MyMT™ Blog

MyMT™ Kitchen: This festive low GI rice is the best advice!

Rice is a staple food, which has been widely consumed for centuries by many Asian countries. I first began to think about brown rice as a natural source of nutrients for midlife women, when exploring studies on foods to reduce hypertension (high blood pressure) and a condition called ‘vascular stiffness’ which is known to occur as women transition from menopause to post-menopause.

Studies have suggested that brown rice is associated with a wide
spectrum of health implications such as anti-diabetic, anti-cholesterol, cardioprotective and antioxidant benefits. (Ravichanthiran et al., 2018).

This is because of the presence of various phytochemicals that are mainly located in the bran layers of brown rice. These phytochemicals also have anti-inflammatory benefits, especially for gut health, which as many of you may have experienced, is changing and contributing to Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) as we move through menopause. 

Understanding that menopause as a life-event, leads to inflammatory changes which affects women’s cardiovascular and muscular health was the turning point for taking back control of my own health and weight.

Our type, timing and amount of food is now well established in public health science, as among the most important influences on health in modern societies. As David Katz, from the Prevention Research Centre at Yale University of Public Health states, 

“Optimal eating is associated with increased life expentancy, dramatic reduction in lifetime risk of all chronic disease and amelioration of gene expression.” (Katz & Mellor, 2014, p.83).

There is an extensive body of evidence that relates our diet to our health. Many of us know this already. But too often we are drawn into ways of eating that may not suit our changing hormonal environment in menopause, nor our ageing.

That’s why connecting the dots between menopause, inflammation, cardiovascular disease and healthy ageing was the ‘game-changer’ not only for my own health, but for women who have joined me and needed to lose weight, reduce their hot flushes/ flashes and change their health during or after their menopause transition. 

That’s why, this Christmas, my advice is to make this festive, low glycemic index rice salad. Whole grain brown rice had slower gastric emptying rate, which appears to be related to the physical presence of the bran layer. (Pletsch & Hamaker, 2018).

Extended gastric emptying of brown rice explains it’s lower glycemic response (blood glucose response) and this is what allows you to not only feel more full for longer, but to also reduce your hot flushes/ flashes too. 

If brown rice isn’t to your liking, then you could replace it with sweet potato (or Kumara as we say in New Zealand) – another great low GI alternative. 

Happy Christmas from MyMT™.

Festive Rice Salad

  • Enough brown rice to feed your friends and family (this recipe makes enough to feed 8 people as a side dish)
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar (or a couple of tablespoons if you are only cooking for 2 or 3 people).
  • 1 pomegranate
  • ½ cup walnuts or pistachios, chopped. If you are looking for a low budget option, use sunflower seeds.
  • 1 cup green olives, pitted and chopped
  • 5 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small garlic clove
  • A large handful of mint leaves (or parsley if you prefer), chopped finely
  • 1 block of feta, crumbled
  • Salt and pepper


  1. Make the rice as per your packet instructions. Once it is finished, transfer to a large serving bowl. Pour over the red wine vinegar and stir through.
  2. Place all of the toppings into a bowl. Mix and set aside to marinade for 10 minutes.
  3. Pour the toppings on top of the rice and sprinkle with the feta.


Chacin-Suarez, A., & Medina-Inojosa, J. (2020). Microvascular and Small-Vessel Disease: An unrecognized connection in women with modern coronary disease. Journal of Women’s Health, 29 (6), 1-2.

Katz, D. & Mellor, S. Can we say what diet is best for health? Annual Review of Public Health 2014 35:183-103

Pletsch EA, Hamaker BR. Brown rice compared to white rice slows gastric emptying in humans. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2018 Mar;72(3):367-373. doi: 10.1038/s41430-017-0003-z. Epub 2017 Oct 23.

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