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Health Benefits Of Eating Brown Rice During Pregnancy

6 min read

Brown Rice During Pregnancy
A pregnant woman’s diet and the lifestyle play a crucial role in the healthy progression of the pregnancy and the well being of the unborn baby.  It is a well-known fact, for half of the world population (particularly in East and Southeast Asia), rice is a staple food. And there is no doubt that rice is super food if it is taken in moderation. However, the white rice, which is, in fact, refined grains pose some vital risks during pregnancy. Wondering how?
Well, white rice can aggravate gestational diabetes, it can result in putting on more weight than recommended during pregnancy, and thereby, paving the way for obesity, and much more.
It here comes the relevance of brown rice. Even though white rice accounts for the majority of the rice eaten worldwide, brown rice is considered as the nutritional champ. In this blog, we help you to find out the significance of brown rice during pregnancy.

  • What Is Brown Rice?
  • Why Is Brown Rice Considered Superior To White Rice?
  • What Is The Nutritional Value Of Brown Rice?
  • Is Brown Rice Safe During Pregnancy?
  • How Much Brown Rice Is Safe To Have During Pregnancy?
  • How To Reduce The Arsenic Content In Brown Rice?
  • Are There Any Side Effects of Eating Brown Rice During Pregnancy?
  • How To Select And Store Brown Rice?
  • Top 12 Health Benefits Of Eating Brown Rice During Pregnancy

What Is Brown Rice?

Brown rice is nothing but whole-grain rice. Only the outer hull is removed. The bran layer and cereal germ will remain intact. Brown rice has a gentle, nutty flavor, and is chewier. Whole brown rice normally requires more cooking times than white rice. You can bypass this issue by using broken brown rice.
If the hull, bran layer, and germ are removed from the same grain, it is our normal white rice. The rice grains can have differently pigmented outer layer. Therefore, other than brown rice, you can also find different varieties of whole rice like red rice, gold rice, and black rice (purple rice).

Why Is Brown Rice Considered Superior To White Rice?

Brown rice and white rice do not differ in calories or carbohydrate content. The difference lies in the nutritional value. You have to only get rid of husk to make brown rice. This will leave all the inherited nutrient content in this super grain intact. Whereas, the subsequent layers below the husk is also removed in case of white rice. Therefore, only the starchy endosperm remains. Numerous vitamins and minerals in the grain will be lost during this process. As the barn is removed, oil that presents in the barn, which is highly nutritious, is also removed from white rice. Brown rice, on the other hand, is a powerhouse of nutrients. It is an excellent source of vitamins and minerals, fiber and proteins. Brown rice has very important nutrients, like magnesium, selenium, manganese.

What Is The Nutritional Value Of Brown Rice?

One cup of cooked brown rice can guarantee:

  • Calories 216 calories
  • Carbohydrates 44.8 grams
  • Protein 5 grams
  • Fat 1.8 grams
  • Fiber 3.5 grams
  • Manganese 1.8 milligrams which make out 88% of RDI
  • Selenium 19.1 micrograms which make out 27% of RDI
  • Magnesium 83.9 milligrams which make out 21% of RDI
  • Phosphorus 162 milligrams which make out 16% of RDI
  • Niacin 3 milligrams which make out 15% of RDI
  • Vitamin B6 0.3 milligram which makes out 14% of RDI
  • Thiamine 0.2 milligrams which makes out 12% of RDI
  • Copper 0.2 milligram which makes out 10% of RDI
  • Zinc 1.2 milligrams which make out 8% of RDI
  • Panthothenic acid 0.6 milligrams which make out 6% of RDI
  • Iron 8 milligram which makes out 5% of RDI
  • Folate 7.9 micrograms which make out 2% of RDI
  • Calcium 19.5 milligrams which make out 2% of RDI
  • Potassium 83.9 milligrams which make out 2% of RDI

Is Brown Rice Safe During Pregnancy?

Yes. If you are craving for rice, brown rice is the safest option. As explained above, its nutrition is quite impressive and offers an n number of health benefits. When consuming in moderation, it will be a nutrient-rich addition to your pregnancy menu.
However, the daily consumption of brown rice is not considered safe. Why, because, it contains a high amount of arsenic in it. Arsenic increases the risks of premature death of the fetus. Therefore, overeating of brown rice should be avoided.

How Much Brown Rice Is Safe To Have During Pregnancy?

When it comes to eating during pregnancy, moderation is the key. It is applicable for brown rice as well. You can have a cup of well-cooked brown rice with your choice of side dishes for lunch or dinner. It is not advisable to eat brown rice daily or two times a day. A better option is to ask your doctor. Depending on your health and how far your pregnancy progressed, he will be able to guide you through this.

How To Reduce The Arsenic Content In Brown Rice?

Rice plants accumulate arsenic. It can be the natural arsenic from groundwater and soil, or from pesticides and poultry fertilizers. Either way, you can’t overlook the chances of excessive arsenic levels in brown rice. There is will be more arsenic in the bran, so brown rice contains more arsenic than white rice. However, it is proved that by cooking in a large quantity of water, you can bring down its level in brown rice up to 40 percent. It could, however, also lower levels of some nutrients as well. But bringing down the arsenic level is more important. Isn’t it?

Are There Any Side Effects of Eating Brown Rice During Pregnancy?

  • If you are having it for the first time, you can’t ignore the possibility of allergy. That is why it is said to consult a physician before adding anything new to your pregnancy diet. If you feel any discomfort after consuming brown rice, seek medical attention.
  • Arsenic poisoning is the main concern and side effect if you cross the moderation mark of brown rice during pregnancy.

How To Select And Store Brown Rice?


You can easily find brown rice at any grocery store. It is recommended to opt for organic brown rice as its arsenic content will be less.


Always store brown rice in an airtight container. Always keep it away from heat, light, and moisture. If you follow this, the shelf life of brown rice will be around six months. If you want to extend it, you can store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator or even the freezer.

Top 12 Health Benefits Of Eating Brown Rice During Pregnancy

1. Bring Down The Bad Cholesterol Level:

One of the biggest benefits of brown rice is it contains an oil which is excellent to reduce the bad cholesterol (LDL). It even enhances the level of good cholesterol (HDL).

2. Helps To Combat Mood Swings And Insomnia

Brown rice contains melatonin, a “sleep” hormone that unwinds the nerves and thereby enhances the quality of sleep. Thus, the expecting mother can have sufficient rest. It has some elements which are very beneficial in combating stress and mood swings during pregnancy.

3. Rich In Fiber

The fiber content of brown rice helps not only to balance the blood pressure, cholesterol, and sugar levels, it also makes you feel full. It enhances bowel movement and thereby brings relief from other troubling conditions during pregnancy such as constipation. It also protects pregnant women from cardiovascular diseases.

4. Prevents The Risk Of Urogenital Issues

Brown rice has a diuretic property (makes the frequency of urination increase). This property of brown rice is very beneficial for pregnant women to prevent the risk of urogenital issue.

5. Brown Rice Provides Instant Energy

Niacin is a coenzyme needed for energy production. Brown rice contains niacin. It also has high amounts of carbohydrates, another source of energy. Therefore, eating brown rice during pregnancy will help to boost your energy level, which is very important during pregnancy.

6. Helps To Maintain Blood Pressure

Brown rice has low sodium content. Therefore, consuming brown rice during pregnancy helps to regulate blood pressure which is very important for a healthy pregnancy and safe delivery.

7. Promotes Baby’s Growth

Brown rice is a rich source of neurotransmitter nutrients. It is also a good source of magnesium. Therefore, eating brown rice during pregnancy helps in the brain development and (future) cognitive functions of the baby.

8. Prevents putting on extra weight:

Brown rice is rich in manganese. When it comes to the reduction in body mass index, eating whole grains such as brown rice has found to have a positive effect on the body.

9. Helps To Strengthen Bone

Brown rice is rich in magnesium. Magnesium, along with calcium gives the bones their physical structure. Brown rice also has a significant amount of essential nutrients such as vitamin D, thiamine and riboflavin which helps to strengthen bones and teeth. Pregnancy is a period you need to maintain your bone strength. Otherwise, you will be more prone to diseases like osteoporosis in the future.

10. Helps To Combat Gestational Diabetes

The presence of large insoluble fibers in the brown rice along with its low glycemic content makes it an apt food to regulate your blood sugar levels. Eating brown rice during pregnancy, therefore, helps to combat gestational diabetes, which is common during pregnancy.

11. Prevents Cancer:

Being rich in antioxidants, brown rice helps to fight the free radicals in your body. This prevents certain types of cancer and increases the expecting mother’s strength to fight infections.

12. Reduces Vomiting And Nausea

Being a good source of fiber, brown rice helps you feel full.  Do you know one of the tactics for combating morning sickness is to not get hungry? Well, therefore, brown rice can help the symptoms of nausea to subside.

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