Which rice is best for your health: white rice, brown rice, black rice, wild rice, red rice

Forget the days when rice was white and the only decision you had to make at the supermarket was if you wanted a big or huge pack added to your grocery store.

Nowadays we just don’t have many different varieties of rice readily available, but also a range of different cooking options so you can find rice in cups, bags and mixes with other grains.

So, for all rice lovers, it’s time to distinguish brown from wild to black and everything in between so you can make the best nutritional choice for you and your dietary goals.

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stir-fried white rice
Which rice do you prefer? (Getty Images / iStockphoto)

White rice

Even when it comes to white rice there are many different options. You can now find short-grain, arborio, medium-grain, and long-grain white rice varieties in both quick-cook and traditional longer-cook options. White rice remains the most common type of rice, but nutritionally it is not the best choice. Processed to remove much of the wholemeal component, white rice is less rich in protein, dietary fiber and essential nutrients than brown rice. Being a highly refined cereal, white rice also has a relatively high glycemic index, which results in relatively high blood glucose levels after eating.

Specifically, shorter grain white rice includes sushi rice and arborio rice commonly used to make risotto. Shorter grain rice has a higher glycemic index than longer grain white rice and can even turn sweet once cooked, which is why in some cultures they are also used to make desserts. Medium grain white rice is the most commonly served variety with Asian cuisine and has a relatively high glycemic index.

In addition to short and medium grain white rice, there is also long grain rice which includes both basmati and jasmine rice. Sometimes referred to as “healthier” options, long grain rice has a lower GI than short grain rice but still lacks the nutrient density of brown rice.

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White rice in the pot
When it comes to white rice, there are still many different options. (iStock)

brown rice

The popularity of brown rice has increased exponentially in Australia in recent years and is now a popular option in quick cook varieties and Japanese menus. A medium-grain rice, from which brown rice is made more than whole grain, which means it is richer in both dietary fiber and protein as well as key nutrients including iron, vitamin B and magnesium. With its slightly nutty taste and chewy texture, brown rice is a healthier alternative to white rice as a daily addition is to salads, fries and sushi.

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Bowl of brown rice
Brown rice is richer in both dietary fiber and protein. (iStock)

Black rice

Sometimes referred to as purple rice, black rice is a nutrient-rich brown rice and contains the antioxidant anthocyanin that gives the rice a deep color when cooked. Rich in iron and vitamin E, black rice is more nutritious than white rice and contains slightly more protein than brown rice, making it a particularly filling option. With its nutty flavor, black rice goes well with salads, puddings and desserts.

red rice

Although not as common in Australia, red rice is a brown rice that also retains its rich color thanks to the anthocyanin antioxidant. With a rich nutty flavor, red rice is extremely nutritious due to its high fiber content and versatile, it is a great addition to any rice mix or flavorful salad.

Wild rice

Significantly richer in protein than other types of rice, wild rice is technically a non-rice type of grass. Up to 30% fewer calories, it is packed with a number of key nutrients including magnesium, zinc and vitamin B. Although more expensive, wild rice is a great nutritional choice and can be easily enjoyed mixed with others. variety of rice or enjoyed as a salad base.

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Author Susie Burrell is a leading Australian dietitian and nutritionist, founder of Train meco-host of The nutritional sofa podcast and a leading media spokesperson, with regular appearances in both print and television, commenting on all areas of diet, weight loss and nutrition.

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