greater amount in the latter. Don’t worry though- the amounts are still minimal. In fact, the FDA states that is perfectly fine to eat reasonable amounts of any rice, as long as it’s part of a well-balanced diet.
White and Brown Rice: Different Glycemic Indexes
Some foods can cause your blood sugar to increase at an extraordinary rate- this is mainly due to the fact that it’s rapidly absorbed and metabolized. In order to measure the effect of certain foods on blood-sugar levels, we use the Glycemic Index system. The higher a number from 1-100, the quicker the food raises your blood glucose level.
Unsurprisingly, white rice falls into the “high glycemic index” category. Quickly absorbed into the bloodstream after being consumed, it has a GI of 72.
While brown rice also has a “high GI score”, it is substantially lower than white rice. Slightly slower to affect your blood sugar levels, it has a GI of 50. This makes it a more suitable choice for those with conditions such as diabetes.
How do you Make Brown Rice?
How do you go about cooking brown rice? Fundamentally, the process is the same compared to making white rice. The only difference is that it typically requires a longer cooking time due to its outer bran coating. Obviously, you can use a dedicated rice cooker for the job; on this page, however, we will be discussing how to make it in an Instant Pot.
Below, we’ll be outlining the steps on how to make brown rice in an Instant Pot- follow along if you’d like!
Instructions: How to Make Brown Rice in an Instant Pot
1.) Measure the amount of dry brown rice needed, rinse with water to remove debris
Note: Unfortunately, the “rice” function on the Instant Pot is programmed for white rice only. In order to properly cook brown rice, you’ll want to instead use the “Pressure Cook” function
2.) Add the same amount of water into the Instant Pot (We will be using a 1:1 rice to water ratio). Next, add the rinsed rice to the pot.
3.) Using the Manual Cook button, pressure cook the brown rice for 15 minutes.
Tip: Depending on how firm you like your brown rice, you can choose to add more to the cooking time.
4.) Once the cooking is complete, turn the venting knob to the venting position to allow for a quick release. Afterward, carefully open the lid.
5.) Serve and enjoy!
How to Make Brown Rice in an Instant Pot: FAQ’s
Why is my brown rice crunchy?
If your brown rice is crunchy after being cooked, you probably want to add more water into the pot. You may also want to double check whether or not the lid was complete sealed (improper sealing can lead to undercooking).
Of course, not all brown rice is the same. To get the perfect results, some experimentation with the ratio and cooking time may be necessary in some cases.
Why is my brown rice so hard?
Similar to above, the brown rice may be undercooked. With that said, it’s important to note that it does have a different texture compared to white rice (generally, it’s not as “soft” and “fluffy”).
Why is my brown rice mushy?
If your brown rice is mushy, chances are, it was cooked with too much water. Remember, we generally want to aim for a 1:1 rice to water ratio (though this can differ depending on your preferences).