Wondering what the fuss over organic brown rice is all about? You are not alone. Although there is no definitive evidence that organic food is more nutritious than conventionally-grown foods, organic foods are safer to consume because they contain lower levels of harmful pesticides and chemicals. That is just one of the reasons that organic brown rice is a fabulous choice for a healthy diet.
Organic vs. Conventional Foods
Organic foods, such as organic brown rice, are grown using different techniques than conventional farming. For example, conventional farming uses chemical fertilizers to boost plant growth. Organic farming only uses natural fertilizers, such as compost or manure. While conventional farming typically uses synthetic insecticides and herbicides to kill pests, weeds and disease, organic products are grown using only natural pesticides or plant-killing compounds. The chemicals in conventionally-grown foods can leave a residue on produce. According to the USDA, organic produce has significantly less reside than conventional produce. Organic foods are also made without food additives, including preservatives, monosodium glutamate, artificial sweeteners, colorings and flavorings.
Conventionally Grown Brown Rice
Brown rice grown using the conventional farming method described above may contain five known or probably carcinogens, including carbaryl, DDD, malathion and piperonyl butoxide. When conventionally grown, brown rice may also include three known neurotoxins, four developmental or reproductive toxins and eight suspected hormone disruptors. Exposure to these pesticides has been linked to birth defects, childhood brain cancer, autism, breast cancer, gestational diabetes, Parkinson's disease and other serious health conditions. These harmful chemicals may still be present in organic brown rice because pesticides travel through air, water and dust, but the levels of pesticides in organic products is far less than that in conventional products.
Brown Rice vs. White Rice
White rice is really just brown rice that has been refined. During the refining process, white rice loses its side hull and bran, making it faster to cook and digest. However, the parts that are lost during the refining process are the very components that contain the most nutrients. The side hulls and brans of brown rice are rich in calcium, fiber, proteins, potassium, magnesium and thiamine. White rice loses these nutrients during the refining process and is therefore a less nutritious choice than brown rice.
Brown Rice Benefits
Brown rice is a significant source of selenium, a nutrient that decreases the risk of developing arthritis, heart disease and cancer. Just one cup of brown rice provides 80 percent of the daily recommended amount of manganese, a nutrient necessary for synthesizing fats and supporting the health of the reproductive and nervous systems. The whole grain is also rich in fiber, antioxidants and natural oils. These nutrients reduce hunger, protect the body against free radicals and are necessary for normalizing cholesterol levels.
Poppy Carpenter graduated from the University of Missouri School of Journalism. In addition to teaching journalism to junior high students, she also covers health and fitness for "PUSH Monthly" and Angie's List.