Consuming a single serving of rice bran — the outer covering of the rice grain — may provide more than half of a person's daily requirements of important vitamins such as thiamine, niacin and vitamin B6, and help tackle nutrition shortages — a major global health concern, researchers say.
The study found that rice bran, which is removed from whole grain rice during processing and used as animal feed, contains 453 metabolites, including 65 that had been shown to have potential medicinal and health promoting attributes and 16 that had not been reported for rice bran before.
"We were surprised to find that cofactors, vitamins and amino acids make up almost 50 per cent of the total small molecule content in rice bran," said Elizabeth Ryan, Professor at the Colorado State University.
"Rice is an essential staple food for more than half of the world's population. It is grown in more than 100 countries. Rice bran as a food ingredient could deliver more than 400 individual compounds when consumed and it is likely that many of them function in a teamwork manner to deliver health benefits," Ryan said.
For the study, published in the journal Rice, the team assessed three US rice varieties that were previously used in human dietary intervention trials.
The researchers also identified some compounds in rice bran, which had been previously studied to have anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial and anti-hypertensive properties, among others.
Rice bran was also found to have a protein content of 12-15 per cent that deserves attention as it could help tackle nutrition shortages that are a major global health concern, the researchers said.