Here are the 3 healthiest types of rice you can eat


Whether serving an arroz con pollo, a savory stir-fry, or a mushroom risotto, rice is a staple in most diets and cuisines. “Rice is not only affordable and accessible, but it’s also relatively easy to prepare,” says Claire Carlton MS, RD, LD / N, North Carolina-based dietitian-nutritionist and digestive health expert. “Rice is also a nutrient rich source of fiber and naturally gluten free.”

Of course, there are tons of healthy grains to choose from, but rice is among the most readily available, especially white and brown rice. Plus, rice comes in a wide variety of colors, textures, and sizes, each with its own unique flavor and health benefits. We asked experts to reveal which grains of rice have the healthiest benefits and give us the good, the bad, and the ugly about brown rice nutrition and white rice nutrition.

Black rice

Although sometimes harder to find, black rice is the number one nutritional rock star when it comes to rice varieties. It’s high in fiber and nutrients that lower cholesterol, support healthy digestion, and prevent chronic disease. “Black rice has been shown to contain the highest level of antioxidants of any rice variety, largely due to its content of anthocyanins, a potent anti-inflammatory that gives the grains their dark purplish hue, as well as ‘flavonoids and carotenoids,’ says Megan Roosevelt, RDN, Los Angeles-based registered dietitian-nutritionist and founder of Your bowl of black rice can also give you a healthy dose of protein, serving up to 10 grams in 1 cooked cup.

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Wild rice

Another healthy rice winner is this chewy, long-grain version, which originated in North America. Like black rice, the high fiber content of these brown and black grains aids digestion and lowers cholesterol. Wild rice is also loaded with disease-fighting antioxidants and vitamin C, says Roosevelt.

Brown rice

With its dense, nutty texture, brown rice is one of the healthiest starch options, rich in B vitamins, zinc, and magnesium. “It’s also a whole grain and high in fiber, which helps stabilize blood sugar levels and promote feelings of fullness,” says Vikki Petersen, DC, CCN, CFMP, a physician in functional medicine and clinical nutritionist based in California. “Brown rice also gets things moving in your digestive tract while feeding healthy bacteria in your gut.”

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The word about white rice nutrition

While it may be more palatable to some, white rice is not as good for you as the more colorful varieties. “It’s been treated to remove the shell, bran, and germ, where most of the nutrition is,” says Roosevelt. “It gives it a smoother texture than wild rice or brown rice, but it’s less nutritious, lacks fiber, and has a higher glycemic index.” That being said, many brands of white rice are artificially fortified with folic acid, calcium, and iron, which increases its benefits a bit. Also, the lower fiber content may be preferable to those with digestive issues.

Should I be concerned that the rice is high in arsenic?

As you may have heard, rice is high in arsenic, a known carcinogen that contributes to higher rates of cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and autoimmune disease. “For adults, the recommendation is to eat no more than two servings per week, which includes rice syrup and rice flour which may appear on the labels of some prepackaged foods,” Petersen warns. “Short-grain rice contains less arsenic than long-grain rice. In addition, a Consumer Reports study found that brown basmati rice from California, India and Pakistan is among the most common sources of rice. safe. “

Here’s the good news: You can reduce the carcinogenic content of your rice with proper cooking techniques. Petersen recommends first rinsing your rice about five times in a sieve. Then cook the rice as you would pasta, using a water to rice ratio of 10: 1 instead of the typical 2: 1. Once the rice is well cooked, drain it and rinse it again. To counteract any ill effects, she also suggests serving your rice with foods rich in antioxidants, such as dark leafy greens, sweet potatoes, cruciferous vegetables, and turmeric. Once cleaned, your colorful rice grains can be a tasty and nutritious addition to your weekly diet.

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