Saturday, May 18, 2013

Bring Back the Brown Rice Tradition

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Looking back, Filipinos ate only brown rice until Westerners introduced the modern milling process that produced white, polished rice which soon dominated the market and eventually changed our cultural tradition on rice preference. Bringing back the tradition of eating brown rice can help achieve the government's goal of rice self-sufficiency in the near future while addressing the country's nutritional and health problems.
Rice is the major staple food of Filipinos, contributing about 35.7 percent of the average daily individual food intake, making it the major source of carbohydrates in the Filipino diet. White rice is the most-consumed form of rice, based on the Food Consumption Data of the 7th National Nutrition Survey conducted by the Food and Nutrition Research Institute of the Department of Science and Technology (FNRI-DOST). 

Brown rice, however, is the form of rice that has undergone minimal milling. It is gaining popularity today primarily due to its nutritional and health benefits. It provides all the necessary carbohydrate requirements of an individual just like white rice. Its Its bran layer is a source of dietary fiber, minerals and B vitamins.

image taken from the web
Beyond its nutritional and health benefits, every Filipino eating brown rice daily may help the country achieve its vision of rice self-sufficiency. 

Production of brown rice reduces the power demand needed in polishing and whitening by as much 65 percent. More so, with the bran and the embryo intact and fewer broken grains, whole grain-milling recovery is as much as 10 percent higher than for white rice. Thus, with higher recovery of milling and consumption of brown rice, our national rice importation requirement may be reduced.
The DOST, through the FNRI, is leading the research and development on brown rice to determine the various aspects of improving the stability and shelf-life of brown rice. With this, brown rice can be stored at a longer period with no significant changes in nutrient composition and sensory qualities. Longer shelf-life provides ample time for developing value-added products that can provide healthier options for consumers. 
Related to this, the FNRI-DOST has successfully determined in 2012 the optimum conditions for extending the shelf-life of brown rice so that it can now be stored from 5-9 months instead of only 1-4 months. Storage of brown rice is a major problem among rice millers. But with the S&T solution being offered by the FNRI-DOST, our rice producers may soon be more confident in supplying brown rice in the market knowing it can last longer, compete with other types of rice and cost-efficient to produce. 
In terms of nutritional value, initial analysis shows that a serving of cooked brown rice can provide the daily recommended energy and nutrient intake (RENI) of an adult 19 years old and above by 10 percent of energy, 7 percent protein, 2 percent calcium, 5 percent iron, and 16 percent zinc. The dietary fiber can also satisfy about 8 percent of the recommended intake. Underway are efficacy studies to verify the health claims associated with the consumption of brown rice. 
Thus, bringing back the tradition of eating brown rice not only improves every Filipino's health and nutrition, but also helps the economy at large by reducing our rice importation requirement on the agricultural side, and the problems of malnutrition on the health side. 
For more information about brown rice and other information on food and nutrition, you may contact: 

Dr. Mario V. Capanzana
Director, Food and Nutrition Research Institute
Department of Science and Technology
Bicutan, Taguig City
Trunkline: 837-2071 local 2296 or 2287
Telephone/Fax No.: 837-3164

(FNRI-DOST S & T Media Service: Press Release- CHARINA A. JAVIER)

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  1. I'm not helping pala. I tried brown rice but I did not like it. I still prefers white rice. Thanks for the info.

  2. It will take a while before I will get used to eating brown rice. I've been eating white rice since I was a kid, so that's hard to change.

  3. I love eating brown rice, but it is just so hard to find one nowadays. I hope though that it will be available in the market easily para yun ang mabibili namin :)

  4. We started eating brown rice 2 weeks ago. It's more expensive than white rice but since it is healthier I think its worth every penny. Medyo mas matigas lang at nakakapanibago :)