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Brown Rice & Blood Pressure – Should You Still Eat It?

Brown Rice & Blood Pressure - Should You Still Eat It?

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When it comes to improving your health and managing your weight, most people turn to diet and exercise. But what if the food you are eating is actually making things worse? 

Brown rice has long been considered a healthier alternative to white rice; however, recent research has shown that it can have a significant impact on blood pressure levels.

In this article, we’ll look at the science behind brown rice’s effect on blood pressure and whether or not you should still be eating it.

Blood Pressure And Brown Rice Connection 

What exactly is the connection between brown rice and blood pressure? Studies have found that brown rice contains high levels of arsenic, which has been linked to hypertension. 

Arsenic is a naturally occurring element in soil and water, but its concentrations can become dangerously elevated when pesticides and fertilizers are used intensively in rice production. This means that even if you’re eating organic brown rice, there’s still a risk of ingesting too much arsenic.

Potential Role In Lowering Blood Pressure

Despite the arsenic danger,  brown rice has long been known for its potential health benefits, including the potential to lower blood pressure.

Studies have shown that brown rice can help reduce systolic and diastolic blood pressure in people with hypertension. This is due to its high content of magnesium, which helps to relax the muscles around the arteries and increase blood flow. 

Additionally, brown rice contains dietary fiber, which is important for maintaining healthy cholesterol levels, as well as vitamin B6, which plays a role in regulating hormones involved in controlling blood pressure.

In addition to its beneficial nutrients, brown rice may also promote weight loss and reduce inflammation, both of which are associated with lower blood pressure.

Brown rice can be a healthier alternative to white rice because it has a lower glycemic index and is less likely to cause spikes in blood sugar levels.

Furthermore, studies have suggested that regular consumption of brown rice can help reduce body fat percentage and waist circumference.

Overall, while more research is needed on the specific effects of brown rice on lowering blood pressure, it has been linked to numerous other health benefits that could potentially improve overall cardiovascular health.

Eating brown rice as part of a balanced diet could provide an additional benefit for those looking to manage their hypertension or maintain healthy blood pressure levels.

Considerations For People With High Blood Pressure

Despite the potential benefit of brown rice for people with high blood pressure, it’s important to consider potential drawbacks before making it a regular part of your diet.

For example, brown rice is high in carbohydrates and can cause a spike in blood sugar levels if consumed in large quantities.

Additionally, some individuals may have allergies or sensitivities to certain types of grains like brown rice that could cause adverse reactions when eaten.

For those with high blood pressure, it’s best to consult a physician before making any dietary changes or adding new foods to your diet.

Your doctor will be able to give you personalized advice on what foods are best for your overall health and well-being.

They may also recommend other lifestyle modifications such as reducing sodium intake, increasing exercise, and managing stress levels to help control blood pressure levels.

It’s important to remember that brown rice is not a miracle food for people with high blood pressure.

While research suggests it has potential benefits for lowering blood pressure, it’s important to make sure it fits into an overall healthy diet that also includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains.

Eating a balanced diet and leading an active lifestyle is key for maintaining good heart health and managing hypertension.

How To Incorporate Brown Rice Into Your Diet

Brown Rice & Blood Pressure - Should You Still Eat It?

How do you incorporate brown rice into your diet? Here are some tips to help you get started.

First, if time is limited, you can buy pre-cooked brown rice to save time while still getting the same health benefits. When cooking, use one part brown rice to two parts water for a fluffy texture, or one part brown rice to three parts water for a creamier consistency.

Another way to incorporate more brown rice into your diet is by adding it as a side dish or using it in soups and stews. For example, mix cooked vegetables with cooked brown rice for a quick and nutritious meal.

Or add some cooked mushrooms and onions to plain cooked brown rice for an easy side dish that won’t take long to prepare. You can also try adding different seasonings like garlic or herbs for extra flavor.

Brown Rice can also be used as an alternative to pasta or potatoes in many recipes. Try making a stir fry with vegetables and diced chicken over cooked brown rice instead of noodles or mashed potatoes on the side of your favorite fish dish – you might be surprised at how delicious it tastes!

Possible Side Effects Of Eating Too Much Brown Rice

However, with all this said, it is still important to keep in mind that eating too much brown rice can have its own set of risks.

Eating large amounts of rice can cause a rapid rise in blood glucose levels, leading to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes. Additionally, if someone with high blood pressure consumes too much brown rice, it can cause their blood pressure to spike even further.

Furthermore, people should be mindful of consuming large amounts of sodium when eating brown rice. Many packaged or pre-cooked varieties contain significant amounts of sodium which can contribute to an unhealthy rise in blood pressure levels.

It is essential for anyone who has high blood pressure or is at risk for developing it to monitor their sodium intake and opt for low-sodium brands when possible.

Interaction With Medications

It’s important to consider how brown rice consumption can interact with certain medications. For instance, if you’re taking medication to lower your blood pressure, eating brown rice may not be the best choice.

Because of its high fiber content, brown rice can interfere with the absorption of these medications and reduce their effectiveness. It’s best to speak with your doctor before making any dietary changes while taking prescription medications.

In addition to blood pressure medications, consuming brown rice can also interact with other drugs such as those used for diabetes or thyroid disorders. Brown rice contains phytic acid which can bind with certain minerals and prevent their absorption in the body.

This could affect how well the medication works and potentially lead to unwanted side effects. So it’s important to consult your doctor before adding brown rice into your diet if you are taking these types of medications.

If you do decide to eat brown rice while taking certain medications, it’s suggested that you space out the meals and avoid consuming them at the same time. This will help minimize any potential interference between the drugs and food components in brown rice.

Be sure to check with your physician before making any significant changes to your diet while on prescription drugs.


In conclusion, brown rice can be a great addition to a healthy diet, especially for those looking to lower their blood pressure. The fiber, magnesium and other nutrients found in brown rice can help to lower blood pressure and improve overall heart health. 

However, it’s important to remember to watch portion sizes and combine brown rice with other healthy foods, such as lean proteins and fresh fruits and vegetables, to ensure that you are getting a balanced diet.