Brown rice has phytic acid which, when eaten, prevents the absorption of important nutrients.
Phytic acid is the principal storage form of phosphorus in many plant tissues, especially the bran portion of grains and other seeds (e.g., rice). Humans have not enough of the enzyme phytase to break down phytic acid into phosphorus. In addition, the phytic acid molecule tends to bind with minerals such as calcium, magnesium, iron and zinc, to become phytate. This renders calcium, magnesium, iron and zinc unavailable for the human stomach to absorb, as well. Lastly, phytic acid inhibits enzymes (such as pepsin, amylase and trypsin) that we need to digest our food. Pepsin is needed for the breakdown of proteins in the stomach. Amylase is needed for the breakdown of starch into sugar. Trypsin is needed for protein digestion. Read more HERE.
If you eat too much brown rice (without adequate preparation) you will basically starve yourself into ill health because you cannot absorb much of what you eat.
Phytase is the digestive enzyme required to break down brown rice. Humans do not produce enough phytase to consume large quantities of high-phytate foods without risk. However, probiotic lactobacilli, and other species of digestive microflora can produce phytase.
With the making of kefir cream cheese, I collect plenty of whey (the liquid left over after straining the cheese). This liquid is full of lactobacilli. I decided to soak my brown rice for 24 hours in a mixture of whey and unchlorinated water. After 12 hours, you can see tiny bubbles as it begins to ferment, breaking down the phytic acid into phosphorus. After 24 hours, there is very little phytic acid left.
12 hours: fermenting brown rice. See the bubbles of fermenting gas? Hmmmm... I wonder if I can make sake!
It has now become a daily ritual to soak new brown rice using 10% of the previous day's soaking liquid. After the first 2 soaks, there is no need to add whey. Just take 10% of the previous day's soaking liquid and add more unchlorinated water. Chlorinated water will simply kill the lactobacilli and then, not only does it defeat the purpose of soaking, but other organisms (harmful to the human body) may grow. It has become very convenient to get unchlorinated water since I bought my Big Berkey.
Pre-soaked for 24 hours, the cooked rice actually is very very fluffy. My family had no idea that they were eating brown rice.