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Brown Rice Tied to Better Heart Health in Study

Conversion to white rice strips vital ingredient, researchers believe

MONDAY, April 26 (HealthDay News) -- Two kinds of rice -- brown and half-milled rice -- may reduce the risk of heart disease and high blood pressure by interfering with a protein linked to those conditions, research suggests.

In a new study, researchers report that the findings could indicate that brown rice is better than white rice when it comes to protecting the body from high blood pressure and artherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries).

"Our research suggests that there is a potential ingredient in rice that may be a good starting point for looking into preventive medicine for cardiovascular diseases," said researcher Satoru Eguchi, an associate professor of physiology at Temple University School of Medicine in Philadelphia.

Eguchi and colleagues said their experiments show that an ingredient in brown rice appears to combat a protein known as angiotensin II that contributes to high blood pressure and clogged arteries.

The ingredient is in a layer of rice that is stripped away when brown rice is converted to white rice. But the layer can be preserved in half-milled (Haigamai) and incompletely milled (Kinmemai) rice, which are popular in Japan.

The study is slated to be released at the Experimental Biology annual conference, April 24-28, in Anaheim, Calif.

More information

The U.S. National Library of Medicine has details on nutrition.

-- Randy Dotinga

SOURCE: Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, news release, April 26, 2010

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