Sprouted Brown Rice: Nutritional Facts and Health Benefits

Written By: Gloria Tsang, RD

Title: Founding Registered Dietitian

Alumni: University of British Columbia

Last Updated on:

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:

  1. GABA rice, short for amino acid gamma aminobutyric acid. GABA becomes abundance in brown rice after the sprouting process.
  2. Germinated brown rice
  3. Hatsuga genmai (Japanese name)
Sprouted Brown Rice nutrition facts and glycemic index

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 RiceRegular Brown RiceSprouted Brown Rice
Glycemic Index67.461.556.9
Table 1. Glycemic Index Values of White and 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

Cooking, Health

brown rice, gaba rice, germinated brown rice, sprouted brown rice


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2 thoughts on “Sprouted Brown Rice: Nutritional Facts and Health Benefits”

  1. I love this sprouted rice. A few years back I actually sprouted this myself. What a pain! Now it’s more common and reasonably priced so I opt to buy it. Especially since it has been dried after it is sprouted.
    Question: what are the general recommendations for daily or weekly consumption of this rice? I am on a weight loss program.

  2. OMG, sprouted short grain brown rice is the best! I sprout it on the counter for about 3 days (depending on the temperature) doing enough for several days and I’ll cook about 1/2 of it and leave the rest in the fridge covered which lasts a good 4 days before it needs to be cooked off. It freezes well too, and of course if you have a dehydrator you can dry it.
    I made rice pudding with it lately and what a fantastic evening snack! Not only does the GABA help you sleep, it’s satisfying and tastes like you’re having a treat…


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