A team of Japanese scientists has found that germinating brown rice by soaking it for several hours before it is cooked - enhances its already high nutritional value.
The findings were presented last week at the 2000 International Chemical Congress of Pacific Basin Societies.
Germinated rice contains much more fibre than conventional brown rice, say the researchers, three times the amount of the essential amino acid lysine, and ten times the amount of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), another amino acid known to improve kidney function.
The researchers also found that brown rice sprouts - tiny buds less than a millimetre tall - contain a potent inhibitor of an enzyme called protylendopetidase, which is implicated in Alzheimer's disease.
They determined that germination activates enzymes that liberate additional nutrients.
"The birth of a sprout activates dormant enzymes in the brown rice all at once to supply the best nutrition to the growing sprout," explained Dr Hiroshi Kayahara, the lead investigator on the project, and a biochemist from Shinshu University in Nagano, Japan.
Rice, whether brown or white, is a major part of most Asian diets, often eaten with nearly every meal, however the Western diet tends to contain a lot less rice.
To make the rice sprout, the researchers soaked it in water at 32 degrees C for 22 hours. The outer bran layer softened and absorbed water easily, making the rice easier to cook. Cooked sprouted rice has a sweet flavor, the researchers report, because the liberated enzymes break down some of the Sugar and protein in the grain.
White rice will not germinate using this process, notes Kayahara.
Not part of the original article but additional information.
The first one on the list is one that Dr. Wright has recommended numerous times: fish oil. It contains high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, and research has shown that people battling Depression have low levels of a type of the fatty acid EPA. If you just can't stomach fish oil, you can also get omega-3s from walnuts and flaxseeds.
Next up is brown rice. It contains B vitamins like B1, B3, and folic acid, all of which help regulate mood. And according to the article I read, brown rice has a low ranking on the glycemic index, so it releases glucose into the bloodstream gradually (see the "What is..." section below for more information on the glycemic index). This helps prevent blood Sugar swings, and the mood swings that often accompany them. One caveat to keep in mind when it comes to brown rice, though, is that the instant varieties don't count. So if you want the depression-fighting benefits, you'll have to invest the time at the stove to cook it (or invest the money into a rice steamer that will do the work for you).
A diet high in whole grain foods is associated with a significantly lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease, including heart disease and stroke, according to an analysis conducted by researchers at Wake Forest University School of Medicine.
"Consuming an average of 2.5 servings of whole grains each day is associated with a 21 percent lower risk of cardiovascular disease compared to consuming only 0.2 servings," said Philip Mellen, M.D., lead author and an assistant professor of internal medicine. "These findings suggest that we should redouble our efforts to encourage patients to include more of these foods in their diets."
These results were published on line in Nutrition, Metabolism & Cardiovascular Diseases and will appear in a future print issue.
The findings are based on an analysis of seven studies involving more than 285,000 people. By combining the data from these seven studies, researchers were able to detect effects that may not have shown up in each individual study. The studies were conducted between 1966 and April 2006.
Mellen said the findings are consistent with earlier research, but that despite abundant evidence about the health benefits of whole grains, intake remains low. A nutrition survey conducted between 1999 and 2000 found that only 8 percent of U.S. adults consumed three or more servings of whole grain per day and that 42 percent of adults ate no whole grains on a given day.
"Many consumers and health professionals are unaware of the health benefits of whole grains," said Mellen.
A grain is "whole" when the entire grain seed is retained: the bran, germ and the endosperm. The bran and germ components are rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and healthy fats. These are the parts removed in the refining process, leaving behind the energy-dense but nutrient-poor endosperm portion of the grain. Examples of whole grain foods include wild rice, popcorn, oatmeal, brown rice, barley, wheat berries and flours such as whole wheat.
In addition to protecting against cardiovascular disease, which accounts for one-third of deaths worldwide, there is evidence that whole grains also project against diabetes and other chronic conditions.
"Years ago, scientists hypothesized that the higher rates of chronic diseases we have in the West, including heart disease, are due, in part, to a diet full of processed foods," Mellen said. "Subsequent studies have born that out - especially with whole grains. Greater whole grain intake is associated with less obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol - major factors that increase the risk for heart disease and stroke."
According to nutritionists, consumers should look for "100 percent whole grain" on food labels or look for specific types of whole-grain flour as the main ingredient, such as "whole wheat."
Experts at the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) offered praise for a recently published study which showed that whole grain fiber, and not fiber from other food sources, is associated with lower risk of colorectal cancer.
The AICR experts said the study is to be commended because, unlike many earlier investigations, its authors took care to analyze the role of dietary fiber from different food sources. By acknowledging that the fiber one gets from whole grains is different than the fiber one gets from "starchy" foods like white bread and processed cereal, the study represents an important step toward a more precise understanding of a long-standing scientific controversy.
Findings from the Study
The study in question, published this month in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found that consumption of whole grains was associated with lower risk for colorectal cancer. The same study found no significant link between consumption of fiber from other food sources and colorectal cancer risk.
Researchers at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) analyzed survey results from a large prospective cohort study called the NIH-AARP Study, which involves more than 291,000 men and 197,000 women aged 50 to 71.
The scientists analyzed the participant's intake of fiber from many different food sources, but only fiber from whole grains was associated with lower risk of colorectal cancer. In the study, those subjects who ate the most whole grains had a 20 percent lower risk of colorectal cancer than those who ate the least.
The observed protective effect of whole grain consumption was stronger for rectal cancer (35 percent lower risk).
The Fiber Controversy
AICR nutrition experts have been following the conflicting and often contradictory findings on fiber and colorectal cancer for years.
Much of the previous research simply measured the particpants' total fiber intake. But when so much of the American diet is made up of heavily processed grains (in pasta, cereals and breads), it is helpful to distinguish between different food sources of fiber.
Why? Because scientists are learning that there's something different about whole grain fiber.
The "Whole" Story
All grains, from the familiar (wheat, oats, rye, corn) to the less well-known (barley, bulgur, millet, quinoa) start out as kernels. The bran (the outermost layer of the kernel) is where most of the fiber is found. The germ (the kernel's center) is where most of the vitamins, minerals and fatty acids reside. In between lies the endosperm, which contains a few vitamins and minerals and most of the starch.
Because the refining process removes the bran and germ, the main component of white bread and other products made from refined grains or white flour is starch. The reason whole grain products are darker and chewier than refined grain products is because all three layers of the kernel are ground together to make whole grain flour.
This provides the kernel's full complement of protein, antioxidants, fatty acids and a host of phytochemicals. Most importantly, perhaps, the fiber content of whole grains can be as much as four times that of refined grains.
Why Seek Them Out?
The evidence connecting consumption of whole grains to reduced risk for cancer, cardiovascular disease, stroke and diabetes comes chiefly from population studies and laboratory work. Only recently have researchers begun to identify specific ways a diet high in whole grains promotes health.
In February 2006, for example, a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that a high whole-grain intake had an observable, across-the-board effect on a variety of physiological indicators (or markers) associated with both diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
The evidence for whole grains specifically lowering cancer risk is less strong, although a large 2003 European study with over half a million participants found that high consumption of fiber (from fruits, vegetables and whole grains) reduced risk for colon cancer by 25 percent.
Recently, a Cornell University researcher discovered that whole grains are packed with more antioxidants than was previously expected. These potent health-promoting substances bind directly to the two layers (the germ and the bran) that are discarded in the refining process.
FROM THE WESTON A.PRICE FOUNDATION WEB SITE
Animals that nourish themselves on primarily on grain and other plant matter have as many as four stomachs. Their intestines are longer, as is the entire digestion transit time. Man, on the other hand, has but one stomach and a much shorter intestine compared to herbivorous animals. These features of his anatomy allow him to pass animal products before they putrefy in the gut but make him less well adapted to a diet high in grainsóunless, of course, he prepares them properly. When grains are properly prepared through soaking, sprouting or sour leavening, the friendly bacteria of the microscopic world do some of our digesting for us in a container, just as these same lactobacilli do their work in the first and second stomachs of the herbivores.
If you are allergic to vitamin E made from soy,try it made from rice bran.
Wonder Laboratories http://www.wonderlabs.com
1-800-992-1672 Product #9591
In order to derive some benefit from soy, consuming only fermented soy products - such as organic miso (mugi barley and genmai miso are the best), organic tempeh, soy sauce or tamari and natto - is the way to do it. This is because the phytic acid, which is inherent in soy beans, has been neutralized in the process of fermentation. Consuming fermented soy is very beneficial in recolonizing the friendly bacteria in the large intestine, which neutralizes the 'unfriendly' bacteria and allows for greater general assimilation of foods and nutrients.
So, fermented soy is of benefit and unfermented soy is not. It is not only soy that needs to be fermented but whole-grains as well. In fact, grains (apart from millet, buckwheat and couscous) and legumes are best consumed after soaking them for 48-72 hours prior to cooking, which allows fermentation to take place. The soaking of grains and beans is also advocated in the principles of macrobiotics, which is very popular amongst vegetarians. Yet many vegetarian restaurants do not have time or forget to incorporate this very important process in their vegetarian cooking and thus people who regularly eat out at vegetarian restaurants might develop severe mineral deficiencies due to the large consumption of phytic acid in their diet.
About the author
Teya Skae M.A., B.A.,Dip Health Sciences, Dip Clinical Nutrition
Health/Life Coach and Educator
Teya is the founder of Empowered Living http://www.empowered-living.com.au
specialising in Metabolic Typing Nutrition and Results Fat Loss. Teya writes article for various publications and runs courses in health and human potential.
Whole grains may curb belly fat, inflammation
Date updated: February 20, 2008
Content provided by Reuters
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Cutting calories helps people lose weight, but doing so by filling up on whole grains may be particularly heart-healthy, new research suggests.
In a study of obese adults at risk of heart disease, researchers found that those who trimmed calories and increased their whole-grain intake shed more belly fat and lowered their blood levels of C- reactive protein or CRP.
CRP is a marker of chronic, low-level inflammation in the blood vessels, and both abdominal fat and CRP, in excess, are linked to heart attack and stroke.
In contrast, dieters in the study who mainly ate refined grains, like white bread, were able to lose weight, but they trimmed less fat from the middle and showed no change in CRP.
The findings offer yet more incentive for Americans to opt for whole grains over highly processed versions, according to the researchers.
"This is the first clinical study to prove that a diet rich in whole grains can lead to weight loss and reduce the risk of several chronic diseases," Dr. Penny Kris-Etherton, the senior researcher on the study, said in a statement.
She and her colleagues at Pennsylvania State University report the findings in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
In general, experts recommend eating whole grains -- such as oatmeal, BROWN RICE and BARLEY -- rather than refined grains, like white bread and other products made from white flour. Whole-grain foods retain more of the nutrients and fiber components of the grain.
This fact might explain why dieters in the current study showed added benefits when they ate whole grains, according to the researchers. For example, fiber-rich foods may have kept participants' blood Sugar levels more stable throughout the day, and this, in turn, may have lowered their CRP levels.
Alternatively, CRP might have dropped because of the antioxidant nutrients that are present in whole grains but depleted in refined ones.
The study included 50 obese men and women who had metabolic syndrome, a collection of several risk factors for diabetes, heart disease and stroke -- such as abdominal obesity, high blood pressure and high blood sugar.
All of the study participants cut calories for 12 weeks, but half were instructed to strive for whole grains, while the rest were told to choose refined grains. The whole-grain group was told to look for products with "whole grain" listed as the first ingredient on the label.
In the end, the average weight loss was about 8 to 11 pounds in both groups. However, the average CRP level dropped by 38 percent in the whole-grain group, while remaining unchanged in the refined-grain group. In addition, while both groups showed a similar change in waistline size, the whole-grain dieters showed a greater reduction in the percentage of fat around the middle.
The researchers recommend that consumers look at labels and be careful to choose products that are good sources of whole grain.
"There are a lot of foods around that claim they contain whole grain but are not really major sources of whole grain," Kris-Etherton said. She suggested looking for foods like oatmeal, breakfast cereals made from whole grains, whole-wheat pastas, granola and popcorn.
As a general rule, she said, consumers should buy grain products that are at least 51 percent whole grain. Products that put health claims about whole grains on their labels are required to contain at least that much whole grain.
SOURCE: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, January 2008
Brown rice finally getting its due
Brown rice will now join the ranks of other whole grains that can include health claims on their packaging.
Whole grains received the thumbs-up from the FDA back in 1997, but brown rice was excluded from the entitlement to state a health claim. Originally, the FDA thought the dietary fiber content of brown rice was too low for it to be able to claim a health benefit.
Wouldn't it be nice if the FDA was as careful about allowing pharmaceutical companies to make claims about their drugs' "health benefits"?
Now, brown riceóand other single-ingredient whole grainsówill be able to claim that they can help reduce heart disease risk and certain cancers. The idea is that you have to include these whole grains regularly in order to receive the potential benefitóit's not just one bowl of brown rice and then back to the white stuff. Intact, unprocessed whole grains come with a total package of health-partnering phytonutrients (phyto=plant).
A consumer survey showed that about two-thirds of Americans don't eat anywhere close to the minimum of three whole-grain servings per day recommended by dietary guidelines.
For you, it's a matter of making a simple, healthful switch. The next time you're in the grocery store, pick up a bag of brown rice in place of the white, and reap the health benefits.
Until next time,
Dr. Alan Inglis
Brown Rice Can Benefit Diabetics
A compound in brown rice can reduce diabetes-related damage in nerves and blood vessels, says a U.S. study.
The growth factor acylated steryl glucosides (ASG) ó which is released when brown rice is soaked in water overnight before cooking ó helps normalize blood sugar and enzymes that are awry in people with diabetes, United Press International reported.
The study appears in the Journal of Lipid Research.
Unlike white rice, brown rice still has some of the growth factor, which resumes activity after about 24 hours in water, said Dr. Robert K. Yu of the Medical College of Georgia, UPI reported.
"You have to let it grow, germinate a little bit. Some of the active ingredients generated as a result of the germination process are beneficial to you," he said in a news release.
FROM A AUG 5 2008 REPORT
Dr. Weil suggests 3-5 servings per day of whole grains that are part of his anti-inflammatory diet such as wild, brown and basmati rice, groats, barley and quinoa.
A team of researchers has identified the active compounds that contribute to the health benefits of pre-germinated brown rice; the healthy components are a related set of sterol-like molecules known as acylated steryl-beta-glucosides (ASGs).
Pre-germinated rice (PR) is an emerging health food whereby brown rice is soaked in warm water prior to cooking; the warm bath induces germination, or sprouting, which stimulates rice enzymes to produce more nutrients. One such nutrient is the important brain chemical GABA (PR is thus often referred to as "GABA rice"), and animal studies have shown that a PR-rich diet can improve cognitive function. Other studies have found that PR can also act as an anti-diabetic.
The chemicals behind this effect were unknown, but now Robert Yu and colleagues used mass spectrometry and nuclear magnetic resonance approaches and identified the bioactive compounds as ASGs, a diverse family of molecules that consists of a glucose derivative, fatty acids, and sterols. The ASGs were concentrated in the rice bran (outer layer) and not the seed, so they would not be found in white rice.
The researchers then demonstrated that the ASGs had the ability to activate enzymes related to diabetes, and this activation required the acyl chemical group; regular steryl glucosides (SGs) had no effect. And, although ASGs are found in many plants, soybean derived ASGs had no effect on the diabetic enzymes, indicating the ASG complement specific to rice may be unique in its diabetic benefits.
Anti-inflammatory effects of phytosteryl ferulates in colitis induced
by dextran sulphate sodium in mice. Jun 2008
M S Islam,T Murata,M Fujisawa,R Nagasaka,H Ushio,A M Bari,M Hori,H
Background and purpose:
We have recently reported that phytosteryl ferulates isolated from
rice bran inhibit nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-kappaB) activity in
In the present study, we investigated the effect of gamma-oryzanol
(gamma-ORZ), a mixture of phytosteryl ferulates, cycloartenyl ferulate
(CAF), one of the components of gamma-ORZ, and ferulic acid (FA), a
possible metabolite of gamma-ORZ in vivo, on a model of colitis in
We induced colitis with dextran sulphate sodium (DSS) in mice and
monitored disease activity index (DAI), histopathology score, tissue
myeloperoxidase (MPO) activity, mRNA expressions of cytokines and
COX-2, colon length, antioxidant potency and NF-kappaB activity in
Both DAI and histopathology score revealed that DSS induced a severe
mucosal colitis, with a marked increase in the thickness of the muscle
layer, distortion and loss of crypts, depletion of goblet cells and
infiltration of macrophages, granulocytes and lymphocytes. MPO
activity, pro-inflammatory cytokines and COX-2 levels, NF-kappaB p65
nuclear translocation and inhibitory protein of nuclear factor-kappaB-
alpha degradation levels were significantly increased in DSS-induced
colitis tissues. gamma-ORZ (50 mg kg(-1) day(-1) p.o.) markedly
inhibited these inflammatory reactions and CAF had a similar potency.
In vitro assay demonstrated that gamma-ORZ and CAF had strong
antioxidant effects comparable to those of ALPHA-TOCOPHEROL Conclusions and implications:
Phytosteryl ferulates could be new potential therapeutic and/or
preventive agents for gastrointestinal inflammatory diseases.
Their anti-inflammatory effect could be mediated by inhibition of NF-
kappaB activity, which was at least partly due to the antioxidant
effect of the FA moiety in the structure of phytosteryl ferulates.
British Journal of Pharmacology (2008) 154, 812-824; doi:10.1038/bjp.
2008.137; published online 21 April 2008.