As a staple food crop rice caters to the energy needs of more than 4 billion people around the globe. Since the 1980s, rice breeding focused on breeding for superior grain quality with good texture, taste, palatability and aroma. The recent rise in double burden nutrition challenges suggests that there is a pressing need to focus on incorporating nutritional traits also in rice breeding efforts. The present rice based diet contains nutritional gaps mainly due to the milling process which removes health promoting compounds present in rice bran. Therefore, less milled or brown rice consumption is highly recommended to achieve nutrition sustainability. Brown rice contains relatively higher amounts of dietary fibre, moderate amount of proteins, unsaturated lipids, micronutrients and several bioactive compounds. Some landraces consumed as brown rice have low glycemic index properties; hence they might be helpful to counter the growing type II diabetes. Colored rice varieties with red or purple pericarps are known to possess high levels of bioactive compounds such as cyanidin-3-glucoside, various flavanoids and γ-oryzanol. Germinated brown rice has more potential health benefits, for example, 10-fold of γ-aminobutyric acid than milled rice. For future nutritional intervention, we recommend further explorations into the nutritional value of brown rice as well as to modify the endosperm for enhanced nutrition without altering the texture to ensure consumer acceptance.
Keywords: bioactive compounds; brown rice; coloured rice; landraces; protein content.