Red vs black vs brown vs white rice: Which one is healthier?


Are you confused about which one to choose: Red vs black vs brown vs white rice? Let us help you pick the healthiest out of them all.

Many of us avoid eating rice on a daily basis because of its association with weight gain. In India, the most commonly consumed variety of rice is polished white rice, which has a bright, white appearance due to the processing and polishing it undergoes. However, the healthiest types of rice available are red, black, and brown rice, which have higher levels of fibre, protein, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals compared to white rice. The primary problem with white rice is that they are highly processed, which means they lack essential nutrients and do not keep you full for long. Therefore, choosing the right type of rice is crucial to maintain good health. Having said that, it’s essential to compare red vs black vs brown vs white rice to determine which one is the healthiest for your overall well-being.

White vs red vs brown vs black: Know the pros and cons?

Here are some of the pros and cons of black, white, red, and brown rice as explained by Nutritionist Deepti Khatuja.

Pros of white rice

1. Provides energy: White rice is a simple carbohydrate, meaning your body can break it down more easily and absorb the nutrients and carbohydrates more quickly because it lacks the bran and germ, as well as the fibre and fat content that goes along with them. Because of this, white rice is an excellent choice for anyone who requires a quick energy source, such as athletes or anyone partaking in a lengthier exercise regimen.
2. Gets absorbed quickly: Fibre, protein, and fat content of complex carbohydrates may be more difficult for some people to digest if they have specific digestive issues. White rice that is simple to digest is a terrific way to reduce painful bloating and irritation, even though brown rice or other whole grains might not be an option for them during a flare-up. White rice can be helpful even if you don’t have a recognised digestive issue if you’re experiencing symptoms like severe diarrhoea.
3. Easily accessible: White rice is more accessible to people from all economic situations because it is usually less expensive than its whole-grain rivals. Additionally, white rice might be the only grain available at most of the local stores. After all, white rice may not be totally bad for your health. You may combine this adaptable and simple-to-prepare grain with other wholesome components to make wholesome meals.

Benefits of white rice
White rice, if cooked properly, can be healthy for you. Image courtesy: Adobe stock

Cons of white rice

1. Makes you gain weight: White rice has a high-calorie content per serving, making it a calorie-dense food. It could be difficult to include this in a weight loss regimen.
2. Affects blood sugar levels: White rice has a high GI, which implies that it absorbs and digests quickly, raising blood sugar levels. It’s also crucial to remember that eating white rice frequently may raise your chance of getting type 2 diabetes. People who ate more than five servings of white rice per week had a 17 percent higher risk of getting diabetes than those who ate less than one serving per month, according to a study published by the American Diabetes Association. But eating white rice with fibre, protein, or good fats can help slow down the rice’s absorption and lessen its effect on blood sugar levels.

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Pros of brown rice

1. Good for diabetics: People with diabetes can benefit greatly from brown rice because it has a low glycemic index. This can lessen insulin spikes, which is highly helpful in regulating blood sugar levels. Moreover, brown rice contains complex carbohydrates that may slow down the body’s absorption of sugar. This can have a significant impact on managing diabetes as well.
2. Prevents obesity: Many people who want to lose weight eat brown rice instead of white rice. This is a result of its high manganese content, which aids in the synthesis of body fat. It helps lower your body fat percentage and BMI (Body Mass Index). Moreover, brown rice contributes to your body’s increased production of healthy HDL cholesterol. It effectively combats obesity.
3. Beneficial for your heart: The fact that brown rice is so heart-healthy is another factor in the popularity of brown rice these days. It prevents a host of cardiovascular issues, including blocked arteries, heart attacks, strokes, and an overworked heart. Brown rice does so by lowering the body’s levels of harmful cholesterol. It also aids in the treatment of hypertension and other vascular conditions like hardening of the arteries (Atherosclerosis). Overall, it protects and maintains the health of your cardiovascular system.

Cons of brown rice

1. Cooking time: It takes longer to look as compared to other rice varieties.

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Pros of red rice

1. Boosts immunity: Antioxidants and magnesium, which are abundant in red rice, aid in the treatment and prevention of numerous illnesses. Moreover, it has selenium, which aids in the defence against several illnesses.
2. Prevents asthma attacks: Regular consumption of red rice can help prevent asthma by improving oxygen circulation due to its high magnesium content.
3. Keep osteoporosis and arthritis at bay: It is an excellent diet to increase bone density and prevent disorders related to the bones because it is a high source of calcium and magnesium.

Cons of red rice

1. Leads to indigestion: Due to the high fibre and protein content, consuming red rice in excess might cause indigestion, bloating, and stomach pain.
2. Not economically friendly: Red rice is higher in cost as compared to white rice and other varieties of rice.

Pros of black rice

1. Rich in antioxidants: A study published in the Journal of Medical Food black rice has the highest level of antioxidants as compared to other rice varieties. The body’s oxidative stress is fought by the anthocyanin. Additionally, it lowers the chance of Alzheimer’s disease and some cancers, including colorectal and breast cancer. Other than anthocyanin, black rice contains 23 more plant components, such as flavonoids and carotenoids, which have antioxidant qualities.
2. Rich in amino acids: Black rice contains about eighteen distinct kinds of amino acids, which are essential for bodily processes, cell regeneration, and repair. It also keeps the body’s energy levels stable.
3. Good for eyes: Black rice contains carotenoids including zeaxanthin and lutein, as well as vitamin E, which are good for the eyes. Additionally, it guards against age-related ocular degeneration, which might result in blindness. Also, antioxidants lessen the damage that UV rays do to the eyes.

black rice
Black rice are healthy for your body! Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Cons of black rice

1. Availability: Black rice is not easily available everywhere as compared to other varieties of rice.
2. Not economically friendly: Black rice is higher in cost as compared to white rice and other varieties of rice.

Red vs black vs brown vs white rice: Which one is healthier?

The most nutritious types of rice are red, black, and brown. Compared to white rice, they have higher fibre, protein, antioxidants, and other vitamins and minerals. The biggest problem with white rice is its high processing level, preventing it from giving you the necessary nutrients and filling you up like other rice varieties. Consider the amount of rice you eat, regardless of the type you choose. Since rice has a lot of calories, eating too much of any dish is not a good idea.

Each variety of rice – white, red, black, and brown – offer unique nutritional benefits. Understanding their pros and cons, considering personal health goals, and selecting nutrient-dense ingredients are key to creating a wholesome healthy diet.

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