Famished? Now, what’s the first thing you will be looking for? Comfort food? For most of us, it is rice even when we are on a weight loss diet. There’s something hugely comforting about a plateful of white rice, steaming and gleaming in all its resplendent glory, isn’t it? Well, has it ever happened to you? You have been away from home for days together and you got to eat varieties of the choicest of foods, but as soon as you reach home rice is something which you really crave and of course home-cooked food.
Food trends keep changing and suddenly white rice, our staple food is getting a bad name! White rice is bad, seems to be the new buzzword. Now, there are different types of rice grains and not just the white and brown variety which we are more familiar with. White is bad, brown is good! Right? Not so fast! We need to get our facts right and think how we can broaden our horizons as far as our humble rice grain is concerned.
Varieties of Rice
Risotto or sticky rice? Long-grained basmati or the healthy brown rice? When you have it for lunch, do you realize that rice has a number of varieties as well? It can be exotic too, like the new kid on the block, wild rice or red rice! There are options galore and if you are wondering about the healthiest types of rice, no need to rack your brains, as we go into a discussion of the rainbow-hued rice and how it can add a good many nutrients to our diet. This should be reason enough to start exploring varied options. After all, if we can have so many different varieties, why settle for only white, or for that matter, brown rice?
Our love for white grain can be traced back to our great ancestors, which just goes to show the sheer universality of the grain. It is a staple food for almost half the population of the world. A school of thought is of the opinion that rice originated in South India and then it traveled to China. Korea, Philippines, Japan, Indonesia followed suit and the Asians never thought of parting from this wonderful grain. From there it traveled to Europe. The minute we hear about rice we think of the white one, and though weight watchers think we need to eliminate rice from our diet, there are ample benefits of this wonderful grain. So before finding out about the types of rice, we must find out the benefits of white rice.
Benefits of White Rice
If you’re thinking that white rice has no benefits to speak of and just makes you fat, think again! Check out the benefits of white rice and see if your unfavorable opinion changes about it.
- It provides energy- Have you ever wondered how you get a renewed source of energy when you have a plateful of rice? Have you felt that there’s a spring in your step and you are a bundle of energy rushing into doing this and that post a meal with rice? That’s because carbohydrates provide energy, period. Rice being full of carbs, gives you the impetus to do tons of work without feeling sluggish. There are various types of white rice So ignoring rice completely, white or otherwise is sheer folly.
- It helps build muscles- Rice is a good source of amino acids, and when you combine it with meat and fish. it helps create a wonderful diet that helps your muscles grow.
- Perfect for people who are suffering from gastrointestinal disorders- Since it is not too high on fiber, people with digestive issues like diarrhea, colitis can eat rice without worrying about consequences. When people are sick in India, they are given a gruel like broth called khichdi, which is an easily digestible combination of rice and pulses that perks up your immunity in a jiffy.
- Low sodium content- The low sodium content helps patients with kidney trouble and elevated hypertension. So patients suffering from these diseases can benefit from eating rice.
- High thiamine content- Thiamine helps to build high cognitive processes so rice should be fed to children as well as people who need to build their cognitive process.
- Good for your immunity- The manganese content in rice boosts the immune system and should, therefore, be part of your diet.
Nutrition chart of white rice (one cup of rice)
- Calories – 205
- Total fat-0 g
- Saturated fat- 0 g
- Polyunsaturated fat-0 g
- Monounsaturated fat- 0 g
- Cholesterol- 0 mg
- Sodium- 2 mg
- Potassium- 55 mg
- Total Carbohydrate- 45 g
- Dietary fiber-1 g
- Sugars- 0 g
- Protein -4 g
Recipe of white rice
There are recipes galore of the widely-available white rice. Here is one for you to try:
A break away from your regular steamed rice affair, here is something to add to your regular menu.
- 2 cups long-grain white rice
- 1/2 medium onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 2 sprigs fresh cilantro or flat-leaf parsley
- Cover the rice with hot water and let it stand for 10 minutes. Drain the rice in a sieve or and rinse until the water runs clear. Shake the sieve vigorously to remove the excess water.
- In a blender, blend the onion, garlic, salt, and 3 cups of water and process until blended properly.
- In a medium saucepan over moderate heat, heat the oil until hot but not smoking. Add the rice and sauté until it crackles when stirred, for about 3 minutes. Add the onion and garlic mixture, bring to a boil and cook for another 3 minutes. Add the cilantro or parsley and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover and cook until small holes appear in the rice, for about 20 minutes. Fluff with a fork and remove the herb sprigs. Keep covered until it is ready to serve.
Brown rice and its benefits
The battle between white and brown has been heating up. It’s a healthier version of white rice and the glycemic index of rice types is something we must consider. Brown rice has a fairly low glycemic index, which makes it a must-have in a diabetic’s diet, as then the sugar levels get stabilized and does not shoot up as soon as you have certain foods.
- It is rich in selenium- It protects your body from common diseases like arthritis, cancer, and heart disease.
- Rich in manganese- It is full of manganese, which is good for synthesizing fats and also for our reproductive and nervous system.
- It is full of natural oils- Natural oils help stabilize your cholesterol.
- Promotes weight loss- It is full of fiber and thus eases the digestive system, helping with weight-loss in the process.
- It is not stripped of nutrients- As it is considered whole-grain, it is not refined, thus full of nutrients, it thus reduces the risk of heart ailments and cholesterol.
- High in antioxidants- It’s rich in antioxidants and its whopping antioxidant content can be compared to that of the berries, which are the kings of antioxidants.
- Fiber content pretty high- The high fiber content prevents colon cancer. It helps get rid of the toxins from the body and keeps it healthy and free from diseases.
- Good food for babies- Since it so full of nutrients, it helps with the babies growth cycle. Brown rice is way better than that refined stuff.
- Good for curbing candida yeast infections- It stops the growth of candida yeast and similar infections as it is high glycemic food.
Nutrition Facts of Brown Rice
Check out the nutritional facts of the brown rice. (One cup of rice)
- Calories – 216 g
- Total fat- 2 g
- Saturated fat- 0 g
- Polyunsaturated fat-0.3 g
- Monounsaturated fat- 0.3 g
- Cholesterol- 0 mg
- Sodium- 10 mg
- Potassium- 43 mg
- Total Carbohydrate- 23 g
- Dietary fiber-1.8 g
- Sugars- 0.4 g
- Protein – 2.6 g
Recipe of brown rice
You can include the very nutritious brown rice in your diet chart by following this recipe.
A blend of protein and carbohydrates this recipe can be very filling and could keep you satiated for hours together.
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
- 3 cups cooked instant or quick-cooking brown rice
- 1 cup diced extra-sharp Cheddar cheese
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 4 large eggs
- Preheat oven to 425°F. Generously coat a 9-inch pie pan with cooking spray.
- Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and spinach; cook, stirring, 1 minute more. Transfer to a large bowl. Add rice, cheese, pepper and salt to the bowl and stir to combine.
- Whisk eggs and milk in a medium bowl. Stir into the spinach-rice mixture. Transfer to the prepared pan and smooth the top with a spatula.
- Bake the pie until lightly browned in spots, about 25 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes before cutting into wedges.
Though it is named rice, it is not your typical Asian rice. It is actually an aquatic rice. This rice is gluten-free, high in fiber and protein. It is very nutritious and looks black in color.
- Heart Health: When our main aim is to look for ways to boost heart health, wild rice certainly delivers. There is no sodium in wild rice, which helps to reduce blood pressure, but there is also a high amount of fiber, which is known to lower the “bad” cholesterol from the cardiovascular system.
- Digestive Processes: As mentioned above, wild rice boasts an impressive amount of dietary fiber. Aside from normalizing your cholesterol balances, fiber also bulks up your stool and eases your digestive process.
- Immune System Booster: Improving the health of your general immune system is one of the best ways to increase your overall health, and one of the best ways to get that immunity boost with vitamin C, of which wild rice has a significant amount. Vitamin C promotes the white blood cells, which work against the foreign bodies which affect the defense system of the body.
- The strength of your bone: As we age, we slow down and our bodies begin to break down. Our bones and their mineral density get affected as well. One way to overcome this is with a fair balance of the essential amount of minerals in our diet, which wild rice can provide.
- For your weight loss Efforts: As a low-calorie and gluten-free food, as are all true rice, wild rice can help those who are attempting to lose weight and prevent obesity. Unlike white rice, which can bulk up your diet and actually help gain weight, wild rice has a different effect, preventing overeating due to high fiber and nutrient content, without supplying a high level of calories.
- Anti-Aging: One of the most important benefits you can derive from wild rice is it is full of antioxidants. White rice typically has no antioxidant capacity, but wild rice contains about 20 to 30 times more antioxidants.
- Chronic Disease: Among the greatest benefits of wild rice is it is full of antioxidants. It has been shown to lower the chances of certain chronic conditions including heart ailments. This is due to the same neutralizing effect on dangerous free radicals that was explained above.
- Growth and Repair: The high content of protein found in wild rice can also be good for increasing muscle mass, proper growth, and balanced development in our bodies.
- Birth disorders- Wild rice has numerous vitamins such as vitamin B6, also known as folate or folic acid, and this has been proven to reduce neural tube defects in newborn infants. Mothers expecting their babies must include wild rice in their diets.
Wild Rice Nutrition Facts
Before we think this is the healthiest type of rice, check out the nutritional facts of wild rice!
- Calories – 357 g
- Total fat- 1.1 g
- Saturated fat- 0.2 g
- Polyunsaturated fat- 0.7 g
- Monounsaturated fat- 0.2g
- Cholesterol- 0 mg
- Sodium- 7 mg
- Potassium- 427 g
- Total Carbohydrate- 75 g
- Dietary fiber-6 g
- Sugars- 2.5 g
- Protein – 15 g
Recipe of Wild Rice
The following recipe is a nutritious one, sure to add variety to your regular meals.
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1/2 cup uncooked wild rice
- 1 pound lump crabmeat, drained and shell pieces removed
- 3/4 cup dry bread crumbs
- 1/2 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
- 1/4 cup minced shallots
- 1/4 cup light mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 large egg whites, lightly beaten
- 4 teaspoons olive oil, divided
- Bring water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add the wild rice; cover, reduce the heat and simmer for 1 hour or until it is tender. Combine cooked wild rice, crab, and next 11 ingredients (crab through egg whites) in a large bowl. Divide the mixture into 8 equal portions, shaping each into a 1-inch-thick patty.
- Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add 4 patties; cook 4 minutes. Carefully turn patties over; cook 4 minutes or until golden. Repeat procedure with remaining oil and patties.
Now that we know the benefits of rice, we should know why we must include rice in our diets and not replace rice with wheat, as we will be reducing the amino acid content, said to be the building blocks of the body. Eat the kind of rice which has the proteins, vitamin B, and fiber to cater to your nutritional needs. Look for the healthiest types of rice and go ahead, indulge yourself in a plateful of white, black or brown rice.