Sprouted Brown Rice: Nutritional Facts and Health Benefits
Are you on a quest to increase the variety of whole grains at your table? If you’re not a big fan of regular brown rice, give sprouted brown rice a try! Sprouted brown rice is exactly that – brown rice that has been allowed to sprout or germinate before packaging.
Other names for sprouted brown rice:
- GABA rice, short for amino acid gamma aminobutyric acid. GABA becomes abundance in brown rice after the sprouting process.
- Germinated brown rice
- Hatsuga genmai (Japanese name)
Nutrition Facts of Sprouted Brown Rice
1/4 cup of Now Foods uncooked sprouted brown rice (which yields close to 1 cup cooked) provides:
- Calories: 160
- Carbohydrates: 35 g
- Fiber: 2 g
- Net carb: 33 g
- Fat: 1.5 g
- Protein: 3 g
- Glycemic Index: 57 (Medium)
The process of germination changes the nutritional composition of the rice. While the macronutrient (carbohydrate, protein, and fat) contents and calories of brown rice and sprouted brown rice are similar, sprouted brown rice contains higher levels of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), magnesium, potassium, and zinc, as well as the phytonutrients ferulic acid and gamma oryzanol. This is why sprouted or germinated brown rice is sometimes referred to as “GABA rice.” Note that this doesn’t mean regular brown rice lacks these nutrients; the sprouting process simply makes these nutrients more available. GABA exists in the body as a neurotransmitter in the central nervous system and has an inhibitory or calming effect.
The amino acid GABA, is mostly found in the bran of the grain. Therefore, refined white rice is not a good source while whole grain rice varieties have more
Sprouted brown rice has:
- 4 times more GABA than regular brown rice
- 10 time more GABA than white rice
Glycemic Index of Different Brown Rice
In a 2012 study, researchers looked in the antidiabetic effect of sprouted or germinated brown rice. One of the study measurement was its glycemic index. Sprouted brown rice produced the lowest glycemic index values among 3 types of rice.
|White Rice||Regular Brown Rice||Sprouted Brown Rice|
Emerging research on germinated or sprouted brown rice suggests regular consumption has beneficial effects on blood cholesterol and diabetes, and it is also being studied in the prevention of some allergies. Phytonutrients in brown rice, as in many other plant-based foods, have been shown to have antioxidant properties.
As with many whole grains, it is possible to sprout brown rice at home. However, if you are pressed for time, store-bought sprouted brown rice may be more convenient. The sprouted brown rice you buy has been dried after sprouting so it can be stored just as easily as regular brown rice.
In her book Go UnDiet, Gloria Tsang talks about how sprouted brown rice can be an appealing alternative to those who dislike the chewiness of most whole grains. Cooked sprouted brown rice is softer in texture than regular brown rice. In addition, sprouted brown rice can finish cooking within 10 minutes, whereas regular brown rice typically takes about 45 minutes.
How to Get More Sprouted Brown Rice In Your Diet
- Replace white or regular brown rice with sprouted brown rice.
- Add it to salads, soups, or casseroles
- Use it to make a gluten-free hot breakfast porridge
- Make Japanese food at home: Try this Sprouted Brown Rice Bowl with Carrot and Hijiki
Alumni: University of British Columbia – Gloria Tsang is the author of 6 books and the founder of HealthCastle.com, the largest online nutrition network run by registered dietitians. Her work has appeared in major national publications, and she is a regularly featured nutrition expert for media outlets across the country. The Huffington Post named her one of its Top 20 Nutrition Experts on Twitter. Gloria’s articles have appeared on various media such as Reuters, NBC & ABC affiliates, The Chicago Sun-Times, Reader’s Digest Canada, iVillage and USA Today.