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Health, Beauty & Fashion

Brown and healthy

You can eat more healthily by having vegetarian food with brown rice instead of white rice
The Straits Times - February 16, 2012
By: Lee Hui Chieh
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Brown and healthy -- ST PHOTO: ASHLEIGH SIM

There is vegetarian food, and then there is vegetarian food with brown rice, which ups the ante even more in the health stakes.

Brown rice is a whole grain, which means only the hard outer shell of the husk has been removed.

White rice, on the other hand, has been refined by removing the top layer of bran and the embryo of the seed called the germ, which contains vitamins, minerals and fibre. Only the endosperm, which is the tissue surrounding the germ and supplying mainly starch, is left.

As whole grains such as brown rice contain more fibre, they take longer to be digested. This reduces a person's risk of overeating and keeps the blood sugar level steady, which is beneficial for diabetics. Eating whole grains has also been shown to reduce a person's risk of developing certain types of cancer and heart disease.

Similarly, other types of plant produce, including vegetables and fruits, are also rich in vitamins, fibre and beneficial plant substances called phytochemicals. Eating more of these helps lower the risk of developing some forms of cancer.

Eight Immortals Vegetarian (Ba Xian Su Shi Yuan in Chinese), which runs 19 Chinese vegetarian food stalls in foodcourts and coffee shops here, offers the option of brown rice to go with their greens.

Since last October, its stall in Compass Point in Sengkang has been serving a lower-calorie $4 set meal, which comprises brown rice, a choice of two types of vegetables and a type of soya bean curd.

It did this when it was invited by the Health Promotion Board (HPB) to join the Healthy Hawker Programme.

The set meal provides fewer than 510 calories, which is less than 25 per cent of a typical adult's daily requirement, so one is less likely to overeat. The HPB recommends 2,500 calories a day for a man, and 2,050 calories a day for a woman, if they are aged 30 to 59 and have a light activity level.

Seven in 10 customers ask for brown rice, up from five in 10 previously, said the cook at the Compass Point stall, Mr W.S. Tee, 27.

Just a third of the 26 dishes on sale are fried and no oil is used for the rest as they are mostly blanched or braised, he added.

The cabbage and broccoli served were certainly crunchy enough to prove they had been cooked with a light hand.

The braised soya bean curd came covered in sauce that was thin but savoury.

This sauce moistened and flavoured the dry brown rice and made it more palatable.

This is just the sort of food one needs after a weekend of over indulgence.

Mind Your Body paid for the meal

 

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