Many balk at the idea of adding rice to their diet due to the amount of carbs and sugar this type of food has. While this is generally true with white rice, there are many other varieties of rice that can give you the same satisfaction while offering many health benefits that white rice lacks.
Below is a list of healthy rice options that you might want to look into.
The main difference between brown and white rice is the retention of the outer hull, allowing it to keep more of its nutrients like B vitamins, phosphorus, and magnesium. Brown rice is also a good source of zinc, iron, and thiamine. In terms of taste, brown rice has a much richer flavor and has chewy texture to it. For those who aren’t a fan of its consistency, there are also other alternatives like milk made from brown rice.
Brown rice has around 7.2 grams of protein for every 100 gram serving, giving it an edge over white rice in term of protein content. The outer husk of the rice gives it a much higher fiber content compared to white rice as well. It also scores a medium on the glycemic index, making you feel fuller for much longer and avoid overloading yourself with carbs.
Red rice contains roughly the same amount of protein, fiber, and nutrients compared to brown rice. The main difference between the two varieties lies in the amount of anthocyanin content that red rice has—giving it its distinct red color. People who eat red rice are treated to a big helping of antioxidants, which are compounds that help in warding off cell damage.
Red rice comes in both hulled and unhulled versions, giving you a choice on whether you want your rice to have that chewy consistency to it. While there is no doubt that you can benefit more from the nutrients found in red rice, they are generally more expensive compared to both white and brown rice.
Black rice packs the most amount of protein with 6.4 grams per 100 grams. It also contains a high amount of anthocyanin like red rice, making it quite nutritious and healthy. Black rice has a pretty low rating on the glycemic index, making this type of rice great for diabetics.
It has a distinctly sweet and nutty taste to it, along with the same chewy texture as the other two types of rice. When this type of rice is cooked, it has a vibrant blackish-purple color to it and is typically ideal with stir fry dishes or a salad due to its consistency.
There are other varieties that have been accepted for the similarities that they have in terms of taste and health benefits with the above three types of rice. Below are just two examples of the more popular varieties.
Despite its name, wild rice isn’t technically rice at all. It is actually a kind of seed taken from aquatic grass that’s native to North America. Historically speaking, it is grown and harvested similar to regular rice, so its misclassification as a type of rice is understandable.
Wild rice is rich in phosphorus, zinc, magnesium, and folate—a B vitamin that’s responsible for cell growth and metabolism. The rice itself has a smoky, nutty flavor to it, and it’s known to have a rather chewy consistency to its texture.
It’s important to note that wild rice takes much longer to cook than regular rice (around an hour), so it’s a good idea to prepare a big batch if you plan on cooking this type of rice. You can cut down the cooking time by soaking the grains overnight. This should reduce the cooking time by about 20 minutes or so.
Developed from basmati rice seeds, this is a variety of brown rice that was developed by the Lundberg Family Farms in California in the late 20th century. Similar to other whole-grain rice, Wehani is an ideal workout super food since it’s made up of complex carbohydrates that are slow to digest and giving the added fiber that you need for a good diet. However, take care not to have too much of this rice before you work out—the extra fiber can upset stomach and can cut your exercise short.
You don’t have to dismiss rice as a healthy food option as long as you know which type of rice best suits your health needs. Whether you prefer healthy choices like plant-based milk or whole-grained rice, what’s important is being able to understand the benefits that you can reap by consuming them in the right amounts and sticking to a solid dietary plan involving the kinds of food you love.