Prior to the discovery of the benefits of rice bran, it was considered as a waste product or just a by-product of the rice milling process. It was used to feed livestock. The Japanese are an exception though. For centuries, they have been using rice bran as a skin care product to attain their unblemished complexion.
Rice bran is the brown layer that is removed from white rice. Crude rice bran contains protein, carbohydrate, proteins, amino acids and a high amount of dietary fiber. There are also vitamins and minerals such as vitamin K, calcium, phosphorus potassium, niacin, folate and choline. And there are lutein and zeaxanthin which are carotenoids, alpha tocopherol, vitamin E, amino acids and saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids.
Most part of the world is now aware of the rice bran benefits. You can find products such as stabilized rice bran oil, rice bran cereal, rice bran moisturizer and shampoo being sold in the market.
Rice bran contains antioxidants. Antioxidants help counteract the effect of free radicals which may be caused by tobacco smoke or pollutants, exposure to radiation and the sun or high fat diets. All these can lead to illness and diseases such as cancer and heart disease.
The tocotrienols in rice bran may help in lowering LDL or bad cholesterol level. This will result in better heart health.
Healthy adults require between 90mcg to 120mcg of phylloquinone or vitamin K1. Rice bran oil contains this fat soluble vitamin. Vitamin K is required for the functioning of several proteins involved in blood clotting.
The B complex vitamins such as niacin and thiamine will help improve blood circulations.
The dietary fiber in rice bran may help lower bad cholesterol levels. Fiber may also help with constipation and digestion and restores regularity.
Hair care products use rice bran because it contains proteins that can help strengthen hair shaft and prevent split ends.
One of the other benefits of rice bran is it helps to improve the shelf life of meat products. And at the same time it enhances the nutritional value of the products since rice bran contains many nutrients.
Rice bran oil is ideal for deep frying. This is because it has high flash point and low smoke. What it means is it does not break down easily to glycerol and fatty acids at high temperature. Another one of the benefits of rice bran oil is that you use less of it for cooking and the food fried absorbs less of its oil. Rice bran oil makes a healthy ingredient in salad dressing.
Rice bran is still used to feed livestock, horses and deer. But it is now confirmed that humans too will benefit greatly from including rice bran in their diets.