Your PCOS Diet Plan Can Include Brown Rice

Some of you have a copy of The Natural Diet Solution for PCOS and Infertility.   It's a diet intended to help you control PCOS.  

But it’s a strict diet that can be hard to follow, even though many have reported good results with it.

One of the biggest problems with this diet is that it takes away nearly all of your grains and legumes, including rice, corn, soy, and gluten grains like wheat.  What you're left with is a diet that has similarities to various Paleo diets.  Not a lot of fun for those of us who enjoy our carbs!

Well, here's some relief from this grain restriction.

This diet book does not adequately discuss the pros and cons of rice.  It's clear that refined white rice and instant rice should be avoided because of its high glycemic index and empty calories.  But research since the book was written clearly shows that brown and other colored rice offers some interesting benefits that shouldn't be ignored.

Beneficial Types of Rice for PCOS

In short, the following types of rice appear to be OK to consume:

  • Brown rice.
  • Black/purple rice.
  • Red rice.
  • Germinated (sprouted) brown rice.
  • Fermented rice (any color except white).

So you can take the recipes in the diet book and modify them a bit to include modest amounts of colored or germinated rice.  Doing so should make some of the meals more palatable, especially if you have a hankering for grains. 

What Does the Research Say about Rice?

OK, so what does the research say about rice?

Isfahan University of Medical Sciences in Iran recently published a study of overweight women.  The women consumed the same diet except that one group ate 150 grams of brown rice for six weeks while the other group ate white rice.  Then, after a two week hiatus, the groups switched, with the brown rice group eating white rice and vice versa. 

The result?  When the women were consuming brown rice instead of white rice, their weight went down, their waists got smaller, their blood pressure dropped, and they had less inflammation.  The white rice offered no benefits at all.

Whole brown rice is loaded with a bunch of important nutrients, such as vitamins, magnesium and other minerals, fiber, essential fatty acids, gamma-oryzanol and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA).

These nutrients benefit the body in numerous ways.

Take magnesium for example.  It's needed for more than 300 biochemical reactions in your body.  It also helps to reduce insulin resistance.  And, studies have suggested that women with PCOS are lower than other women in this critical nutrient.  In this Iranian study, magnesium levels where higher when the women were eating brown rice instead of white.

Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress Is a Problem for PCOS Women

But there's more…much more.

The fiber and other substance in brown rice help to promote beneficial bacteria in your gut.  An imbalance of gut bacteria has been associated with obesity, PCOS and a variety of other disorders.

And, animal studies conducted at the University of the Ryukyus in Japan and elsewhere suggest that brown rice reduces "endoplasmic reticulum" (ER) stress.  It's a tongue-twister -- but very important.

The ER is a sub-unit of most of your cells.  It synthesizes and folds protein into certain molecular patterns.  But when this process goes awry because of advanced glycation or other problems, proteins can be misfolded or become unfolded.  This is called ER stress.  If the ER stress is not relieved, the impaired function of the cell could cause it to die.

It's like you put your shoes on your hands and your gloves on your feet.  You then try to drive your car to work with shoes on your hands but lose control and get into a fatal accident. 

Interestingly, components of brown rice (such as gamma-oryzanol) have been shown to reduce ER stress, especially in the hypothalamus gland inside your brain.  One of the jobs of your hypothalamus is to help regulate your appetite and feelings of satiety. 

ER stress impairs the ability of the hypothalamus to regulate your food intake and energy levels.  It contributes to inflammation, insulin resistance, and leptin resistance in this vitally important gland.  It also can cause you to prefer eating fatty foods.

Have You Heard of "Germinated Brown Rice"?

Here's one more tantalizing bit of research germinated brown rice before we wrap this up.  The Universiti Putra Malaysia in Malaysia gave one group of rats germinated brown rice and the others had white rice.  The researchers said that the germinated brown rice "reduced plasma glucose (blood sugar) and weight more than metformin, while white rice worsened glycemia over 4 weeks of intervention." 

Could this be true for humans?  Could germinated (sprouted) brown rice be more effective than the drug metformin?  It appears that germinated brown rice affects some of the same genes that metformin does.  More research is obviously needed, but germinated brown rice is generally beneficial and has no side effects.

Bottom line?  If you're going to eat a grain, brown (or red or black) rice is a good choice.  Germinated brown rice may be especially helpful.  Colored rice and germinated rice is available in some grocery stores.  Also, brown rice components such as gamma-oryzanol, rice bran oil or rice bran are supplemental items to consider.

And by the way, fermented brown rice has anti-cancer properties as shown in lab animal experiments, even in pancreatic cancer, which is virtually incurable.

Other Related Articles

Kazemzadeh M et al. Effect of Brown Rice Consumption on Inflammatory Marker and Cardiovascular Risk Factors among Overweight and Obese Non-menopausal Female Adults. Int J Prev Med. 2014 Apr;5(4):478-88.
Piperi C et al. Crosstalk between advanced glycation and endoplasmic reticulum stress: emerging therapeutic targeting for metabolic diseases. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2012 Jul;97(7):2231-42.
Kozuka C et al. Brown rice and its component, gamma-oryzanol, attenuate the preference for high-fat diet by decreasing hypothalamic endoplasmic reticulum stress in mice. Diabetes. 2012 Dec;61(12):3084-93.
Imam MU et al. Nutrigenomic effects of germinated brown rice and its bioactives on hepatic gluconeogenic genes in type 2 diabetic rats and HEPG2 cells. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2013 Mar;57(3):401-11.
Kuno T et al. Preventive effects of fermented brown rice and rice bran against N-nitrosobis (2-oxopropyl) amine-induced pancreatic tumorigenesis in male hamsters. Oncol Lett. 2015 Dec;10(6):3377-3384.
Kozuka C et al. Natural food science based novel approach toward prevention and treatment of obesity and type 2 diabetes: recent studies on brown rice and ?-oryzanol. Obes Res Clin Pract. 2013 May-Jun;7(3):e165-72.

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