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:
- Soaking and Fermentation
- Germinating the brown rice or also known as GBR / GABA Rice
Soaking and Fermentation Method:
The below method is a traditional Chinese method taken from a blog Stephen Guyenet blog(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.
- 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.
- Repeat the cycle. The process will gradually improve until 96% or more of the phytic acid is degraded at 24 hours.
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.
- 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).
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:
- 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
- Valuable probiotics and yeast is added to the rice
- May result in significant reduction in phytates
- Rice cooked in above method is very valuable for people suffering from Arthritis and Musculoskeletal disorders
http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.in/2009/04/new-way- to-soak- brown-rice.html
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.
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