Health benefits of coloured rice

Research output: Other contribution to conferencePresentation only


Globally obesity rates are at epidemic proportions. In particular, studies have demonstrated obese individuals to have higher baseline profiles of inflammation and free radical damage commonly termed as oxidative stress. As a result of increased inflammation and oxidative stress, obesity has been significantly correlated with the development of other diseases including type II diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular disease, hypertension and a majority of cancers. Healthier lifestyle choices are not always effective in combating obesity. Therefore, to overcome the obesity epidemic, therapeutic treatments are required, however, there are limited pharmaceutical treatments for obesity. A majority of drug treatments have been unsuccessful due to adverse side effects questioning safety concerns, thereby creating a high demand for alternative therapeutic options. The incorporation of functional foods with bioactive properties into diets may serve as a potential complementary alternative for obesity treatment.

Rice is a staple food consumed at least once a day by more than half of the world’s population and is
cultivated in over 100 countries including Australia. Specifically, coloured rice varieties have been demonstrated to possess anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties thus presenting rice as a potential candidate for nutraceutical and/or functional food alternatives. In particular, red and black coloured wholegrain rice varieties have been demonstrated to have therapeutic characteristics that have been attributed to the presence of polyphenols. Polyphenols are a subclass of phytochemicals that are predominant in grains, fruits, and vegetables. Incorporation of polyphenols into diets through rice consumption could be a potential solution for reducing the incidence of obesity. Therefore, it is fundamental for rice breeding programs to develop rice cultivars that not only appeal to consumers in taste and texture attributes but are also enriched with polyphenols with potentially elevated antioxidant and anti-inflammatory capacity. My work aims to identify which Australian coloured rice varieties contain the most therapeutic potential in alleviating obesity-related oxidative stress and inflammation.

The outcomes of this project deeply align with EvokeAG ethos of Food, Farm and Future. It is critical to highlight to health-conscious consumers that grains, when consumed as whole-grains, can serve as functional foods to meet their culinary and nutritional needs. The outcomes of this work are of the utmost significance as it may facilitate the development of rice cultivars that are enhanced with polyphenols that can alleviate obesity-related oxidative stress and inflammation. This in turn could benefit the Australian rice industry as increases in demand for a “therapeutic rice” will enhance Australia’s competitiveness in the global rice market. Furthermore, future generations will be enabled to live healthy lives by incorporating functional foods into their diet preventing them from developing chronic diseases such as type II diabetes and heart disease.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 20 Feb 2019
EventEvokeAg - Royal Exhibition Building, Melbourne, Australia
Duration: 19 Jun 201920 Jun 2019


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