More often than not rice is classified as "naughty food" because it has carbs.
Not all carbs are created equal.
Rice is a staple food in many countries and definitely is where I come from. No other carbs mean much to me, I don't care much for pasta or bread. Actually I think I eat bread once every few months and pasta a couple of times a month max. But when it comes to rice I CAN'T STAY AWAY.
If you are Arab you'll understand. As a kid my mum used to feed me rice and yogurt, and so did every other mum. Honestly, if you haven't tried it you have no idea what you are missing out on. I will still happily eat it for dinner every night. If you are going to try it I suggest buying "Kefir" yogurt as it tastes exactly like the yogurt I grew up eating and less like a sweet dessert (which would be weird to mix with rice).
Not all rice is created equal.
Different cultures use different types of rice and cook it in different ways. Some recipes are nutritious and some less so.
Let's start with the healthy ones:
Unlike white rice, it still contains the bran layer and the germ - which contain a lot of nutrients. Brown rice contains flavonoids (antioxidants) and apigenin, quercetin, and luteolin. These play an important role in disease prevention. It also contains the same amount of calories as white rice but brown rice has three times more fiber and is higher in protein. This helps you feel fuller for longer and helps regulate your blood sugar and insulin.
I must admit, the first time I saw black rice I was a little mind blown "How have I not seen this before?". This type of rice is often referred to as "forbidden" rice as they say that it was only reserved for royalty in ancient China.
Black rice has the highest antioxidant activity of all types of rice - nutritious! We love antioxidants right? They protect our cells from damage caused by molecules called free radicals (they can give you all kinds of diseases).
No no, I am not going through the colours of the rainbow. This rice is deeply pigmented and contains a wide variety of nutrients and beneficial plant compounds. This type of rice is higher in protein than white rice but it gets an A+ for it's antioxidant content just like black rice.
Another one of my favourites. It just tastes so damn good! Little fun fact for you, wild rice is not really rice but is the seeds of aquatic grasses. Like brown rice it contains three times more fiber than white rice making it more filling.
Bottom line is: Brown, Black, Red and Wild rice are all nutritious options that contain an impressive amount of nutrients and disease-fighting plant compounds.
Less nutritious varieties:
White rice has had everything removed from it, which extends the shelf life of white rice it also removes a lot of nutrients. So it contains less fiber, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Since white rice is lower in fiber and protein, it’s also less filling and has more of an impact on blood sugar than brown rice. It’s much lower in antioxidants than brown, black, red, or wild varieties as well.
Pre-made and packaged rice:
I have only recently discovered this - thanks to brother at uni who avoids cooking or washing dishes - and honestly it's pretty cool. 2 min to get perfectly made rice, and no dishes to wash. I was pretty skeptical - packaged foods don't necessarily scream healthy.
My rule with it is only have brown or white rice and none of the flavoured ones. The flavoured ones are very high in sodium (as high as 40% of your daily intake of sodium), in addition to added sugars, artificial colourings and preservatives - all not very good for you.
White rice and packaged rice products are less nutritious than brown, black, red, or wild varieties. Only eat them occasionally and in moderation.
Happy Healthy Living,