Brown rice may protect against heart diseaseAnd high blood pressure
Rice is often recommended as part of a healthy diet as it can be a source of fibre, although many nutritionists would point out that in its common white form it has little dietary value, and that we should instead eat brown rice. This advice has been given a boost by new research which shows that brown rice may offer protection from high blood pressure and atherosclerosis ("hardening of the arteries").
The research suggests that a component in a layer of tissue surrounding grains of brown rice may work against angiotensin II – a protein which is a known culprit in the development of high blood pressure and atherosclerosis.
Unfortunately the layer of the rice containing this component is polished away when brown rice is processed to make white rice – as are may other nutrients contained in the rice. However some forms of Japanese rice maintain at least part of the layer, for instance half-milled (Haigamai) rice or incompletely-milled (Kinmemai) rice.
Researchers from Nagaoka National College of Technology Department of Materials Engineering in Japan investigated the effects of the various components of the rice layer and found that some of them could indeed inhibit the effects of angiotensin II, which suggests that this layer of brown rice could offer protection against it.
This may also be a part explanation of why fewer people die of cardiovascular disease in Japan, where most people eat at least one rice-based dish per day, than in the U.S., where rice is not a primary component of daily nutrition. Leader of the study, Dr. Eguchi, commented “our research suggests that there is a potential ingredient in rice that may be a good starting point for looking into preventive medicine for cardiovascular diseases.”
The results will be presented at the annual 2010 Experimental Biology conference in Anaheim.
This article was published on Tue 27 April 2010
Image © Daniel Gilbey - Fotolia.com
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