What Kind of Rice is Good for You?


Rice is highly versatile, making it a staple food in many cuisines worldwide. There are many types of rice and they vary in flavor, color, and texture. We’re all mostly familiar with white rice, but there are other rice varieties that are healthier than this type.

Research shows that whole-grain rice varieties, such as brown rice, come with more health benefits than refined grains. Whole grain rice varieties are linked to a reduced risk of heart disease, obesity, and certain cancers. And they contain higher amounts of disease-fighting antioxidants, leading to a lower risk of conditions such as depression, metabolic syndrome, and other diseases.

What is the Healthiest Rice to Eat?

According to experts, the healthiest rice to eat is black rice. This type of rice is sometimes referred to as forbidden rice as it used to be reserved for royalty in Ancient China. Despite its name, black rice grains are actually more purple in color and take on a vibrant purple hue when cooked. It has a sweet, nutty flavor and chewy texture. It’s usually available as medium-grain, but long-grain and short-grain rice varieties are also available.

While it may be slightly difficult to find, black rice has been shown to have the highest amount of antioxidants across all rice varieties. This is because it contains a surplus of anthocyanins, which are the same type of antioxidants found in blueberries.

The antioxidant content in black rice is responsible for the dark purple hue of the grains, as well as flavonoids and carotenoids. They also help protect the cells from free radicals that can progress certain health issues such as heart disease, certain cancers, and cognitive decline. 

Aside from the high antioxidant content, black rice is also rich in fiber and contains nutrients that can lower cholesterol and promote healthy digestion. It can also help prevent insulin resistance, which is often linked to the risk of developing diabetes and obesity. Moreover, one cup of cooked rice has around 10 grams of protein, making it ideal for muscle-building.

Is White Rice Healthy?

There are many different types of rice but white and brown rice are the most common. In fact, when you hear the phrase “eat rice,” most people think of white rice first, and then brown rice after. 

Compared to brown rice and other whole grains, the husk, bran, and germ layer have been removed from white rice grains. Due to this, white rice contains less nutritional value than whole-grain rice. Aside from being less nutritious, it also lacks fiber and has a high glycemic index, which is not recommended for diabetics or those watching their weight. 

Refined grains (such as white rice and white bread) can lead to increased weight gain. Many people think that eating fried rice instead of plain white rice is a healthier option to white grains but in reality, it’s the same grains that have just been stir-fried. Instead of a stir fry, it’s best to consume whole grains instead for truly healthier options.

However, white grains aren’t entirely unhealthy. They can still be a part of a healthy diet when paired with lean proteins, vegetables, and healthy fats. 

What is the Best Rice to Eat for Weight Loss?

You may have heard that eating rice may make you gain weight. However, that isn’t true at all as there are rice varieties that can help you lose weight.

Brown Rice

One of the best healthy rice choices that can help you maintain or lose weight is brown rice. Unlike white rice, brown rice is a whole-grain type of rice as it still contains the bran layer, the nutritious germ, and the carb-rich endosperm. It’s milled in less time than white rice, allowing it to retain its bran layers. 

Brown rice is rich in nutrients like magnesium, B vitamins, zinc, and iron. It is also rich in flavonoids, lowering the risk of conditions such as heart disease and certain cancers. Brown and white rice may have the same amount of carbs but brown grains are better when it comes to blood sugar. Brown rice also helps stabilize blood sugar and one cooked cup contains a high amount of dietary fiber. This can keep you full for a while, making it an ideal part of any healthy diet. It is also slightly higher in protein than white rice.

Red Rice

Red rice types such as Himalayan red rice and Thai red cargo rice have a deep hue and contain an impressive array of nutrients. Harvested as both long-grain and medium-grain rice, red rice contains significantly more protein and fiber than white rice. Similar to black rice, red rice also contains anthocyanin, contributing to the color of the grains. 

Just like brown rice, red rice is packed with B vitamins and other minerals essential for good health. However, the manganese content in red rice is higher than in brown rice, making it ideal for those who want to lose weight. Additionally, red rice is rich in fiber and greatly helps in maintaining blood sugar levels.

What Kind of Rice is Best for Your Gut?

Our digestive system breaks the food molecules into nutrients and provides them to the rest of the body. It’s important to maintain a healthy gut, and there are some types of rice that can help with this.

Wild Rice

Native to North America, wild rice is technically not rice at all but is the seed of an aquatic grass traditionally harvested via canoe by indigenous populations. Wild rice has a chewy texture and a smoky, nutty flavor. 

Wild rice contains impressive amounts of fiber, helping eliminate constipation, bloating, diarrhea, cramping, and excess flatulence. It is also rich in B vitamins, manganese, and magnesium. Some studies have indicated that replacing white rice with wild rice can effectively reduce cholesterol levels, lowering the risk of heart disease.

Wild rice also has the ability to lower triglycerides, helping balance blood sugar levels in the body.

Red Rice

Aside from helping you lose weight, red rice also aids in digestion. It’s a great source of fiber and it can drain out toxins from the body to ease bowel movements. It can prevent constipation and tackle diarrhea issues.

Brown Rice

Whole grains are great for maintaining gut health, and brown rice is no exception. Retaining its bran and germ layer, the fiber content in brown rice can get things moving in the digestive tract while feeding healthy bacteria in the gut. 

Final Note

Rice is a staple in many countries and it comes in numerous varieties, colors, and textures. White rice is highly popular and the most common but it contains less nutrients compared to whole grain varieties. To get the highest health benefits, it’s best to consume grains such as brown rice, wild rice, and red rice.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is jasmine rice better than white rice?

If you want to eat white grains but are looking for a healthier option, you can reach for jasmine rice instead. White jasmine rice is a long-grain rice that contains iron and niacin, aiding in the production of red blood cells in the body.

Another option that you could look into is basmati rice. If you’re worried about the higher glycemic index of white grains, basmati rice is much lower on the scale. You can also look for brown basmati rice in health food stores if you want a much healthier option.

Is sticky rice healthy?

Sticky rice is also known as glutinous rice. As implied in its name, it has a sticky texture when cooked. It does not contain any gluten but instead has a high starch content. One rice dish made with sticky rice that you may be very familiar with is sushi. Another is Thai mango sticky rice which is made with sweetened condensed milk and coconut milk.

Like regular rice, glutinous rice may have less nutritional value than whole-grain types. It is also mostly used in desserts, which may not be good for diabetics.

Arborio rice is another type of grain that is sticky and creamy when cooked. Commonly used for risotto, arborio rice contains some protein and offers vitamins A, C, and iron. It can be a good option for those trying to bulk up at the gym.