For numerous people in various countries, white rice has been the most common daily menu. However, researchers found that white rice is not really a good choice for people with diabetes or those who are concern about their cholesterol level. Although in moderation white rice will not likely to boost cholesterol level, people which are more prone to increasing cholesterol level might tightly control their desire of consuming white rice.
Is white rice healthy?
White rice is basically a good source of calories. Most of the calories provided by white rice come from carbohydrates. White rice also contains fiber and protein, which is needed for the body to perform proper digestion. Although in lower level than brown rice, white rice contains selenium and magnesium, two beneficial antioxidants. This Asian staple food also contains high level of iron and a sufficient level of folic acid, which is good for promoting healthy red blood cells. However, during the past years, white rice is suspected to be able to raise cholesterol level and claimed to be less healthy than the brown one.
Is white rice bad for cholesterol?
White rice is a processed whole grains, which leaves only the endosperms—the too easy digestible starch. Any sugar intake will likely to cause elevating cholesterol level, including sugar from white rice and potatoes. Some relations between white rice and elevating cholesterol level is illustrated as:
- Processed foods, such as white rice, refined sugar, white flour, and bread are lowest in nutrients and can easily cause obesity and diabetes. This is caused by the absence of fiber, which make the refined foods easily broken into sugar in the blood, instead of nutritious substances.
- In our digestion system, white rice is similar to sugar. It has most of its nutrients removed when processed, and thus, it is simply broken into sugar when digested. This will raise the level of blood sugar, and the raise can be dramatic when a large amount of white rice and other carbohydrates are consumed.
- In white rice, there is only a very level of fiber compared to brown rice. Since the fiber level is low, white rice is absorbed too quickly, which elevates the level of glucose, triglycerides, and insulin in blood.
- Glucose is attached to LDL—the bad cholesterol in the blood, rises its level, and stay longer in the bloodstream, causing sticky plaques around the artery walls. This increases the risk of having a heart attack and other cardiovascular diseases.
- Triglycerides, in addition, contribute to hardening of the arteries walls, causing similar effect to raised glucose level in the bloodstream.
- Insulin is responsible for producing fats and one of those fats is cholesterol. Hence, a higher level of insulin necessarily means a higher level of cholesterol, too.Foods with high level of carbohydrate—white rice included, provide raw material for cholesterol production in the cells. Hence, the level of insulin intake should be watched carefully.
- Once arteries are thickening or hardening, you are more likely to have blockage in the blood passage, which contributes to suffering from cardiovascular diseases, such as heart attack and stroke.
Controlling cholesterol level
It has been widely known that high cholesterol level contributes to the risk of various cardiovascular diseases which can be life-threatening. Hence, it is important to control cholesterol level—as well as the glucose, triglycerides, and insulin production, in order to keep the blood sugar low. White rice intake does not have to be stopped at all, but should be minimized. Here are some tips on controlling cholesterol level:
- Replace white rice with brown one, which has higher fiber level and lower carbohydrate level. If you insist on eating white rice, consume not more than three ounces per day.
- Reduce processed food intake, such as white flour, white bread, and other high processed foods.
- Cut back calories intake, which will inhibit triglyceride raising level.
- Limit alcohol intake.
- Consume more fruits and vegetables.
- Exercise regularly. Being active will inhibit raised LDL level and increase the level of HDL in the blood. Do a 30-minute aerobics every day, which include jogging, walking, swimming, and biking.