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 affected 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 being 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).
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
- It is easily digested and absorbed by the body.
- 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).
- 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:
- Promotes fat loss by the stimulation of the production of human growth hormones
- Increases the sleep cycle giving deeper rest
- Boosts the immune system
- Lowers Blood Pressure
- Assists the treatment of anxiety disorders
- 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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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