Rice bran
After Asparagus and flaxseeds, rice bran might just be the newest superfoodHOANG DINH NAM/AFP/Getty Images

As people get more and more health conscious each day, there is a tendency to include a variety of superfoods to their daily diet. These superfoods, such as asparagus, flaxseeds and grapefruit, among many others have become very popular over the years for their nutritional values as well as health benefits. 

The bran is the outer coat of the rice that is removed from the whole grain when the rice is processed. Bran is often considered to be animal feed, but a new study from the Colorado State University says that it has high nutritional values. Rice bran is said to contain high amounts of fats, proteins, minerals and micronutrients such as vitamin B.

"A single serving of rice bran -- 28 grams according to USDA -- delivers more than half of a person's daily requirements of important vitamins such as thiamine, niacin and vitamin B6," Science Daily quoted study author Elizabeth Ryan as saying. "Traditionally, rice bran is thought to be a cheap fiber source and only considered useful as a source of lipids, for example as cooking oil. It has not been used much in human health and nutrition because it is considered an animal feed but its high nutritional value warrants greater public health attention."

To learn the benefits of rice bran to human health, the researchers used a method called food metabolomics or 'foodomics' and identified and measured the abundance of different molecules in three rice varieties. They found 65 metabolites that are known to have potential medicinal values and 16 new ones.

Asparagus is packed with antioxidants and is known to slow the ageing process.CreativeCommons/SimonLaw

"We investigated the amino acids, vitamins, cofactors and secondary metabolites that can be found in rice bran, as we suspected that they contribute to its medicinal and nutritional benefits. We were surprised to find that cofactors, vitamins and amino acids make up almost 50% of the total small molecule content," Ryan added.

"Rice bran as a food ingredient could deliver more than 400 individual compounds when consumed and it is likely that many of them function in a teamwork manner to deliver health benefits."

Smoothies are one of the best post workout snacksCreativeCommons/GauravMishra

Apart from this research, which was published in the journal Rice, rice bran is also known to fight chronic health issues such as kidney stones, fatty liver, cancer and heart diseases, according to Livestrong.

You can include rice bran in your daily diet by adding it to smoothies, soups, and porridge. Rice bran can also be used as salad and yogurt toppings.