What is rice bran or rice germ?
What is the benefit of rice bran?
Did you know that an oil can be produced from the rice bran and rice germ?
What is rice bran oil?
Is rice bran oil good or bad?
Have you eaten the rice bran oil?
If yes, what are your takes on it?
Are you aware of the health benefits of rice bran oil?
Did you know that the stabilized soluble rice bran and rice germ is rated the number one superfood in the world?
Well, these are some key questions you might want to pause for a while and answer for yourself.  Finding answers to these aforementioned questions will give you insights on what this distinctive oil is all about. Peradventure you are oblivious that anything like rice oil exists, then here are some eye-opening facts you need to be aware of this oil. Firstly, it will interest you to know that functional foods continue to gain global attraction due to their numerous health benefits. Rice is a cosmopolitan food that is consumed virtually in every part of the globe. A vital by-product of rice milling is the rice bran (RB), which comprises the rice germ, aleurone layer and rice endosperm.
Rice bran continues to gain global attention due to its remarkable nutritional and medicinal properties. It is a rich constituent of several micronutrients like flavonoid compounds, high valued protein, phytosterols, bioactive phytochemicals, antioxidants, γ-oryzanol, carbohydrate, tocols (tocopherols and tocotrienols), dietary fibres such as pectin, gum, beta-glucan, 20% oil and fat. The brownish hard outer layer of rice that is removed from the fine grain during de-husking and milling of paddy is the rice bran. It comprises mainly of pericarp and aleurone. Previously, rice bran is mainly used as animal feed but this is no longer the case as it is now gaining wider attraction due to its utilization for the production of rice bran oil. During the polishing process of rice, a distinctive oil rich in antioxidants is usually generated from its outer layer. This oil is referred to as the Rice Bran Oil (RBO). Crude rice bran oil contains 80% of glycerides and lesser percentages of waxes, phospholipids, free fatty acids and glycolipids.
Due to the nutritional and remarkable health benefits of this distinctive oil, it has now been categorised as a functional food or a health food especially in the Western world. Rice bran oil or heart oil is commonly used in countries like Japan, Thailand, Korea, Taiwan and China. Due to its distinctive flavour and high smoke point characteristics, this oil has now found its place in the kitchen as a cooking oil and as a salad oil. Several interesting studies have proven the hypolipidemic ability of the rice bran oil in both humans, primates and rodents. Rice bran oil contains a high amount of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats and it lacks trans-fats. Rice bran oil is used both in the food, pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries.

Meanwhile, Watch this Short Clip on the Amazing Benefits of Rice Bran Oil.

Here are the Reasons why the Rice Bran Oil is Highly Beneficial:

- It contains the ideal fat for human consumption.
- The gamma oryzanol in RBO tackles the menopause issues in women.
- The gamma oryzanol reduces the thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) in hypothyroid patients.
- Rice Bran Oil is often utilized for producing sports supplements used by athletes, bodybuilders and muscle developers.
- Due to its hypoallergenic effect, the rice bran oil is considered a better alternative for individuals with an intolerance to other cooking oils.
- Because it is less greasy i.e. creates fewer polymers unlike the other oils, it is easy to clean up and it is highly flavorful.
- The vitamin E found in the rice bran oil is useful for boosting the neurological functioning and for balancing the endocrine hormones.
- Being an excellent source of mono-unsaturated fats, it is considered effective for reducing LDL (bad cholesterol) by approximately 7 to 10%.
- The oil boosts the immune system due to the high amount of phytosterols and gamma oryzanol found in it. By boosting the immune system, the oil protects the body against diseases.
- The oryzanol in rice bran oil improves the capillary action of the blood vessels, exhibits anti-dandruff potentials, exhibits anti-itching effects and exhibits anti-ageing properties.
- It has a very high smoke (burn) point, thus suitable for deep frying, stir frying or pan frying. The high smoke point of up to 213C prevents fatty acid breakdown at high temperatures.
- The high amount of the phytochemical oryzanol in rice bran oil exhibits cholesterol reducing property by increasing the bile excretion. It is equally useful for reducing the triglycerides while improving the good cholesterol ratio (HDL) against the bad cholesterol (LDL). It is worthy to note that the good cholesterol is highly essential for a healthy heart.
- The high amount of squalene, gamma-oryzanol, tocopherol, phytosterols and tocotrienol in rice bran oil exhibits high antioxidant properties against free radicals. It is worthy to note that gamma oryzanol is 4x more powerful than tocopherols in inhibiting cellular oxidation.
- Rice bran oil helps to maintain a glowing skin. This feature is attributed to its rich constituents of tocotrienols and squalene, which helps to soften and repair the skin. The oil also offers protection against the harmful UV rays, thus can be used as a sunscreen.
- Studies reveal that the rice bran oil helps to prevent cancer due to its high antioxidant properties. The antioxidant properties of RBO are due to the presence of gamma oryzanol that has a ferulic acid-like structure. The oryzanol tackles the cancer-causing free radicals thereby hindering the onset of cancer.
How to Process the Rice Bran Oil
The key methods of processing the RBO are dewaxing, degumming, neutralisation, bleaching and deodorisation. Crude RBO cannot be used for cooking immediately after extraction due to the presence of free fatty acids and waxes that usually smoke and burn when heated. Therefore, the oil undergoes some refining processes to make it suitable for cooking purposes. The oil is usually processed in the absence of chemicals so as to retain its essential health-beneficial nutrients such as Oryzanol. The oil is best processed by first dewaxing and degumming before being neutralized. Dewaxing is carried out by treating with hexane or solvents after which the separated wax is removed either by centrifugation or filtration method. Afterwards, the oil is then degummed.
Side Effects of the Rice Bran Oil
Notwithstanding the remarkable health benefits of the rice bran oil, it has some side effects.
- The main issue with the rice bran oil is that it lacks the omega-3-fatty acids.
- The oil contains a high amount of omega-6-fatty acids, which can exhibit adverse effects on health. Researchers reveal that a high intake of omega-6-fatty acids can potentially increase both prostate and breast cancer.
- Studies reveal that RBO reduces the blood calcium in the body and this raises alarm for individuals suffering from hypocalcemia (lack of calcium in the bloodstream).
- Rice bran also contains a high amount of arsenic, thus necessitates further studies. Arsenic is a naturally occurring metal element that is usually found in the soil, air and water. This is mainly absorbed by certain food crops while growing and they cannot be totally removed from the water we drink or the food we eat.
- Other side effects of rice bran include flatulence, abdominal pain and gas.
This post is for enlightenment purposes only and should not be used as a replacement for professional diagnostic and treatments. Remember to always consult your healthcare provider before making any health-related decisions or for counselling, guidance and treatment about a specific medical condition.
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- Google Images (2018), commons.wikimedia, labelled for reuse.
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- Wang, Y.-X., Li, Y., Sun, A.-M., Wang, F.-J., & Yu, G.-P. (2014). Hypolipidemic and Antioxidative Effects of Aqueous Enzymatic Extract from Rice Bran in Rats Fed a High-Fat and -Cholesterol Diet. Nutrients, 6(9), 3696–3710. http://doi.org/10.3390/nu6093696
- Zúñiga-Diaz et al., (2017), Oil Extraction from (Morelos Rice) Bran: Kinetics and Raw Oil Stability, Hindawi Journal of Chemistry Volume 2017, Article ID 3837506, 9 pages https://doi.org/10.1155/2017/3837506.

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