Rice has been a dietary staple of the human diet for ages. It is natural, easily digestible, relatively inexpensive and simple to cultivate. But not all rice offers the same nutritional value. If you’re going to eat rice, you may as well eat healthy rice varieties. With many rice options lining the grocery store shelves, you may be wondering, what types of rice are healthiest? We’re breaking down healthy rice for your right here, right now.
When you think of rice, you mind may go directly to white rice. White rice is not the healthiest type of rice because it has been processed to remove bran and germ as well as other essential nutrients. It therefore does not contain as much fiber. Per cup, white rice has about 1 gram of fiber whereas the same amount of brown rice has 4 grams of fiber. Fiber is valuable for many reasons, one of which is its role on the digestion of carbohydrates and impact on the body’s glycemic index. Fiber helps slow the breakdown of food and sustain steady blood sugar levels. Additionally, long grain varieties of rice have more fiber than short grain rice and are therefore better for blood glucose as well.
Of the most common types of rice available, there are four top healthy rice varieties: brown rice, black rice, red rice and wild rice.
Brown Rice: Whole grain brown rice has grown in popularity and accessibility in recent years and is a healthy rice choice. As we already established, brown rice contains 4x the fiber of white rice and the germ and bran are in tact. Brown rice is chock full of the B complex vitamins, phosphorous, magnesium and the antioxidant Vitamin E. This means it is great for muscles and bones, as well as immune strength and anti-aging properties. Brown jasmine rice and brown basmati rice are two long grain varieties of brown rice that are excellent healthy rice options.
Black Rice: This majestic healthy rice comes from China and is rich in many nutrients. It is believed to have supercharged antioxidants called anthocyanins that help protect and defend cells from free radicals. In fact, a study showed that black rice has around 6x the antioxidants of white rice and has at least twice the protein of white rice. Plus, black rice looks very elegant and adds depth and diversity to your plate.
Red Rice: Similar to black rice, red rice contains fabulous antioxidants that help boost cellular strength to keep the body functioning properly and reduce the effects of aging. It contains more protein and fiber than white rice and is a good source of manganese, magnesium, potassium, zinc and phosphorous.
Wild Rice: Although also a grass, wild rice is a very different variety of healthy rice. It is a cross between rice and vegetable with a chewy texture and acquired veggie taste. It contains more protein and less carbs than brown rice, along with lots of Vitamin A, folic acid and a balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. If you are not sold on the texture and flavor of wild rice, try mixing it with other more palatable rice varieties to infuse these added nutrients into your diet.
These healthy rice selections can keep your diet fresh and nutritious. There is no harm in having white rice occasionally, but keep things interesting by mixing up your meals with the healthiest rice varieties.