Fermentation Method of Cooking Brown Rice

Brown rice is rich in fiber. It is a good source of manganese, magnesium and Vitamin B6. It is good for heart, helpful in weight management, and is effective in managing other lifestyle diseases like diabetes. Like any other whole grains, brown rice contains anti-nutrients and is rich in Phytic acid (phytates) – about 1.6% dry weight.

Direct boiling or pressure cooking of brown rice may take a longer time to cook and without much reduction in phytate content. The minerals in the brown rice thus cooked will not be bioavailable and is not much useful to the body. Soaking the rice for long hours will not reduce phytate content significantly.

There are two methods which can be employed to eliminate the phytic acid in brown rice:

  1. Soaking and Fermentation
  2. Germinating the brown rice or also known as GBR / GABA Rice

Soaking and Fermentation Method:

Method I:

The below method is a traditional Chinese method taken from a blog Stephen Guyenet blog(1)

  1. Soak brown rice in dechlorinated water for 24 hours at room temperature without changing the water. Reserve 10% of the soaking liquid (should keep for a long time in the fridge). Discard the rest of the soaking liquid; cook the rice in fresh water.
  2. The next time you make brown rice, use the same procedure as above, but add the soaking liquid you reserved from the last batch to the rest of the soaking water.
  3. Repeat the cycle. The process will gradually improve until 96% or more of the phytic acid is degraded at 24 hours.

Method II:

A study(2) compared the different brown rice wet processes (soaking, steeping and fermentation) to see which method is most effective. Fermentation was clearly the most effective process with phytic acid reduction up to 95%. Steeping of intact grains, as a first step of germination, was not significantly effective, only a reduction of 14–28% was obtained. During fermentation, as well as germination, decrease of phytic acid progressed with time. This will not only remove the phytate content from the brown rice significantly but also increases the other nutrients like vitamins B and C.

  1. Soak brown rice overnight and wet grind it into batter consistency. This batter is kept aside for fermentation for 24 hours. The batter can be used to make delicious pancakes.

(Recipe: Fermented Brown Rice Dosa Recipe replace millet with brown rice).

Method III:

Interestingly there exists an traditional Indian method of cooking brown rice (or white rice) which offers immense benefits. The method was given out by Mr. Murulidhar Kontum (3) (Advisor for S-VYASA, Advisor for Vishwa Mangala Gou Gram Yatra, Bengaluru) and is produced below:

“First cook your rice with enough excess water, so that when water remaining after cooking is drained off, any excess starch is removed with it. Instead of throwing this valuable starch solution down the drain, it is used constructively: half is offered to animals and plants, while the other half is inoculated with buttermilk and a pinch of fenugreek seeds – apparently because the strain of yeast that grows on fenugreek seeds is of particular value – and fermented overnight. The following day it is added to the pot in which the day’s rice is being cooked” and the cycle continues…

The above method offers following benefits:

  1. Removal of excess water from the cooking rice (all the ancient Indian texts related to rice cooking recommends this method) results in less calorific rice
  2. Valuable probiotics and yeast is added to the rice
  3. May result in significant reduction in phytates
  4. Rice cooked in above method is very valuable for people suffering from Arthritis and Musculoskeletal disorders

References

  1. http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.in/2009/04/new-way- to-soak- brown-rice.html
  2. Liang, J., Han, B.Z., Nout, M.R. and Hamer, R.J., 2008. Effects of soaking, germination and fermentation on phytic acid, total and in vitro soluble zinc in brown rice. Food Chemistry, 110(4), pp.821-828.
  3. Kontum, M. (2010). A traditional way of rice preparation with particular benefits for Arthritis and musculo-skeletal disorders. Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine, 1(4), 241–242. http://doi.org/10.4103/0975-9476.74421

Anti-Nutrients in Whole Grains – And how to neutralize them?

Anti-Nutrients in Whole Grains – And how to neutralize them?

Awareness is growing that processed and polished grains have been stripped of most of their nutrients and fiber. What is left is mostly starch. This starch is broken down by the body into simple carbohydrates which results in blood sugar spike. These blood sugar roller coaster rides have been linked to several lifestyle disorders like Diabetes and Obesity. People are hence shifting from polished white rice to whole grains like Brown Rice, Red Rice and Millets.

BrownWhile.jpg
Polished White Rice with the bran and germ missing. Brown rice with bran and germ.

 

The Anti-nutrient problem

Whole grains are basically seeds. In order to protect itself from pests and predators until it is ready to germinate, seeds have an in-built defense mechanism in the form of anti-nutrients. Anti-nutrients are natural compounds found in different foods, which interfere with the absorption of nutrients like vitamins and minerals. They can also inhibit digestive enzymes which are key to proper digestion.

The most commonly found anti-nutrient in whole grain cereals is Phytic acid. Phytic acid will bind with minerals found in food like iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, copper etc., making a large percentage of it useless for the body. Another problem of Phytic acid is that it neutralizes digestive enzymes that are essential for breaking down carbohydrates and proteins.

So in essence, consuming nutrient rich whole grains which contain Phytic acid is as good as consuming processed food with all its nutrients stripped. The body is not able to enjoy the benefits from the nutrients.

How to reduce/remove Anti-nutrients

Thankfully it is possible to reduce or remove the effects of anti-nutrients through traditional methods of cooking like roasting, soaking, sprouting and fermenting. Roasting results in least removal of anti-nutrients, while fermentation offers the maximum removal.

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Sprouted Finger Millet (Ragi) Grains

Dosas (Indian Pancake) is a great example where the anti-nutrient problem was addressed by traditional cooking technique of fermentation. Check here for a Millet Dosa Recipe

Finger Millet (Ragi) flour can be replaced with Sprouted Finger Millet (Ragi) flour to further reduce anti-nutrients. Instead of using flour, whole grains like millets and rice can be soaked and ground into batter as well.

In addition to reducing the effects of anti-nutrients, sprouting and fermenting adds a host of other benefits either in the form of increased and simplified nutrients that are easy for the body to use, or by introducing probiotics which are very beneficial for gut health.