Brown rice is a staple grain used to make many different foods and recipes, and common in most cultures. But is brown rice gluten free?

Brown rice is a good source of fiber, magnesium, and many other nutrients, which can help in reducing the risk of heart diseases and diabetes.

Check out some Vegan Brown Rice Recipes!

There are a lot of people who love the texture and flavor of brown rice and embrace this grain for its high nutritional value over white rice.

But, people on a gluten-free diet always want to know if brown rice is gluten-free or not? Before getting into that question, it’s essential to know about brown rice first.

Also see the Benefits of Black Rice.

What is brown rice?

Rice has been a part of the staple diet of humans for thousands of years. Some rice farming tools from China are from 8,000 years back, and some remains of the rice are even 2,000 years older than that.

And today, rice is grown in more than 40,000 varieties and eaten in more than 100 cultures. Most of those 40,000 varieties of rice are sold as brown rice. Brown rice means whole grain rice.

These rice are the most nutritious because the processing of the grain reduces its nutrition. Like the hull, germs and bran are removed from it.

In brown rice, only a hard protecting covering is removed. Processing doesn’t affect the nutritious bran and germ. As a result, brown rice has the nutrition that white rice lacks.          

Brown rice is a rich source of minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants. But people following a low-carb diet avoid brown rice.

Dry organic brown rice in a bowl on a wooden cutting board

Is brown rice gluten free?

Yes, brown rice is naturally gluten-free. All types of rice, from white rice to brown rice to red rice, are gluten-free.

Some people suffer from diseases related to gluten protein, so they have to avoid food that contains gluten and follow a gluten-free diet for their life.

Moreover, a gluten-free diet can provide some health benefits as well. That’s why most people are looking for gluten-free foods these days, because replacing gluten-containing food with gluten-free foods can benefit health in various ways. It can reduce the risk of several heart diseases and aid weight loss.

Be aware of cross-contamination

It is essential to know about cross-contamination, especially if a person is following a gluten-free diet. In brown rice production, bacteria can be transferred from one type of grain to another.

Therefore, there are chances that gluten-free brown rice may also contain some gluten after harvesting and in transportation and mills.

Moreover, if you carefully choose gluten-free brown rice, cross-contamination can also happen in your kitchen. It can happen when your brown rice can get in touch with other ingredients.

So, the best thing is to separate the spaces and storage in the kitchen that only contains gluten-free foods. You should avoid exchanging food with others while together with friends or at a family dinner.

How to choose gluten free brown rice

When choosing gluten-free brown rice, many people can’t differentiate between cross-contaminated and pure gluten-free brown rice, which results in consuming brown rice containing gluten. But here are a few tips that can help you choose pure gluten-free brown rice.

  • Look out for the label: First, you have to look out for labels that say “ gluten-free .”It will increase your chance that you are taking the gluten-free product.
  • Be aware at grocery stores: If you buy gluten-free rice from grocery stores, be aware of the rice in the bins because there is no way to know if the rice in the bins is contaminated or not or how hygienic it is.
  • Red flag placement at the supermarket: You should also be careful when shopping in a supermarket. If you see brown rice being near gluten-containing food like pasta, baked foods, bread, etc., you should avoid buying it because there is a high chance of cross-contamination.
  • Avoid seasoning: The last thing you should do is to avoid purchasing seasoning brown rice if you want a pure gluten-free diet. This is because many seasonings, flavorings, and coloring can contain gluten.

Brown rice benefits:

There are lots of reasons why brown rice is good for you. Here are a few:

1. Contain lots of nutrients:

Although brown rice is a common and simple food, as compared to white rice, it provides much more nutrients in a similar amount of calories and carbohydrates. One cup of brown rice contains:

  • Calories: 216
  • Fiber: 5 grams
  • Protein: 5 grams
  • Fat: 8 grams
  • Carbs: 44 grams
  • Pyridoxine: 14% of the daily recommended value
  • Niacin: 15% of the daily recommended value
  • Thiamin: 12% of daily the recommended value
  • Iron: 5% of the daily recommended value
  • Phosphorus: 16% of the daily recommended value
  • Manganese: 88% of the daily recommended value
  • Selenium: 27% of the daily recommended value
  • Copper: 10% of the daily recommended value
  • Zinc: 8% of the daily recommended value
  • Pantothenic Acid: 6% of the daily recommended value

This whole grain contains all the nutrients essential for the human body to function correctly. For example, the high amount of manganese in brown rice plays an important role in many different processes in the body, such as bone development, muscle contraction, nerve function, wound healing, and blood sugar regulation.

Studies have shown that deficiency of manganese can cause a risk of various diseases like low fertility, bone diseases, and metabolic syndrome. One cup of brown rice can fulfill the daily requirement of this essential nutrient.

Brown rice not only contains a higher amount of vitamins and minerals, but it also contains powerful compounds and antioxidants.

These antioxidants help in protecting the body from oxidative stress. These also reduce the risk of cell injury caused by free radicals and reduce inflammation.

Studies (Trindade, 2014) have also found that antioxidants present in rice may be the reason for the lower rate of certain chronic diseases in the areas where rice is a staple food.

2. Can help with weight loss:

Replacing refined grains with brown rice can cause a drastic loss in weight. Refined grains like white pasta, white bread, and white rice lack fiber and have a lower amount of nutrients than brown rice.

For example, one cup of brown rice contains 3.5 grams of fiber, while one cup of white rice contains only 1 gram of fiber.

This fiber plays an important role in weight loss, as it keeps you feeling full for a longer time. So, choosing fiber-rich foods means consuming fewer calories.

Studies have also shown that people who eat more whole grains have less weight than those who eat fewer whole grains.

For example, a study of 74,000 women (Liu, 2003) found that women who eat more grain throughout the research period have less weight than those who eat fewer whole grains.

Moreover, the women with higher fiber intake showed a 49% lower risk of obesity than those with lower fiber intake.

Replacing white rice with brown rice can also help in reducing belly fat, which is a major concern of many people these days.

In one study (Mahdieh Kazemzadeh, 2014), 40 obese women were given brown rice to be eaten for more than a month, which resulted in a significant reduction in body weight and waist circumference reduction as compared to women who ate white rice.

3. Can improve heart health:

The high content of fiber present in white risk makes it a heart-healthy food because fiber can reduce the risk of various heart diseases.

A large study of more than 560,000 people (Yikyung Park, 2011) showed that people who ate a large amount of dietary fiber are at a lower risk of developing heart diseases, respiratory diseases, and cancer.

Moreover, another review of 45 studies (Aune, 2016) shows that people who eat a large number of whole grains like brown rice had a 21% lower risk of coronary heart diseases as compared to those who eat less whole grains.

Besides fiber, brown rice also contains a compound known as lignans, which helps reduce the risk of heart diseases.

Lignin-rich foods like whole grain, sesame seeds, nuts, and flax seeds are linked with reduced cholesterol levels and lower blood pressure. It also reduces the risk of stiffness of arteries.

Brown rice is also high in magnesium, which plays a vital role in heart health. According to a review of 40 studies (Xuexian Fang, 2016), increased dietary magnesium was linked with a lower risk of heart diseases like stroke, heart failure, and all-cause mortality up to 7-22%.

cooked brown basmati rice in white bowl

4. Naturally gluten free:

Gluten is a protein mostly found in grains, rye, barley, and wheat. These days, more and more people are going towards a gluten-free diet for various reasons.

Some people are allergic to gluten and can experience side effects like diarrhea, bloating, and stomach pain while consuming gluten-containing food.

Moreover, people with certain autoimmune diseases should also have a gluten-free diet. These all factors led to the popularity of the gluten-free diet.

Fortunately, brown rice is naturally gluten-free, making it a good and safe choice for those who want to avoid problematic protein and gluten. Brown rice also contains a lot of nutrients compared to other gluten-containing grains.

Brown rice can be used to make many other gluten-free products like pasta and crackers, which people can enjoy on their gluten-free diet.

5. Help manage diabetes:

Reducing the intake of carbs and choosing healthy food options can play an important role in managing blood sugar levels. Although carbs can affect blood sugar levels, people suffering from diabetes can reduce their blood sugar levels by eating more refined carbs or replacing them with whole grains.

Replacing refined carbs like white rice with brown rice can be very beneficial for diabetic patients. For example, in one study (T Nakayama, 2017), people suffering from type 2 diabetes who took two servings of brown rice every day had a significant decrease in blood sugar level (post-meal) and hemoglobin A1c as compared to those who ate white rice.

Brown rice also has a lower GI, which means it takes more time to digest than white rice and has less impact on blood sugar levels.

Multiple studies (Carvalho, 2017) have found that choosing food with a higher glycemic index can increase insulin and ghrelin levels. Both of these hormones increase hunger.

Reducing ghrelin levels can be very helpful for people suffering from diabetes in controlling their hunger which can reduce overeating and manage blood sugar levels.

How to add brown rice to diet:

One of the best qualities of brown rice is that it can be added to the diet in many different ways. You can eat brown rice anytime, during the day, at night, or for breakfast. Brown rice can be added to many different recipes.

  • It can be eaten at lunch with veggies and protein.
  • Brown rice can also be topped with avocadoes, eggs, and black beans for breakfast.
  • Brown rice can be used as a replacement for white rice while making stir-fries.
  • Use brown rice to make energy bars.
  • Toss brown rice with some fresh veggies to make a tasty dish
  • Use brown rice in different curry recipes
  • Make a burger with black beans and brown rice for dinner or lunch
  • Sauté brown rice with some garlic and olive oil to make a tasty meal

This nutritious whole grain can be used in countless recipes depending upon your taste. It can be enjoyed at breakfast, lunch, and dinner as well.

So, is brown rice gluten free?

Brown rice is a highly nutritious and gluten-free grain with many vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Because of its high nutritious value, brown rice has gained popularity worldwide and is a staple food in many countries.

Consuming this whole grain can prevent the risk of various diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and oxidative stress. Moreover, replacing white rice with brown rice can also help in losing weight. Brown rice can be added to the diet in various ways. You can have it anytime or for any meal of the day.

Other related articles:

  1. Are Corn Flakes Gluten Free?
  2. Is Buckwheat Gluten Free?
  3. Is Quinoa Gluten Free?
  4. High Fiber Gluten Free Foods
  5. Are Avocados Good For You? 
  6. Cumin Nutrition And Benefits
  7. Health Benefits Of Ginger
  8. Are Garbanzos Good For You?

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