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Health Benefits of White Rice
White Rice
The U.S. Department of Agriculture classifies rice as part of the grains food group -- each cup of cooked steamed white rice contributes 2 ounces toward the daily recommended 6 and 7 ounces for women and men, respectively. While steamed white rice pales in comparison to whole-grain varieties of rice when it comes to nutritional value, it serves as a good source of a couple beneficial nutrients. Consume steamed white rice in moderation and combine it with nutrient-packed foods to incorporate it into a healthy diet.
Steamed white rice is relatively high in calories. Each cup of loosely packed rice contains 199 calories -- 13 or 10 percent of your daily calorie intake based on a 1,500- and 2,000-calorie diet, respectively. Most of these calories -- approximately 87 percent -- come from the rice's carbohydrate content. The carbs in rice break down into sugar in your digestive tract, and your body uses that sugar as a source of energy. Steamed white rice also contains 4 grams of protein, and less than a gram of fat.
Health Benefits
Consuming steamed white rice helps boost your intake of zinc, an essential mineral. Hundreds of proteins in your body -- including proteins that control gene activity, support tissue structure and boost your metabolism -- rely on zinc to function. Getting enough zinc in your diet supports reproductive health, and zinc also boosts your immune system so that you can fend off infection. Each cup of steamed white rice contains 0.9 milligrams of zinc. This makes up 11 percent of the recommended daily intake for women and 8 percent for men, according to recommendations from the Institute of Medicine.
You'll also consume a significant amount of manganese by including steamed white rice in your diet. Each 1-cup serving boasts 0.6 milligrams of manganese -- approximately one-quarter of the recommended daily intake for men and one-third for women, set by the Institute of Medicine. Like zinc, manganese activates a number of proteins needed for cell function. It allows your body to derive energy from nutrients, boosts collagen production to support wound healing and acts as an antioxidant to prevent cell damage.