Whole grains are the staples of human civilization. Refined grains have the phytonutrients largely removed. White rice, as a result, is not highly nutritious (see also here). Brown rice, on the other hand, is a whole grain. Polishing rice from brown to white at one time resulted in an epidemic vitamin B deficiency in Asia; rice bran (the brown part of rice) was used to cure it. Red rice, though, may actually have the most antioxidants of all rice.

Rice grown in water logged soil can absorb arsenic found naturally in the environment, and it concentrates in the bran (which remains when you eat brown rice). If you eat a lot of brown rice, buy American grown, which tends to have lower levels of arsenic. Red yeast rice contains lovastatin, a drug used to combat cholesterol. However, the levels found in red yeast rice are too variable to be a reliable source.

Topic summary contributed by Denise.
To help out on the site, email volunteer@nutritionfacts.org

Page 212