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Healthier Types of Rice to Choose From

Jennifer Bliss
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Even though rice has been a staple in various diets throughout the years, it’s been criticized even more in the last several for a slew of reasons. Instead of taking a look at the negative side, let’s take a look at some of the good or better alternatives you can reach for. Perhaps you will broaden your food horizons and learn something new along the way!

The Brown Rice Family

Jasmine or basmati is usually categorized in the brown rice family. They still contain their germ and bran layers, which provides fitness buffs with a range of important nutrients including B vitamins, bone-building phosphorus, and magnesium. (1)

Recent data shows that about half of all Americans don’t consume their daily quota of magnesium, which is the mineral needed for proper muscle function. Low levels of magnesium may also contribute to or at least predict heart disease. (1) Another type of brown rice to look into is brown kilijira rice, which is tiny but full of nutty flavor.  Nutritionally-speaking, it’s a lower-glycemic rice and that means it produces a smaller spike in blood sugar levels. (2)

What about Wild Rice?

It looks like rice and grows like rice wild rice, but it isn’t rice at all. Wild rice is a seed of an aquatic grass traditionally harvested in canoes by indigenous populations. It contains phosphorus, immune- and testosterone-boosting zinc, magnesium, and B vitamins, (including the cancer-protective folate). (1) Your best bet is to find organic, hand-harvested, lake-grown wild rice in specialty stores.

Sprouted Rice – a nice bang for your buck!

To make sprouted rice you must start by germinating the grain. This process encourages the rice to start growing into a plant, which increases its nutritional value. Sprouted foods such as rice are easier to digest and are quicker to cook since the hard outer shell is softened during the sprouting process. (1)

Wehani and Japonica/Black Rice

Wehani is russet-colored, slightly chewy, long-grain heirloom rice that has an appetite-inducing aroma of buttery popcorn as it cooks. Its flavor is similar to brown basmati rice. The Lindberg Family Farms developed this offering as well as their black japonica rice. (1)

Another type of black rice (also known as forbidden rice) is cultivated in China and possesses a praise-worthy sweet, nutty taste, and chewy texture. Recent research discovered that the bran layer of black rice contains a surfeit of anthocyanins, which are the same type of antioxidants found in dark berries such as blueberries. (1,2)

Red Rice is quite nice!

Bhutanese red rice has a nutty and slightly sweet flavor and its red color comes from the minerals in the soil where it grows in the eastern Himalayas. (2) This rice has more potassium that Gatorade and is high in magnesium, manganese, molybdenum, and phosphorus! (3)

But your rice choices don’t stop there!

Other types of rice you might want to try and research could be the following: Volcano, Jade Pearl, Carnaroli, Mekong Flower, Pink, and thousands of others. (4)

Did you know that there are more than 40,000 different varieties of rice worldwide? (4,5) So why not get out and try a new-to-you type of rice today?

Sources for this article include:
(1) www.bodybuilding.com
(2) www.self.com
(3) www.lotusfoods.com
(4) en.wikipedia.org
(5) www.riceassociation.org.uk

Image source: flic.kr

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