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The Different Types of Rice and What Type of Rice is Healthiest.
With so many options, how do we know what type of rice is healthiest? We see it used around the world as inexpensive food, In fact, rice is considered one of the most prominent food staples in the world. Of course, that shouldn’t come as a surprise since it is versatile and could be paired with almost any dish.
Rice also plays a significant role in helping supply our bodies with needed nutrients. For example, brown rice provides a rich source of phenols and flavonoids, two antioxidants that help reduce premature aging. Thus, it is crucial to include rice in our diet and to be able to know what type of rice is healthiest.
Going to the supermarket and choosing rice may seem scary at first, but that will not be a problem when you know what you are looking for. Although there are different kinds of rice in the world, it can be divided into three main types, making it easier to remember.
Three Main Types of Rice:
Long-Grain rice is slim and lengthy, nearly four to five times longer than wide. When cooked, the grains have a firm, dry and fluffy texture. Two popular kinds of long-grain rice are the Basmati and Jasmine rice.
When compared to long-grain rice, medium-grain rice is shorter in length and larger in width. This type of grain retains moisture when cooked and is perfect for dishes like Paella and Risotto.
As the name implies, short-grain rice is less than twice as long as it is wide. This type of rice is also known as “round rice.” When cooked, it has a starchy texture, perfect for dishes like rice pudding or sushi.
Now that we know the three main types of rice, we can proceed to the good part. Knowing the kinds of rice out there and what is the healthiest type of rice.
Kinds of Rice:
Arborio Rice –
Arborio rice is named from Arborio a comune (municipality), located in the Po Valley, Italy’s central growing rice zone. It has a more prominent grain which allows water to be easily absorbed, making it for dishes like risotto. Arborio rice, like other kinds of rice, is rich in essential carbohydrates and vitamins. Read more to know the nutritional content of Arborio Rice!
Rich in Carbohydrates:
Carbohydrates are our body’s leading energy source. Carbohydrates are essential food nutrients that our body turns into glucose to give us the energy to function. Good thing Arborio rice is full of carbohydrates. It not only tastes good but also helps keep our stomach full.
Arborio rice also contains vitamins A and C. Both vitamin A and C are essential in boosting our immune system and keeping us active.
Source of Protein
Arborio rice contains some protein which is essential in helping people gain muscle. Adding arborio rice to your diet will help ensure that you are healthy and active.
High Starch Content
Although arborio rice is a good rice option in general, it contains a high percentage of starch. If you are diabetic, then Arborio rice may not be the healthiest type of rice for you. Because Arborio is very starchy, it is prone to raising blood glucose levels.
Basmati Rice –
This variety of slim, long aromatic rice is commonly associated with India, Pakistan, and Nepal. Many consider Basmati Rich as the “most precious rice in the world.” According to Oxford English Dictionary, the word “basmati” derives from Hindi बासमती, bāsmatī, literally meaning “fragrant.” And so, It is no wonder that basmati rice is said to be intensely flavorful. People who were able to taste this precious rice describe it as spicy, nutty, and floral. Basmati Rice is not only a fantastic alternative for white rice. It also contains many healthy vitamins and nutrients, which will keep our bodies healthy every day. Here are some of the health benefits of Basmati Rice.
Low-Fat and Gluten-Free
Because it is low in fat, Basmati rice is perfect for people who want to lose weight. It is also beneficial for people battling celiac disease and other medical conditions associated with gluten due to its gluten-free properties.
Rich in Fiber
If you have a hard time digesting food, then basmati rice might just be the healthiest type of rice for you. It is high in fiber which helps maintain a healthy bowel movement.
Rich in Vitamins and Minerals
Basmati rice is not only rich in aroma and flavor. Basmati rice contains a wide array of minerals. Here are some of the minerals that basmati rice has to offer. The first is Calcium, which helps keep our bones strong. The second would be Iron, which supports many vital functions in our body. The third would be Magnesium, which does a lot for our body. Still, one of its essential functions is keeping the regular bone structure. A study by Gerry K. Schwalfenberg and Stephen J. Genuis, titled “The Importance of Magnesium in Clinical Healthcare,” showed astounding results. People who consume a healthy amount of Magnesium daily resulted in a 15% reduction in the incidence of diabetes.
Although Basmati rice is an excellent alternative to white rice for people who want to eat rice, it may be expensive. Basmati Rice needs to be aged 18-24 months before being consumed. It should be kept at certain temperatures, making it twice or thrice more expensive than white rice.
Brown Rice –
This is often considered the healthiest type of rice in the market, according to The George Mateljan Foundation, because of how it is prepared. In producing brown rice, only the outermost layer, the hull, is removed. This process is the least damaging to the nutritional value of the rice. It prevents unnecessary loss of nutrients that occurs with further processing.
Considered as Whole Grain
Since brown rice is considered a whole grain, it is packed with protein, fiber, B vitamins, and antioxidants. Studies have shown that people who consume whole grain are less likely to get diabetes and suffer from heart failure.
High in Fiber
Fiber is necessary for keeping a healthy bowel movement, and brown rice has that in abundance. Making it perfect for people who have a more challenging time with digestion.
Full of Nutrients and Minerals
Brown rice also contains folate, Iron, Magnesium, and other minerals. These are all needed to keep our body healthy and to function correctly. Folate is essential in early pregnancy to help reduce the risk of birth defects of the brain and spine.
High Potassium and Phosphorus Content
When you are under a kidney-friendly diet, your sodium, potassium, and phosphorus intake are limited. Since brown rice contains high potassium and phosphorus, this should be avoided by people who are under a kidney-friendly diet.
Black Rice –
This is also known as purple or forbidden rice. It shows as a deep purple-black colored rice that is full of various vitamins and minerals. Fun fact, black rice is also known as forbidden rice because back in Ancient China, it was reserved only for the upper class.
Good Source of Antioxidants
Black rice contains a lot of antioxidants, and two of which are abundant are lutein and zeaxanthin. These are yellow carotenoid antioxidants, which help protect your eyes from harmful high-energy light waves. Meaning black rice not only tastes good it also helps keep our eyes healthy. Especially now that we all use
High in Protein
According to the USDA Nutrient Data Laboratory, 1 cup (202g) of long-grain brown rice contains 5.54g of protein. In comparison, 1 cup (195g) of medium-grain cooked brown rice has 4.52 g of protein. That is why it is vital to include protein in your daily diet to maintain good health and keep cells in good form.
Anthocyanins are natural pigments in our fruits and vegetables that give them their distinct color. Research has shown that Anthocyanins can decrease blood pressure, and it also contains anti-cancer properties.
Jasmine Rice –
This member of the long-grain variety, originated from Thailand. Full of aroma and flavor, it is most often regarded as similar to Basmati rice. The difference is that Jasmine rice is softer than Basmati rice and does not have as strong a flavor. Most of the Jasmine rice sold in the market is the white variety. However, it also has other types, such as brown jasmine rice and even black jasmine rice.
Jasmine Rice is considered a whole grain. Meaning it contains a pack load of vitamins and nutrients that will help maintain a healthy body and keep our minds active throughout the day. It has also been found that whole grains such as jasmine rice can help reduce cancer risk.
Good Source of Protein
Brown Jasmine Rice is also a good source of protein, making it a perfect choice if you want to gain more muscle and maintain a healthy weight.
Contains Some Iron
The USDA NDA says that in 1 cup (140g) of jasmine rice, there is 0.364mg of Iron or 2% of the Daily Value needed for your body to stay healthy.
Red Rice –
This variety of rice owes its red color to its anthocyanin content.
Rich in Anthocyanin
Anthocyanin is basically the pigment that gives color to a variety of the food we eat. It is a type of flavonoid which is a compound rich in antioxidants. By eating food rich in anthocyanin, studies have shown that it may reduce cancer risk and boost our overall health.
A 100g serving of red rice contains a whopping 4g of fiber! So if you want to have a healthy bowel movement, then red rice is an excellent alternative to white rice.
Rich in Iron and Vitamins
Red rice is also a good source of iron and vitamin B6. Since our body cannot produce vitamin B6 on its own, eating foods that contain vitamin B6 is essential. Since it helps boost our immune system and may help prevent clogged arteries and lower the risk of heart disease.
Wild Rice –
Contrary to popular belief, wild rice is, in fact, not rice. Wild rice is a semi-aquatic grass that is mainly found in the continent of North America.
Since wild rice is not really rice, people who are diabetic or under a specific diet will surely love wild rice – since it is a perfect substitute.
Low in Calorie
When compared to brown rice and white rice, wild rice is lower in calories. So if you are trying to lose weight but still want to eat rice, then wild rice might just be for you!
Rich in Antioxidants
Compared to white rice, wild rice has a higher level of antioxidants per serving. Antioxidants are essential in maintaining a balanced diet and protecting our body to help fight free radicals that can cause cell damage. By adding wild rice to your diet, you are helping your stay healthy and avoid chronic diseases.
Caution: May Be Infected With Ergot
Although generally considered healthy, wild rice can be infected by a fungus called ergot. Ergot is a fungus that develops on rye and may develop on other grasses like wild rice. When wild rice is infected with ergot and is consumed, it might cause food poisoning, which in some cases proves fatal.
White Rice – Widely Available, Inexpensive, Not as Healthy
This is the variety of rice that most of us are probably familiar with. White rice is a long-grain kind of rice and is usually deemed the unhealthier rice version than others. Although highly processed and lacks many vitamins and minerals, there are some instances where white rice can provide a healthier option.
Low in Fiber
White rice is also beneficial for people under a BRAT (Bananas, Rice, Applesauce, Toast) diet, consisting of low-fiber foods to offer relief to people suffering from stomach issues, digestive problems, and diarrhea. Although there are conflicting views regarding the efficacy of a BRAT diet, it does offer short-term relief for people suffering from stomach issues.
In choosing what type of rice is healthiest for you, an excellent key to remember is knowing your goals. For example, although most people would say that white rice is the unhealthier option, white rice could be beneficial in some cases. People suffering from diarrhea would benefit from the low-fiber white rice offers.
Remember that what might work for others might not work for you, and choosing the healthiest type of rice is always a personal choice.