Have you tried eating brown rice on a regular basis?
Having three full meals a day has become a luxury for most Filipino families, with white rice being a vital part of every Filipino’s diet. However, relying on white rice alone exposes them to hidden hunger – the state of filling their stomach with food but not getting the proper nutrition that they deserve.
This need not be the situation, and we can do something to change it.
A simple lifestyle switch has a greater impact than you can imagine. Being conscious of what we eat helps not only ourselves but also our fellow Filipinos and the country. By simply making the switch to what is usually thought of as the “dirty rice”, we are actually making a big difference. Dubbed as the Good Food, brown rice is not only beneficial to one’s health but also the environment. The local small-scale farmers who are at the forefront of the movement supporting brown rice also benefit from the choice that we make, hopefully encouraging more farmers to take part as well. This is a crucial step for our country to achieve rice self-sufficiency.
Brown rice is not a rice variety. Red rice or the traditional black rice can be sold as “brown rice” for as long as they are unpolished and the bran is still intact.
White rice undergoes two or more major mechanical post-harvest milling processes which technically is scaling off the bran layer and the germ where most of the nutrients reside. To produce white polished rice, substantial nutrients are lost such as vitamin B1, vitamin B3, vitamin B6, phosporus, Iron and all the dietary fiber and essential fatty acids.
Brown rice is definitely the healthier kind of rice. With its bran still intact, brown rice retains most of its nutritional content, providing almost all the necessary nutrients a body needs. A cup of brown rice has 3.5 grams more fiber than a cup of white rice. The bran and germ on the surface of brown rice are rich in B vitamins that helps prevent beri-beri. It also has laxative properties that aids digestion and prevents gastro-intestinal diseases. It contains phytic acid, an anti-oxidant, as well as anti-cancer properties. Because of its lower Glycemic Index (GI), a cup of brown rice also reduces risks of Type 2 diabetes by 60%. The naturally occurring oils of Brown Rice also help lower level of bad cholesterol known as LDL cholesterol by 17% since it contains a considerable amount of unsaturated fatty acids. Likewise, it also inhibits an endocrine protein called Angiotensin, a common culprit in blood pressure increase and leads to certain cardiovascular diseases.
Brown rice is not just for individuals on a diet or those who have problems with their digestive system. The high protein (lysine) content in brown rice is also good for children’s growth. Mothers who breastfeed can also get their dose of vitamin B (thiamine) from brown rice, which is important for milk production. With the bulk of Pinoy daily diet depending on rice, the consumption of brown rice can help prevent obesity and ensure that every member of the family is provided with more nutrients.
Why brown rice is good for the environment and the community
“With the increasing number of people hitting the poverty line and getting hungry everyday, consuming brown rice is ideal because it gives you enough nutrients that you need,” says brown rice advocate and Dakila vice president Noel Cabangon.
The shortened milling process of brown rice lessens energy consumption. According to estimates, about 50-60 percent of fuel is saved in the production of brown rice. It also lessens waste. In fact, the milling recovery of brown rice is known to be 10 percent higher than white rice.
Land and water systems will also be spared from harmful effects because the production of brown rice uses organic farming methods which help minimize the use of pesticides and insecticides.
By eating brown rice, we are helping our farmers produce healthier and safer food by reducing the need for farmers to produce more rice for the market. This will provide them opportunities to adopt more sustainable farm practices such as farm diversification and reduction of pesticides, and further gives long-term health benefits to rice farmers and their families.
Going brown is tantamount to reducing rice waste, thereby bringing down the country’s overall rice consumption. With less waste during milling and with the country buying from its own farmers, the need for importing rice can be reduced. This spurs local rice production, increases the country’s agricultural capacity and shields the country from global food crises and price shocks.
Under Oxfam’s GROW campaign and in partnership with Dakila, the Brown Rice Campaign aims to bring brown rice back to the regular diet of Filipinos. This aims to popularize Brown Rice to the level that restaurants and establishments will offer dishes using brown rice as an alternative for consumers. Together with its celebrity advocates, the campaign has traveled around the country to encourage people to make the positive shift and consume brown rice.
Advocates of Brown Rice Campaign (to name a few) and their recipes:
To learn more about Brown Rice, visit: