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Brown Rice, GBR or GABA Rice and its Health Benefits

Updated on September 29, 2011

Gaba Rice or Germinated Brown Rice

People around the world have probably been eating GBR (Germinated Brown Rice) for thousands of years, however, what we now call GBR or GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid – an essential amino acid) was “discovered” in 2004 as part of the United Nation’s Year of Rice research. It has since become an important health craze in many parts of the world.

This GABA or Germinated Brown Rice has drawn a lot of attention for its health benefits. Interest in this amazing product continues to grow as more people become aware of the powerful effects this simple food can provide.

GABA rice has been steadily gaining a following among those searching for ways to improve their health and it is now becoming widely accepted not only in Asia, but in the U.S. and around the world, as well.

How to Cook GABA Rice or GBR Rice

GABA Molecule

Brown Rice

Brown Rice - This is a file from the Wikimedia Commons.Author Dan McKay
Brown Rice - This is a file from the Wikimedia Commons.Author Dan McKay

GBR or GABA Rice

Germinated Brown Rice or GABA Rice
Germinated Brown Rice or GABA Rice

GABA Rice Cookers and Extras


GABA rice is brown rice that is nutritionally enhanced, naturally, by germination. This rice has a much larger amount of the naturally occurring amino acid gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). By germinating the brown rice prior to cooking, GABA, lysine (another amino acid), tocotrienols, magnesium and zinc are all significantly increased. Researchers have found that GABA rice has many health benefits.

GBR has twice the GABA of regular brown rice, and ten times the GABA of white rice, from 6 to 40 mg of GABA per 100 grams of rice. GABA is a neurotransmitter blocker that promotes fat loss by stimulating the production of the Human Growth Hormone; increases the sleep cycle, giving deeper rest; boots the immune system; lowers blood pressure; inhibits development of cancer cells and helps in the treatment of anxiety disorders. GABA has a calming affect that has often been described as a natural valium and the effects are noticeable. GABA is also directly responsible for the regulation of muscle tone and is believed to play a part in memory retention. Research has also shown that GABA brown rice extract has healed cirrhosis of the liver and damaged kidneys in mice; something powerful is happening with this germinated brown rice (GBR).

To make GABA, you need to start with brown rice. White rice has had the hull removed, which means that it is no longer capable of germinating. The brown rice is rinsed, then soaked in water for an extended period of time before cooking. As the rice germinates the amount of gamma-aminobutyric acid increases. A basking light bulb, inexpensive hot plate or even some rice makers, can be used to heat the rice during the germination process.

Japanese researchers have found that eating GABA rice helps to lower blood pressure, improve kidney function, and reduce sleeplessness. Additionally, GABA rice improved the learning ability of mice and there is speculation that it may be helpful in preventing the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. Another study has found that germinated brown rice extract inhibited leukemia cell proliferation and stimulated cancer cell apoptosis (cell death).

How to germinate GABA rice

To germinate GABA rice, place the desired amount of rice in a container, rinse it several times and cover with approximately ½” to ¾” of water. Let it soak at a temperature between 86 degrees and 104 degrees Fahrenheit, for up to three days. The cooler the temperature, the longer the germination process will take. You’ll need to experiment a little and find your preference and what works best with your equipment, but usually you’ll want to soak the rice somewhere between 4 and 16 hours.

Be sure you change the water every 4 to 6 hours or it will become smelly and affect the overall flavor of the rice. It’s normal for the rice to have an off odor after a few hours of soaking; this is fine and will go away when it’s cooked. However, if the water smells really bad, or has bubbles or foam floating in it, you’ve let it go too long. You’ll need to completely rinse the rice, cover it with fresh water and continue germinating. Be sure to change the water more often.

On the tip of each grain of rice is an embryo; this is the part of the seed that will germinate. Soak the rice until you see the sprout start to emerge, or if you prefer, you can soak the rice until you see the embryo become fuller and larger. You don’t necessarily have to wait until the grain completely sprouts. After the rice has germinated, it’s ready to rinse and cook. Since water is naturally absorbed during the germination process, GABA rice will cook faster and need less cooking liquid, than other forms of rice. GABA rice has a flavor that is a cross between white and brown rice with a slightly chewy texture and nutty flavor.

There’s a way to make your GABA rice even healthier. The Shimane Prefecture Agricultural Technology Center in Japan has found that if you germinate the rice in green tea, the GABA is even higher; up to three times that of water soaked GBR.

When considering the healthy foods we can prepare at home GABA rice is an excellent addition. Another item you may find of interest is the wheatgrass juicer . Wheatgrass juice is the juice of the young wheat plant. It is picked before jointing and processed with a juicer, leaving the pulp behind. Wheatgrass juice is used extensively for its superb health benefits and is now one of the most widely used natural food supplements. It has been shown to be a highly effective natural remedy for many conditions and can facilitate and hasten the natural healing process.

Another very effective natural health product which has tremendous healing powers is Apple Cider Vinegar; ACV is known to help alleviate many health conditions, promote healing and even act as an effective way to lose belly fat fast.

Understanding the importance of what we eat and how it affects our bodies can play a significant role in our overall health and well-being. Today, the standard American diet consists of many foods that are not only unhealthy, they can be downright dangerous. Most package foods contain saturated fats and forms of high fructose corn syrup which brings a host of concerns not often disclosed.

With so many people trying to find the secret to how to lose weight, the obvious is sometimes overlooked. It is important that the foods we eat promote good health and when necessary the quick weight loss that is needed to get back on track. Consider adding 4 to 5 cups of green tea to your daily diet, green tea weight loss tea has been known to burn calories while promoting good health.


Submit a Comment
  • Albert Street profile image

    Albert Street 

    8 years ago from Northern USA

    I enjoyed your insight on the use of healthy grains. This is good information that gives your readers a better understanding on how to use germination to promote healthier eating.

  • Lamme profile imageAUTHOR


    9 years ago

    Thanks Daddy Paul, GABA rice is something a lot of people have not yet heard of. It's certainly something worth considering.

  • Daddy Paul profile image

    Daddy Paul 

    9 years ago from Michigan

    Good read.

  • Lamme profile imageAUTHOR


    9 years ago

    Wow, thanks so much for the wonderful comments! I also didn't realize I was ranking #3 in Yahoo :) I used to think that having a rice cooker was just another gadget to have cluttering the kitchen ... now, I would never be without one! They are one of the most useful items you can have. I have rice in mine right now and when the kids want a snack, they can easily get themselves a bowl ... very simple. Thanks BkCreative

  • BkCreative profile image


    9 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

    Excellent information in a top notch hub. Just as I was doing a Yahoo search for GABA your hub came up number 3. And it is all the information I need. Yay! Rated up and bookmarked! Love that you listed rice cookers too. After living in S. Korea for a few years - it is the absolute best way to cook rice.

  • Lamme profile imageAUTHOR


    9 years ago

    Thanks Sally, let me know what you come up with!

  • Sally's Trove profile image


    9 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

    This is an awesome Hub, and your additional detail is stellar.

    I love to watch seeds germinate. My neighbors and family laugh a bit at me for it, because I use a magnifying glass to see how the potting soil is changing, how the seed is erupting into roots and cotyledons. They watch me at my outdoor patio table inspecting trays of seedlings while I drink my morning coffee. It's an exciting aspect of spring and early summer. Life is held in those emerging seeds, isn't it?

    I can see myself kneeling on the floor at my mother's house in front of her oven, peering at the germinating brown rice through a magnifying glass. She'll put me away in a home for crazy folks!

    Looking forward to experimenting. Thank you so much for all the good info.

  • Lamme profile imageAUTHOR


    9 years ago

    Hi Sally, getting and maintaining the proper temperature is probably the trickiest part. Some people have converted old hot plates, etc., you just need to have a way to monitor that it doesn't get too hot. The oven method might work very well, I've used that for dehydrating fruits, veggies and even meat (jerky). A simple oven thermometer and some experimentation should get it just right. There are some rice makers that have settings for GABA rice, but of course, you're tied into the timing of their cycle. I gess you could probably run several cycles if you wanted a longer germination period.

    Personally, I'd probably go for organic brown rice. Some rice has been known to be treated. You also wouldn't want any processing, such as in instant rice. I think you hit it right on when you mentioned the active growing cycle, this is when it's at its most nutritious. Think of it as sprouting new life ... it's at its optimum and something wonderful is occurring in the process.

    Eating the rice raw is definitely good and delicious, but you can cook it. Studies have also shown that germinating in green tea adds a host of additional benefits. I haven't tried this, but I've heard that you don't need to rinse it if you use green tea. If that's the case, you're not rinsing any nutrients away with the soaking liquid. Experiment and see what you like, I'm sure you'll love the results!

  • Sally's Trove profile image


    9 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

    This is truly fascinating information. I've been racking my brain trying to think of how to set up an environment with a temp between 86 and 104 F, and I think a gas pilot light is the answer. However, I don't have a gas stove, but my mother does. She often dries herbs from my garden in her stove simply by placing the herbs on a tray and leaving the oven door ajar without turning the oven on. The gas pilot flame is perfect for drying herbs to perfection.

    Are you saying that any commercially bought brown rice is capable of this germination?

    Another thought, do all germinating seeds provide increased levels of lysine, magnesium, and zinc? If so, then bean sprouts pack a nutritional wallop for a good reason. Is there something about the active growing process that delivers nutritional benefits that can't be delivered in any other way?

    Is there anything in the cooking process that diminishes the benefits of GBR? In other words, should it be eaten raw for maximum good?

  • Lamme profile imageAUTHOR


    9 years ago

    GABA is a wonderful food that provides a lot of health benefits. If you get a chance to try it, please let us know what you think of it. Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

  • profile image


    9 years ago

    Thanks for a very interesting and informative article!


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