What is GABA Rice + A Mental Health Supporting Bowl

If you are looking for a simple and cheap way to improve your sleep, assist the treatment of anxiety disorders and boost the immune system, I must introduce you to my newest staple food, GABA rice. As a result of the sprouting process, germinated brown rice contains an increased amount of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a neurotransmitter with calming effects on the brain.

This fact only could be enough for any of us, but there are so many more health benefits of the germinated brown rice, as a result of the magic sprouting process!


Because the sprouting process increases its nutritional value, and also makes it sweeter and softer, germinated brown rice is definitely the best alternative to any other rice grain. Imagine that, to give birth to a new plant, the soaked seed must turn into a nutritional powerhouse, by changing its chemical composition.

The nutrients that are significantly increased during the sprouting process of brown rice include vitamin E, magnesium, vitamins B1 and B6, potassium, zinc and in particular, the amino-acid GABA, which doubles its amount during germination.

What exactly does the gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) for your health and why is it among the most popular supplements? GABA is actually an inhibitory neurotransmitter, when it attaches to a protein it blocks some of the brain signals, decreases the activity of the nervous system and has a calming effect.

GABA supplements are taken for stress relief, anxiety, high blood pressure and insomnia, but it isn’t scientifically proved how much from the supplementary GABA actually reaches your brain.

The health benefits of eating GABA rice range from regulating the sleep cycle and balancing mood, to boosting the immune system activity, stimulating the growth hormone, preventing hypertension, high cholesterol, kidney failure, diabetes, tumor proliferation and Alzheimer’s disease.

HOW DO YOU MAKE GABA RICE? (no special equipment needed)

The magic behind sprouting never ceases to amaze me, but I would have never think of germinating rice. I was really happy to find out about its nutritional benefits, because sprouting brown rice is really a very easy job. Here are the very simple steps that I follow every time:

  1. Buy a very good quality, organic brown rice – this step is very important! I experimented with several brands of organic and non-organic brown rice varieties, and some stopped the sprouting process right before the little sprout appeared, or didn’t germinated at all. So, consider buying a quality organic brown rice variety (short-grain, basmati, Jasmine, red or black) as an investment in your health.
  2. Place the rice into a large bowl, rinse well, then cover with 1 inch purified water. Cover the bowl with a large plate.
  3. Soak for 24 hours. If the water becomes smelly, drain the rice, rinse well and cover again with purified water.
  4. Drain and let germinate for about 48 hours on the countertop, until little sprouts appear at the end of the rice grains. Depending on the temperature, the water they absorbed might dry completely, so spray the rice every now and then with purified water, and stir gently to make sure all the grains stays hydrated.
  5. Cook  or keep in the refrigerator up to four days.


You will fall in love with GABA rice, because of its special taste and texture. During soaking, the phytic acid reacts with the minerals in brown rice, having as a result a softer and more cohesive texture. GABA rice taste is sweeter than the regular brown rice.


The new understanding of the gut-brain axis function, connecting the enteric nervous system (the neurons that govern the gastrointestinal tract) with the central nervous system gained a lot of interest in our house since we are confronting with generalized anxiety and useless allopathic drug addiction.

Finding the real root of the problem and treating it in a gentle, holistic way, rather than rushing to psychiatrist prescribed antidepressants and benzodiazepines is a path we wish we had take in the first place.

If you are facing mind health issues and sleep disorder, consider changing your lifestyle and the way you eat before going for allopath medicine. Most usually, anxiety, depression and sleep issues are the result of imbalances of the gut microbiome, due to poor nutritional food ingestion, gluten intolerance or heavy metals accumulations. Make sure to also read my post on how to restore gut health naturally.

A diet rich in probiotic foods, cleansing fibre, vitamins and minerals, the regulation of your sleep cycle, relaxation techniques and outdoor exercise are the first steps to take towards rebalancing your nervous system and re-establishing the gut-brain axis balance. Here are the foods to consider for supporting the mind health:

  1. GABA rice – as a natural source of gamma-aminobutyric acid, responsible with calming the brain, improving sleep and regulating your mood. Germinated brown rice is also a great source of minerals and fibre.
  2. Probiotic foods – fermented vegetables (sauerkraut, kimchi).
  3. Vitamin D-rich foods – free-range eggs, mushrooms, fish oil.
  4. Green leafy vegetables and aromatic plants – parsley, spinach, kale, chard, etc, for their detoxifying function and liver activity support.

This nourishing bowl is a simple example of what a mind health supporting meal can look like.

What is GABA rice + a Mental-Health Supporting Bowl

A very easy-to-make ingredient with huge mental health benefits, GABA rice or sprouted brown rice should become a staple in every house. We serve it in a nourishing bowl together with other key ingredients that support mental health.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Course: Dinner, Gluten-Free, Lunch, Nourishing Bowl
Cuisine: Vegetarian
Keyword: GABA rice, sprouted brown rice
Servings: 2
Calories: 405kcal
Author: Ana - The Awesome Green


For the GABA rice

  • 2/3 cup organic brown rice
  • 3 cups purified water

For the Nourishing Bowl

  • 1/2 cup red cabbage sauerkraut
  • 2 large bunches fresh parsley
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 8 Portobello mushrooms cut into slices
  • 2 free range eggs
  • 1 tsp avocado oil
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp fresh lime juice


  • Add the brown rice into a bowl, and rinse well. Drain, then cover with purified water
  • Cover the bowl with a lid or a large plate and let soak at room temperature for 24 hours. If the water gets smelly, drain and rinse well, then cover again with purified water.
  • Drain the rice and let germinate at room temperature. Spray purified water every now and then over the the rice, to make sure all the grains stay hydrated. Little sprouts should appear on the rice grains after about 48 hours.
  • Cook the rice in 1&1/2 cups purified water over low heat, for 20 minutes, until tender and fluffy.
  • While the rice is cooking, sautee the mushrooms with the avocado oil over medium heat and fry the eggs in the same skillet.
  • Prepare the parsley salad - finely chop the parsley, add into a medium bowl together with the onion. Add olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper and mix.
  • Divide the rice, mushrooms and parlsey salad into serving bowls, add the sauerkraut, top with the fried eggs and serve warm.


The nutritional values are for the nourishing bowl.


Calories: 405kcal
ALSO YUMMY:  Vegan Carrot Cake
  • Liz
    January 3, 2020

    Hi Ana, this looks delicious, thank you for the recipe (and for telling us about gaba-rice). As it is now winter, I’d like to eat some good, warm food. Do you heat the red cabbage? And if not, is it possible?

    • Ana
      January 3, 2020

      Hi Liz, I am happy you made this choice. I don’t heat the fermented cabbage, but if you want to do it, just give it a quick sauté, because the live bacteria it contains might be lost during the heating process. I hope you like this bowl of happy food as much as I did! Have a great year!

      • Al Thompson
        August 13, 2020

        Gaba rice calms the gabby brain!

        • Ana
          September 5, 2020

          In short!

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