Why Parboiled Rice:
Parboiled rice might sound like it's precooked, but it's not. Instead, it's processed quite differently from other types of rice. The resulting grain is cooked and served just as you would white or brown rice. However, because of the special processing, parboiled rice is a better source of fiber, calcium, potassium and vitamin B-6 than regular white rice. Basics After rice is harvested, its inedible hull is removed to produce brown rice. If rice is put through a second step of processing to remove the bran, it becomes white rice. Unlike brown and white rice, the process for parboiled rice begins before the hull is removed. The complete grain of rice is soaked, steamed and dried, then the hull is removed to make parboiled rice. The steaming enables the rice to absorb nutrients and changes the starch so that it cooks into a firmer, less sticky dish of rice than regular white rice. The steaming does not precook the rice, so it still takes about 20 minutes to prepare. Carbohydrates One cup of cooked parboiled rice provides 41 grams of total carbohydrates, or about one-third of the recommended daily intake of 130 grams. The same portion has 1.4 grams of fiber, which supplies 4 percent of men’s and 6 percent of women’s daily fiber. Parboiled rice has double the fiber than you'd get from cooked white rice. It has a low glycemic score of 38, compared with a high 89 for white rice, notes Harvard Health Publications. A low glycemic score indicates that the carbohydrates in parboiled rice do not cause a large spike in blood sugar. B Vitamins Parboiled rice is especially rich in niacin, providing 4 milligrams, or 23 percent of the recommended daily intake in 1 cup of cooked rice. You’ll also get 19 percent of the daily intake of vitamin B-6. These values are about double the amount you would get from non-enriched white rice. Your body needs B vitamins to metabolize food into energy, but they also fill other roles, such as helping make hormones and neurotransmitters. Vitamin B-6 removes the amino acid homocysteine from your bloodstream by turning it into other substances. This might help keep your heart healthy; high levels of homocysteine are associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Minerals One cup of cooked parboiled rice supplies 2 to 3 percent of the recommended daily intake of calcium, iron, magnesium and potassium. You'll get a slightly bigger boost of zinc, with 1 cup containing 0.58 milligrams of zinc. That amount represents 5 percent of men’s and 7 percent of women’s daily needs. Zinc performs vital roles throughout your body, from forming the
structure of proteins to regulating DNA. If you don’t get enough zinc, your immune system becomes impaired; it needs zinc to produce the cells that fight bacteria and infections.
References (9) About the Author
Sandi Busch received a Bachelor of Arts in psychology, then pursued training in nursing and nutrition. She taught families to plan and prepare special diets, worked as a therapeutic support specialist, and now writes about her favorite topics – nutrition, food, families and parenting – for hospitals and trade magazines.
Healthy Facts About Whole-Wheat Flour Vs. White
by Louise Tremblay
Choose flour made from whole-wheat grains over white flour as a healthier option.
grain and flour image by Madera from Fotolia.com
Eating foods made from flour -- wheat grains crushed into a fine powder -- contributes to your grain intake for the day, helping you reach the six 1/2-cup servings of grains recommended daily by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. However, not all flours are created equal: White flour is made from heavily refined and processed wheat grains, while whole-wheat flour is made from grains that have not undergone heavy processing. Whole-wheat and white flours differ in their nutritional value.
One of the primary nutritional differences between whole-wheat and white flour is the food’s fiber content. Dietary fiber has a number of health benefits -- it prevents constipation, lowers blood cholesterol and might help you lose weight, according to Colorado State University. The refining process associated with making white flour separates the fiber-rich brain from the rest of the grain, so white flour typically contains less fiber than its whole-grain counterpart. For example, 1/2 cup of white flour contains 1.3 grams of fiber, while an equal serving
of whole-wheat flour contains 6.4 grams. As a result, selecting foods that contain wheat flour helps you reach your dietary fiber intake goal -- 28 grams daily if you follow a 2,000-calorie diet, according to Colorado State University.
Effect on Blood Sugar
Any carbohydrate-containing food -- including those containing either whole-wheat and white flour -- has some effect on your blood sugar. After you eat a meal, your body breaks the carbohydrates from your food into glucose, a simple sugar. This glucose then enters your bloodstream, so it can circulate throughout your body and provide fuel to your cells. The glycemic index, or GI, of a food serves as a measure of how quickly this process occurs. High-GI foods lead to rapid blood sugar spikes and subsequent crashes that leave you hungry and irritable shortly after eating. Low-GI foods absorb more slowly to prevent blood sugar spikes and crashes, so you’re satisfied for longer after your meal. Bread made with 100 percent whole-wheat flour has a GI of 51, according to Harvard Medical School, while bread made with white wheat flour has a GI of 71. If you seek to regulate your blood sugar after a meal, choose foods made with whole-wheat flour.
Whole-wheat flour provides a nutritional advantage over some white flours due to its vitamin content. Whole-wheat flour contains several vitamins, including folate, riboflavin and vitamins B-1, B-3 and B-5. Some types of white flour contain lower levels of these vitamins, since the processing involved in making white flour destroys the grains’ vitamin content -- for example, 1/2 cup of whole-wheat flour contains 3 milligrams of niacin, while an equivalent portion of white flour contains only 0.8 milligrams. To combat this, some food manufacturers enrich their white flour with vitamins to replace the nutrients lost during processing. As a result, whole-grain flour often contains higher levels of vitamins than unenriched white flour but roughly compares to vitamin-enriched white flour. Check the nutrition label to determine if a bag of white flour has added vitamins, and compare different brands of flour to maximize your vitamin intake.
Eat More Whole-Wheat Flour
Making a few easy substitutions in your diet helps you reap the nutritional benefit of whole-wheat flour without sacrificing the foods you love. When you bake at home, try using a mix of whole-wheat and white flours for cookies, muffins and cakes, and opt for 100-percent whole-wheat flour to make homemade bread. At the grocery store, check your bread labels to select loaves made with 100 percent whole wheat -- this bread is made using whole-wheat flour, whereas those labeled simply "whole-wheat" might contain a mix of whole wheat and white flours. In the pasta isle, skip the white pasta and opt for noodles made from a mix of white and whole-wheat flour. Pasta made with 100-percent whole wheat feels gummy after cooking thanks to the pasta's fiber content, so choosing pasta made using some whole-wheat flour boosts the nutritional content of your meal without sacrificing texture.