Polishing Rice Takes the Shine off Blood Pressure Health Benefit

Thousands of years ago, humans began scrubbing off and discarding the outer layer of long-grain rice, preferring the polished white kernel beneath instead. However, researchers at  Tohoku   University and  Japan ‘s National Research Institute of Brewing have demonstrated that this lost component of our diet can have a similar effect to common antihypertensive drugs, such as “ACE” inhibitors, but without the associated side-effects.

The team has demonstrated that adding rice bran to the diets of hypertensive, stroke-prone rats lowered the animals’ systolic blood pressure by about 20 percent through the same moder of action that makes ACE (angiotensin-1 converting enzyme) inhibitors so effective.

It’s still not clear whether simply eating more brown rice, which retains some of its bran, would reduce the risk of heart disease. However, previous research in humans, as well as animals with high cholesterol, does suggest that certain fractions of rice bran can lower levels of unhealthy LDL cholesterol.

The Tohoku study adds antihypertensive activity to the picture, along with a host of other biochemical markers that track blood glucose (implicated in diabetes), lipid profile, kidney function and the harmful effects of free radicals.

SOURCE: American Chemical Society press release