What is it?
Brown rice is the wholegrain rice before polishing. It is naturally gluten free and very useful in baking and cooking. Before white rice went through the refining process, it at one time looked exactly like brown rice. Brown rice still has the side hull and bran. The side hulls and brans provide “natural wholeness” to the grain and are rich in proteins, thiamine, calcium, magnesium, fiber, and potassium.
What can I do with it?
It imparts a richer, nuttier flavour than wheat flour. You can thicken sauces with it and use it for coating fish and other proteins In baking it works best in producing breads, cakes and noodles.
Rice flour on its own results in a crumbly, gritty product, so you have to mix it with other flours and starches ingredients to get a good result. The rice flour should be no more than 25% of the flour mix for best results. Adding it contributes to the nutritional value and taste of your baked goods.
To compensate for the lack of gluten in brown rice flour, you will need to add ingredients that will help your baked goods to bind. Some cooks add an additional egg and or some psyllium husks or powder.
It also produces a nicely browned gluten free coating on fried foods.
What can it do for me?
If you are trying to lose weight or suffering from diabetes, brown rice can prove a healthful staple, given its low glycemic rating which helps reduce insulin spikes.
What can I substitute?
As gluten-free substitute for rice flour, many bakers recommend amaranth, millet flour or quinoa flour. Proportions will vary depending on the flour you substitute. Baking results may not be identical.
How do I store it?
Rice flour is best kept in an airtight container away from moisture. If properly sealed it’s shelf life can be many months. Store in the freezer to extend shelf life.
Health Benefits of Brown Rice Flour
Introduction of brown rice flour in the diet brings tremendous health benefits discussed as under :
1. Controls Diabetes
Brown rice flour is beneficial for diabetics and hyperglycemic individuals. It has a low glycemic index which is helpful in reducing insulin surges and assists in the stabilization of blood sugar levels in the body.
A comparative study conducted and published in the International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition revealed that it is rich in phytic acid, fiber, and essential polyphenols. It is a complex carbohydrate which helps in the slower release of sugar as compared to white rice. The American diabetes association also recommends choosing nutrient-dense brown rice over white rice for diabetics in order to accomplish the requirement of essential vitamins, fiber, and minerals in their diet.
2. Antioxidant Activity
Brown rice flour is rich in powerful antioxidants which protect against damage caused by oxygen free radicals. It contains an important antioxidant enzyme called superoxide dismutase which protects the cells from oxidation damage during energy production. A research study, in the Malaysian Journal of Medical Sciences, involving white and brown rice suggested that brown rice flour exhibits superior radical scavenging activity and aids in the prevention of various oxidation-mediated diseases such as coronary heart diseases.
3. Prevents Obesity
Brown rice flour is instrumental in weight control for people combating obesity. It contains manganese which helps synthesize body fats. A study conducted in this regard revealed that whole grains such as brown rice and black rice have positive effects on the body with respect to a reduction in body mass index and fat. It also enhances the activity of glutathione peroxidase, an antioxidant enzyme, which helps to elevate the levels of HDL cholesterol in obese individuals. Another comparative research also advocated the anti-obesity effects of germinated brown rice.
4. Prevents Alzheimer’s
A 2013 research found that germinated brown rice flour helps in the prevention of neurodegenerative complications such as Alzheimer’s disease attributing to the abundance of gamma-aminobutyric acid. Sprouted brown rice flour contains helpful components which help in the inhibition of a harmful enzyme called prolyl endopeptidase.
5. Stress in Lactating Women
Brown rice flour is beneficial for the mental health of lactating mothers. An investigative study in the European Journal of Nutrition has shown that brown rice flour consumption can show positive results in the nursing women with respect to reduction in mood disturbances, stages of depression and fatigue. It has also suggested that the consumption of brown rice during lactation enhances the body’s ability to resist stress and improves the overall immune defense.