HealthExploring the world of rice. White, brown, black or red - which is the healthiest choice?

Exploring the world of rice. White, brown, black or red - which is the healthiest choice?

Which rice to choose?
Which rice to choose?
Images source: © Licensor | Irina Marwan

1:26 AM EST, January 16, 2024

White rice is a common staple in many dishes. It absorbs the flavors of added ingredients seamlessly, working well with various meals — from curry to sushi. This type of rice is typically enriched, containing added iron, thiamine (vitamin B1), niacin (vitamin B3), and folic acid. A 1/4 cup of dry white rice contains approximately 160 calories.

Brown Rice

Brown rice retains all three components of the grain - bran, germ, and endosperm - making it a whole grain. Interestingly, brown rice only offers about 1.5 grams more fiber per 1/4 cup of dry serving compared to white rice. Although this extra fiber can promote digestive health, the difference is not as pronounced as between sweetened, refined cereal flakes and their whole-grain counterparts.

Black Rice

Black rice has been a popular choice in Eastern cultures for years but has taken some time to make its presence felt in the Western world. Known for its distinctive purple hue when cooked, black rice boasts a high content of anthocyanins, reputed to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that help combat chronic diseases. This has earned black rice the moniker of a "superfood". A 1/4 cup of dry black rice contains up to 5 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber.

Black rice is particularly suited to rice salads, porridges, and can also be fried.

Red Rice

With a slightly spicy, nutty flavor and a robust texture, red rice offers an engaging eating experience. Studies reveal that red rice, which is rich in proanthocyanidins, can help deter the development of certain cancers, including leukemia, cervical cancer, and stomach cancer. Moreover, red rice can potentially have anti-diabetic and cholesterol-lowering effects.

Analysis of different types of rice indicates that red rice has a higher content of tocotrienols, a form of vitamin E, known for its neuroprotective and anti-cancer activity.

Red rice works wonderfully in dishes like pilafs, salads, and soups.

Choosing the Right Rice

The smartest route would be to pick the variant of rice that pairs best with your dish. However, if you're confused, black rice is a good staple to have on hand, given its notable health benefits and generous protein and fiber content.

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