Rice originated in Asia and is believed to have been cultivated in China up to 9000 years ago. Brown rice has had the inedible hull removed but still retains the healthy bran and germ, whereas white rice has had the bran and germ polished off.
White rice flour, while less nutritious, has a delicate neutral flavour and light texture great for use in more refined baked goods. It is still an excellent source of niacin (vitamin B3) and a moderate source of protein, thiamin (vitamin B1) and iron, and easier to digest for those with sensitive digestive systems.
Brown rice flour has a nuttier flavour, and, due to the bran, is high in insoluble fibre which helps regulate the bowels, and is believed to be vital in protecting the body against cancerous cells. It is rich in protein, iron, niacin, thiamin, vitamin D, calcium, thiamine, riboflavin, selenium, magnesium, and is an excellent source of manganese. Manganese aids in the formation of connective tissue, bones, blood-clotting factors, and sex hormones and plays a role in fat and carbohydrate metabolism, calcium absorption, and blood sugar regulation. It is also necessary for normal brain and nerve function, and is a component of the antioxidant MnSOD which helps rid the body of damaging free radicals.
Brown rice's high levels of neurotransmitter nutrients are also thought to prevent Alzheimer's Disease to a considerable extent.