Germinated Brown Rice (GBR, GABA Rice), How and Why?

In recent years, India has been called the Diabetes capital of the world. Polished white rice which has a high glycemic index has been blamed among other foods, and Diabetes White-Riceaffected people are eliminating it from their diets. However, shifting to mainly wheat has also been problematic for people with Gluten sensitivity/intolerance. So whole grains like Brown rice, which is rich in fiber is beingrice2 adopted by more people. Brown rice is also a good source of manganese, magnesium and Vitamin B6. It is good for the heart, helpful in weight management, and is effective in managing lifestyle diseases. However, as we have seen in the blog on anti-nutrients, Brown rice is also rich in Phytic acid.

What is GBR?

GBR is simply brown rice which is sprouted (or germinated).

GBRDry

Many don’t know that brown rice can be sprouted. We all know that whole grains/pulses (unpolished or unprocessed) are beneficial for our health due to the higher nutritional value when compared with processed or polished grains. Whole grains and pulses when sprouted has additional health benefits.

Proper preparation of whole grains prior to cooking is an important process to get the maximum health benefit out of them. Here we will discuss the benefits of sprouting brown rice as a preparation prior to cooking to reduce the effects of anti-nutrients.

How to make GBR?

To make GBR, simply soak brown rice for 6 – 8 hours and drain the water. Tie the soaked brown rice in a breathable cotton cloth or place in a sprouter. Brown rice will germinate after 12 – 18 hours.

Nutritional  benefits of GBR

GBR is much better option when compared to brown rice. GBR helps reduce high blood sugar, boosts the immune system, lowers blood pressure, inhibits the development of cancer cells and assists the treatment of anxiety disorders(1).

GBR is a natural functional food because

  1. It is easily digested and absorbed by the body.
  2. Nutrients such as GABA (Gamma-aminobutyric acid), ferulic acid, protein, Vitamin E, dietary fiber, Niacin, magnesium, B Vitamins, total antioxidant activity are increased multifold in GBR when compared to brown rice(2).
  3. GBR contains less calories and sugar when compared to milled rice.

As discussed earlier, during germination, decrease of phytic acid progresses with time. Though there will still be some phytic acid left even after germination, there is phenomenal positive changes in the bioactive compounds which confers host of benefits. Further dried GBR offers an excellent appearance, improved shelf life with more sweetness, excellent taste with better texture. It cooks easier when compared to brown rice.

Importance of GABA

When brown rice is germinated, the most significant increase in the nutrient was observed in GABA levels. GABA, a neurotransmitter is naturally found in human brain and spinal cord which helps in preventing insomnia, depression and headaches. A study(3) showed that intake of GABA suppressed blood pressure and improved sleeplessness. A study(4) done on mice suggested that the antidepressant like effects produced in the mice were due to GABA. Its main benefits are listed below:

  1. Promotes fat loss by the stimulation of the production of human growth hormones
  2. Increases the sleep cycle giving deeper rest
  3. Boosts the immune system
  4. Lowers Blood Pressure
  5. Assists the treatment of anxiety disorders
  6. Possible preventive effects on Alzheimer’s disease or other cerebral related disorders such as amnesia and dementia.

It has long been thought that GABA is unable to cross the blood–brain barrier, but the recent studies suggest otherwise. There is evidence of presence of GABA transporter in blood-brain barrier(5). One more study(6) suggest that the beneficial effects of GABA taken through oral supplements may be through indirect channels like Enteric Nervous System. In addition, there are hundreds of online consumers who claim the beneficial effects of GABA supplements. In any case, GBR is abundant with GABA and other nutrients, and is a natural functional food which offers many benefits.

Ready-to-cook GBR can also be bought from Dhatu Organics

References

  1. Patil, S. B., & Khan, M. K. (2011). Germinated brown rice as a value added rice product: A review. Journal of Food Science and Technology, 48(6), 661–667. http://doi.org/10.1007/s13197-011- 0232-4
  2. Imam, M. U., Azmi, N. H., Bhanger, M. I., Ismail, N., & Ismail, M. (2012). Antidiabetic Properties of Germinated Brown Rice: A Systematic Review. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine : eCAM, 2012, 816501. http://doi.org/10.1155/2012/816501
  3. Okada, T., Sugishita, T., Murakami, T., Murai, H., Saikusa, T., Horino, T., Onoda, A., Kajimoto, O., Takahashi, R. and Takahashi, T., 2000. Effect of the defatted rice germ enriched with GABA for sleeplessness, depression, autonomic disorder by oral administration. JOURNAL-JAPANESE SOCIETY OF FOOD SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY, 47(8), pp.596-603.
  4. Mamiya, T., Kise, M., Morikawa, K., Aoto, H., Ukai, M. and Noda, Y., 2007. Effects of pre-germinated brown rice on depression-like behavior in mice. Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior, 86(1), pp.62-67.
  5. Takanaga H, Ohtsuki S, Hosoya Ki, Terasaki T. GAT2/BGT-1 as a system responsible for the transport of gamma-aminobutyric acid at the mouse blood-brain barrier. J Cereb Blood Flow Metab. 2001 Oct;21(10):1232-9. PubMed PMID: 11598501.
  6. Boonstra, E., de Kleijn, R., Colzato, L. S., Alkemade, A., Forstmann, B. U., & Nieuwenhuis, S. (2015). Neurotransmitters as food supplements: the effects of GABA on brain and behavior. Frontiers in Psychology, 6, 1520. http://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2015.01520
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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.

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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.