Throughout the globe, over 600 million tons of rice is harvested, providing a staple food for around 70 percent of the world. The outer layer of the rice grain, the bran, is often used medicinally for a variety of health problems. However, the ingestion of rice may can have some negative side effects.
When you eat a single ounce of uncooked rice bran, you ingest only 88 calories while receiving 6 g of dietary fiber, which is almost a 25 percent of the recommended daily intake of fiber. While rice bran is high in fat content at nearly 6 g, only about 1 g of that fat total comes from saturated fats. An ounce of rice bran also provides you with about 4 g of protein. Along with being a good source of fiber, rice bran provides you with over 100 antioxidants as well as phyrosterols and tocotrienols, which help fight disease.
People use rice bran to treat and prevent different diseases and illnesses, either topically or orally. Treat skin rashes caused by an allergic reaction by applying rice bran to the skin. The phyrosterols in rice bran may lower high cholesterol when you consume 85 g of full-fat rice bran during a low-fat diet. Other people eat rice bran to treat diabetes, high blood pressure, alcoholism, obesity and AIDS. The ingestion of this type of bran may also help prevent stomach cancer, colon cancer, kidney stones in people with high levels of calcium and cardiovascular disease. Rice bran might strengthen your immune system, increase your energy levels and improve liver function as well. However, more research is needed to determine if any of these rice bran uses are effective.
WebMD recognizes rice bran as a safe food for the majority of people when eaten or applied to the skin. However, some people suffer side effects. If you add rice bran to your diet, you may experience irregular bowel movements, intestinal gas and stomach discomfort during the first week or two. If used in a bath, rice bran may cause itching and redness. On rare occasions, you may develop a rash due to bran infested with straw itch mites.
Pregnancy and breast-feeding women can safely ingest rice bran found in food, but should avoid eating large amounts of bran for medicinal purposes until further research can be conducted on its safety for fetuses and infants. If you suffer from a gastrointestinal condition such as intestinal ulcers or adhesions, do not eat rice bran. The fiber content of the rice bran may obstruct your digestive track. The fiber may also cause choking if you have trouble swallowing. Consult your doctor before taking rice bran if you take any orally medication, since rice bran can alter how the body absorbs the medicine.