Rice Rice, Baby

brown-and-white-rice-in-a-bowlRice seems pretty straightforward, right? Eat the brown stuff and not the white. Well, it’s not that simple. Choosing which rice to eat to get the most nutritional value depends on a few things – are you preparing it at home? can you make it ahead of time? are you eating it at a restaurant? There are several ways you can go with rice. But no matter which way you decide to go, never miss an opportunity to cook rice in bone broth. It’s an easy way to consume a load of important minerals. Now let’s take a look:

Brown or Wild Rice: Go for the brown or wild rice if you are eating at home and, here’s the kicker, you soak it overnight first. Let me eh’splain. Brown and wild rice contain phytates, which are concentrated in the bran. Phytates, which are formed from phytic acid, are very hard to digest and inhibit nutrients like calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, and zinc from being properly absorbed in the body. So, phytates are considered “anti-nutrients” and can cause mineral deficiencies. However, proper preparation of brown/wild rice can significantly neutralize the phytic acid content. The key is to soak the rice in water overnight (about 6 cups of water per 1 cup of rice), pour out the excess water the next day, and then proceed with cooking. If you planned on having brown rice for dinner but, oh crap!, forgot to soak it first, then at least give it a long, slow steam in a mineral-rich broth for several hours.

White Rice: Choose white rice if you are eating at a restaurant. Because it has been refined, phytic acid is less of a problem. I’m not saying that white rice is nutritious, but it is more digestible and less of a threat to mineral absorption than brown/wild rice that has not been properly prepared.

And then there’s parboiled rice:

box-parboiled-riceParboiled (aka Converted) Rice: This is the rice I serve to my family. Parboiled Rice has been partially boiled in the husk. It goes through a soaking, steaming, and drying process that drives nutrients from the bran to the endosperm.

rice-sketchTherefore, parboiled rice is 80% nutritionally similar to brown rice. Even better is the fact that if you let the rice completely cool down before serving, its properties change in a way that the nutrients become a prebiotic. A prebiotic acts like a fertilizer to promote the growth of your existing beneficial gut flora (whereas a probiotic introduces new bacteria). You can reheat the rice after it has cooled down, but it has to go through that cooling down process to trigger the prebiotic effects. This fascinating article explains why. More good news on parboiled rice: it has double the fiber and a much lower glycemic score (38 as opposed to 89) than plain white rice which means it won’t cause such a sharp spike in blood sugar. Preparing parboiled rice requires some advance thought (like the brown/wild rice) to achieve the maximum nutritional benefit, so I typically make it a day in advance (in bone broth of course!), let it cool and stick it in the fridge, then reheat and serve the next day. I always make extra to freeze, which will not compromise the nutritional benefits but sure does come in handy when you need a prepared side dish.

I hope you find this information helpful. And again, because I can’t stress this enough, be nice to your rice and make it with bone broth!


  • brooke Posted February 10, 2014 12:14 pm

    Is the parboiled rice gluten free?

    • Chelsea Posted February 10, 2014 12:53 pm


  • Christi Dalecky Posted February 11, 2014 8:53 am

    Well if Mark Sisson says it’s ok…….WWMSD?

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