Rice, A Healthy Grain Even for Diabetes

Whether you have diabetes, are at risk, or just know someone with the disease, it’s important to be aware that foods like rice (and beans) can fit into a healthy meal plan. Everyone’s needs are unique. For that reason, it’s always important to first meet with your physician, nutritionist or Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE). That way, you’ll know the appropriate carbohydrate level for your personalized diabetes self-management plan. Here are some important facts about rice (and beans) to know, particularly this time of year.

Healthy Nutrition

  • Rice is a healthy source of complex carbohydrates. With 1/3 cup cooked rice providing 15 grams of carbohydrates, it can be considered diabetes-friendly.
  • Both brown and enriched white rice contribute more than 15 vitamins and minerals, including folic acid and other B vitamins, potassium, magnesium, selenium and fiber (brown), as well as iron and zinc.
  • People who eat rice may have a healthier diet overall. NHANES research looked at specific health indicators and found that people who eat rice daily are more likely to consume a diet consistent with the U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
  • It’s easier to digest than most other grains. Its low acid and gentleness can benefit those with acid reflux.

Weight Management

  • Researchers have shown that eating rice with meals may help you stick to your calorie-controlled eating plan by increasing satiety and making you feel full longer.
  • Brown rice also only has 100 calories per ½ cup serving and is equivalent to one whole grain serving.
  • Both white and brown rice are significant sources of resistant starch – especially if you cook and let it cool before eating.

Recent research shows that resistant starch, or fibers that are less thick and resistant to digestion, may help to prevent certain cancers and promote a healthy body weight.

Rice & Legumes

  • Rice and beans have been a food staple and a regular part of the diet for thousands of years, particularly in China, India, the Middle East, Mexico and Central and South America. Research now shows the many health benefits.
  • Rice and beans both contain soluble fiber. Pairing the two foods together can be helpful for those with diabetes. The fiber in beans can help prevent blood sugar levels from rising rapidly after a meal.