Monday, March 06, 2006

Rice Bran Lowers Blood Pressure

Scientists in Japan have shown that the waste product of rice processing, called rice bran, significantly lowers blood pressure in rats. Adding rice bran to the diets of hypertensive, stroke-prone rats lowered the animals’ systolic blood pressure by about 20 percent and, via the same mechanism, inhibited angiotensin-1 converting enzyme, or ACE.

It’s still not clear whether simply eating more brown rice, which retains some of its bran, would reduce the risk of heart disease. However, previous research in humans, as well as animals with high cholesterol, does suggest that certain fractions of rice bran can lower levels of unhealthy LDL cholesterol.

Researchers conclude that rice bran fractions appear to have a beneficial dietary component that improves hypertension, hyperlipidemia, and hyperglycemia.

In fact, it may be the rice bran oil, and not the fiber that lowers cholesterol. And, tocotrienols, from rice bran, may reduce atherosclerotic lesion size.

It wouldn't hurt to eat more brown rice.

You can ask your doctor about supplementing with tocotrienols.

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