Black Rice vs Quinoa: Which is Better?


Having a healthy diet is always the number one suggestion when people ask how they can improve their overall well-being. When you eat food that contains essential nutrients, you reduce the risk of developing illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes, and even certain types of cancer. 

Aside from fruits and vegetables, rice has become a part of the healthy diet too, especially because it’s naturally gluten-free and a source of complex carbohydrates. While rice itself is good for human consumption, only certain types of rice are considered to have high levels of nutrient content.

Among those, quinoa and black rice are almost always put up against each other. This is because both black rice and quinoa are immensely nutritious. Black rice contains a high amount of fiber, vitamins, and minerals. It is also low in calories and sugar. 

Quinoa, on the other hand, isn’t a traditional type of grain. It is the seed of the Chenopodium quinoa plant, native to South America. It is called a “pseudo-grain” as it is nutritionally comparable to cereal grains and contains a high amount of dietary fiber and protein. It is cooked and eaten the same way as rice, wheat, barley, and other cereals.

Black rice vs quinoa, which grain has more nutritional benefits? Read on to know the answer!

Is Black Rice the Healthiest?

Originating from Asia, black rice comes in a wide array of types: long-grain, medium, short, and glutinous. Black rice has a slightly sweet and nutty flavor

Black rice is also known as Forbidden Rice, especially in China where it was once a very expensive food that royals can also consume. Studies have shown that there is a connection between black rice and Japanese rice due to a mutated gene that causes the color change in the rice.

It contains a very high concentration of anthocyanin, which is an antioxidant found in fruits and vegetables but is most common in black rice. Black rice is also high in dietary fiber. In fact, it contains the same amount of fiber as one cup of cooked white rice and one cup of cooked brown rice.

Its protein content is high as well, having about 6 grams in a cup, which is more than the levels found in white rice and brown rice. Furthermore, black rice has a low glycemic index, making it a good choice of grain for those keeping an eye on their blood sugar levels.

While black rice has high nutritional value, is it the healthiest grain around, especially when compared to quinoa? Let’s find out.

What’s Healthier, Black Rice or Quinoa?

When it comes to having a healthy diet, black rice and quinoa are the two most popular types of rice suggested. This is because both black rice and quinoa are high in nutritional content. However, while both grains come with many health benefits and have some similarities, they also have their differences. 

Firstly, quinoa and black rice are good sources of protein. However, the former contains more than the latter. This is because quinoa is a complete protein source, containing all nine essential amino acids that the body needs. 

Surprisingly, quinoa has more calories than black rice. Black rice has 356 kcal per 100g, while quinoa contains a little more calories at 368 kcal per 100g. 

Quinoa and black rice can also aid in maintaining blood glucose levels. The glycemic index is a scale that rates how food can impact a person’s blood sugar. A low GI rating scores at 55 or less, while a high glycemic index rating scores at 70 and above. Between black rice vs quinoa, black rice has an average GI of 43, while quinoa has a rating of 55. Since both sit on the lower end of the scale, they can be eaten by those watching out for their blood sugar.

When it comes to taste, black rice and quinoa have their differences. Cooked quinoa has a mild nutty taste while black rice is slightly sweet. Both also have a chewy texture when cooked, but black rice is softer than quinoa.

Their cooking times differ as well. The cooking time of black rice clocks in at around 25 to 45 minutes, while quinoa cooks in less time, about 15 to 20 minutes, although it still depends on the portion size. 

Both grains cook in the same manner in a rice cooker. To cook quinoa in a rice cooker, you will need to soak it first for about 30 minutes so that it becomes soft. You also need an adequate amount of water to cook quinoa. The ratio is 1:2, which means for every 1 cup of quinoa, you’ll need to use 2 cups of water. Like other grains, just put the quinoa in the inner pot, add in the correct amount of liquid, and press the button on your rice cooker to cook it.

To cook black rice in a rice cooker, the water-to-rice ratio is 1:1 3/4, which means you need to use 1 3/4 cups of water for every cup of black rice. You can also use other liquids such as chicken broth to improve the taste. Simply put the black rice into the rice cooker’s inner pot, add your water, and press the button on your rice cooker. 

Black Rice vs Quinoa: Nutritional Comparison

Black RiceQuinoa
Dietary Fiber2.2g7g
Vitamin C00

Is Quinoa Better Than Rice for Weight Loss?

Quinoa is a superfood because of its high nutritional value. Even NASA is experimenting with quinoa as a crop for astronauts going on extended space missions. While black rice has fewer calories than quinoa, many agree that quinoa can still aid a lot in weight loss. 

Quinoa is one of the few plant meals that contains all nine amino acids required for proper health, making it a good source of protein which can then help promote feelings of fullness and reduce calorie intake. The dietary fiber content of quinoa can also help regulate blood sugar levels, preventing spikes in insulin. Additionally, quinoa can prevent constipation and promote regular bowel movements, improving gut health and easing digestion.

Final Note

One of the best ways to stay healthy is to eat a well-balanced diet. Rice is widely consumed all around the world, known to be a rich source of carbohydrates. Among the many kinds of rice, black rice and quinoa are abundant in vitamins and minerals, contributing greatly to human health. 

Black rice and quinoa are highly prized sources of protein, dietary fiber, and many nutrients. Quinoa is a plant-based protein that is an excellent source of protein, zinc, and numerous minerals. Black rice is high in immunity-building antioxidants and iron, among other things. 

When it comes to nutritional comparison, quinoa takes the lead in most aspects. However, it doesn’t mean that one should dismiss black rice easily. Black rice is still a good source of antioxidants and fiber and offers unique health benefits. Consume both black rice and quinoa to get the best of both worlds.