“What is sprouted brown rice?” “How do you sprout rice?” “What’s the benefit?” “Is it healthier?”
These are all typical responses I get the first time I tell someone about or show someone sprouted brown rice. While most of us are unfamiliar with sprouted brown rice, sprouting rice is actually a very simple idea. Sprouted brown rice is simply brown rice that is tricked into thinking that it's time to grow into a plant. We place brown rice in a warm, humid environment which encourages the germ (the corner of the rice kernel where life begins) to start the growth process. The rice kernel effectively flips a switch, where its sole purpose is now focused on creating new life. The germ begins pumping vitamins, nutrients and amino acids into the rice kernel in preparation for growth. When the maximum possible nutrition in the rice kernel is reached, we cool it down, locking in all the added vitamins, nutrients and amino acids.
While there are many different vitamins and amino acids that are increased during the sprouting process, one specific amino acid has garnished a lot of attention: Gamma Aminobuteric Acid (GABA). It’s difficult to delve into every benefit of GABA simply because there are so many claims, but the most pronounced claims are that it lowers anxiety and promotes calmness. There are also claims associated with preventing memory loss, helping with hypertension and even claims about overall brain function. There is still a lot of research to be done on GABA, but so far, it looks very exciting and is definitely something to watch.
While the added nutrition is exciting, it is only one of the many benefits to sprouting brown rice. Convenience in cooking rice is important, and we all know that brown rice takes longer to cook than white rice. This is because along with the added vitamins, fiber and protein found in the bran layer of brown rice, the bran layer also contains oil, and we all know oil and water don’t mix. Sprouting brown rice however, will soften the bran layer which shortens the overall cooking time, giving you a super healthy option that is also convenient. Another benefit aside from nutrition is taste. Through all the samples we have given away, the feedback on the taste has been one of the most encouraging. People absolutely love the slightly softer and nutty taste the sprouted brown rice provides.
As a final note, something that I find very interesting from the standpoint of a rice mill is that sales of brown rice are a mere fraction of sales of white rice. This tells me that while there is a lot of hype and talk about eating brown rice, most people choose the convenience and taste of white rice. White rice is still a healthy option, but I believe that the added nutrition combined with the added convenience and taste of sprouted brown rice could potentially lead us to the day that we can finally say brown rice sales outnumber white rice sales. Of course, you can’t just take my word for it. Try it for yourself!