Nutritional Information for Rice

Brown rice is a whole grain with many heath benefits. When brown rice is stripped of its outer core, the hull and bran that keeps the rice grain intact, all that’s left is the starchy middle, called the endosperm. This kind of starch doesn’t have as many nutrients. It lacks B vitamins, minerals, fiber, and probably thousands of the phytochemicals compared to whole grain brown rice.

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Benefits of Rice

Cancer Prevention Benefits

In general, whole grains have the ability to reduce overall cancer risk. Researchers are not sure if it’s due to the fiber or the phytochemicals found in whole grains, or both. There is convincing evidence that whole grains have been known to reduce colorectal cancer risk. This basically means that the studies are so strong in favor of whole grains there’s little doubt, if any, that eating more of them are cancer protective. However, one study comparing rice consumption (brown and white) and total cancer risk has found no association. At least there was no connection, so even though this study did not find rice to lower cancer risk, in no way does eating rice increase cancer risk. Many people forget that grains have antioxidant properties. Brown rice is no joke. What’s even better? Purple, black, and red rice. These exotic rices are not needed in the diet, but the color of the rice depicts the naturally occurring cancer-fighting antioxidants and they tend (especially red rice) to be higher in antioxidants. One study found purple rice helped cut-off the spread of cancer cells. White rice consumption on the other hand could increase cancer risk by increasing insulin and blood sugar. Eating beans with white rice may negate the harmful effects of a blood sugar spike.


Did you know? Having diabetes may double the risk of pancreatic, liver and endometrial cancer, and may significantly boost the risk of bladder, breast and colorectal cancer. Avoiding diabetes = protecting against cancer.

Men's Health Benefits

Some research has shown that whole grains have a natural blood pressure-lowering effect and may work just as well as drugs. Brown rice is packed with fiber, which can help reduce cholesterol. Adding vegetables like onions and garlic to rice dishes helps boost the absorbability of iron and zinc. Foods work in combination with each other. For example, adding vitamin C-rich foods (oranges) to iron containing foods (pumpkin seeds) helps the body absorb more of the iron. The anthocyanin compounds in purple rice may help protect against eye disease, age-related macular degeneration. Sometimes exotic rices are not available and that’s okay, no one needs to eat only purple rice. In fact, just swapping white rice for brown rice may help reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.

Ways to Use Rice

  • Use on tacos or in burritos bowls.
  • Pair with beans or baked tofu and vegetable stir fry or roasted veggies.
  • Use in homemade veggie burgers.
  • Toss into salads for extra crunch.
  • Use in soups or stews.
  • For any recipe that calls for white rice, swap in brown.
Resources for Rice

American Institute for Cancer Research:

“Foods that Fight Cancer” from AICR: Whole Grains

Nutrition Facts:

Physicians Committee:

USDA Nutrient Database: Brown Rice

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  2. Miller P, Snyder D. Phytochemicals and cancer risk: a review of the epidemiological evidence. Nutr Clin Pract. 2012t;27(5):599-612.
  3. Chen PN,, Kuo WH, Chiang CL, Chiou HL, Hsieh YS, Chu SC. Black rice anthocyanins inhibit cancer cells invasion via repressions of MMPs and u-PA expression. Chem Biol Interact. 2006;163(3):218-29.
  4. Choi SP, Kang MY, Koh HJ, Nam SH, Friedman M. Antiallergic activities of pigmented rice bran extracts in cell assays. J Food Sci. 2007;72(9):S719-26.
  5. Liu Y, Song X, Zhang D, et al. Blueberry anthocyanins: protection against ageing and light-induced damage in retinal pigment epithelial cells. Br J Nutr. 2012;108(1):16-27.
  6. Jenkins D, Wolves T, Taylor H, et al. Exceptionally low blood glucose response to dried beans: comparison with other carbohydrate foods. Br Med J. 1980;281(6240):570-80.
  7. Pan M, Lai CS, Dushenkov S, Ho C. Modulation of inflammatory genes by natural dietary bioactive compounds. J Agric Food Chem. 2009;57(11):4467-77.
  8. Mattei J, Hu F, Campos H. A higher ratio of beans to white rice is associated with lower cardiometabolic risk factors in Costa Rican adults. Am J Clin Nutr. 2011;94(3):869-76.
  9. Zhang R, Zhang X, Wu K, et al. Rice consumption and cancer incidence in US men and women. Int J Cancer. 2016;138(3):555-64.
  10. Sun Q, Spiegelman D, van Dam R, et al. White Rice, Brown Rice, and Risk of Type 2 Diabetes in US Men and Women Arch Intern Med. 2010;170(11):961–69.

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