Which RICE is the healthiest?

Rice is the basic food for millions of people across the world, and the varieties, I’ve discovered, are endless (100 000+!). One of the conversation topics I always have ready if there is ever an awkward silence at the dinner table is, “Would you rather have rice, noodles or bread exclusively for the rest of your life?” I would choose rice because I personally love stews and curries. What is your pick (Leave a comment!)?

Rice is first divided into 3 subcategories: short, medium and long-grain. Popular types that we come across frequently here in Montreal and North America are Brown, White, MinuteRice, Parboiled, Basmati, Jasmine, Arborio and Wild-rice. However, note that within Jasmine and Basmati Rices, there is the choice between brown and white also.

What is the difference between brown and white rice anyway? Raw rice, also named “paddy”, is taken from the rice plant and divided into 1) brown rice, also called whole grain rice or “husked” rice, and 2) husks, which is the inedible part that grows with the grain. The brown rice/husked rice then goes through processing to arrive at the final product, white rice. The general rule is “the whiter the grain, the lower the nutrient content,” exceptions are parboiled rice which is pretreated to contain more nutrients.

Through this milling process, the brown rice is stripped of it’s bran layer and the germ (the embryo of the rice) is lost, leaving the starchy endosperm known as white rice. These losses contain the vast majority of the nutrients in rice, such as vitamins, fibre content, trace elements and mainly, B-complex vitamins (B1, B2, B3, B5 and B6) as well as vitamin E. Which is why it is always best to choose brown rice over white rice, even though both are low in sodium and high in potassium which helps the body maintain it’s water balance. Wild-rice also has similar benefits as brown rice.

Here’s a breakdown of nutritional contents of different rices per 2 servings (approx. 1 cup cooked).

*Daily Value based on a 2000 calorie intake diet
*Glycemic Index: Measure of the effect of carbohydrates (sugars) on blood sugar levels. So the faster the carbs break down into sugars (starch -> glucose), the faster blood sugar will spike (bad). So we want to avoid High GIs to balance our blood sugar levels and stick with Low GI foods.  For more info on GI.

I’m thinking of making coconut curry to go with Brown Rice! Be on the lookout with our Facebook Fan Page or follow us on Twitter!

D the Intern

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6 thoughts on “Which RICE is the healthiest?

  1. ……………………………………………………..Can brown rice be substituted for white rice in casserole dishes?…….. Brown rice has a considerable longer cooking time than regular white rice. Also brown rice tends to absorb more moisture about 20 more so the casserole will most likely be runny and not set correctly…

    1. Hey there! Thanks for reading the blog! I challenge you to replace the white rice with Brown and let us know how it goes. You are right, it will require a longer cooking time but I don’t think it would result in a runny casserole. To be safe you could half cook the brown rice first and then add it to your recipe.

  2. While brown rice do have its bran and germ intact, the nutritional distribution simply does not compare with wild rice in terms of the diversity of micronutrients and phytochemicals. Also, the widespread pollution of brown rice due to traces of arsenic in the ground should be a concern to regular brown rice consumers. It highlights why we need to investigate food further and move beyond simply the nutritional content. Manufacturing processes and soil quality, for example, are no trivial matters!

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