Rices And Their Benefits
There are over 40,000 varieties of rice in the world, but there are only certain kinds you can find to buy in the store. It's the main diet of many cultures of people, whether they eat it by itself, in a stir fry, in biryani, or as an accompaniment to other foods (especially saucy dishes, like Indian curries). It's also used in different desserts and drinks, as well as turned into a milk that is seen on most grocery shelves.
Different rices have different nutrients and flavors, so it depends on what you're in the mood for and what textures you like. The longer the grain of rice is, the less it will stick together when you cook it. That's also mostly true with rices that still contain layers of bran, like brown rice. Below are popular kinds of rice and what they're all about.
This is the most popular and common form of rice, at least for non-ethnic groups. The husk is removed and the bran layers are milled until they turn white. This process removes most of the vitamins and minerals found in brown rice. Although it's good for desserts or to have as a side of carbohydrates, it doesn't provide much in the way of nutrients like other rices do.
The hull has been removed from this rice, but not the bran layers which contain the vitamins and minerals. It is kind of chewy with a nutty flavor and requires more cooking time, but the nutrients you get are well worth it.
That's not too much of a difference, but brown rice also contains a lot more fiber, potassium, and B vitamins (which provides us some energy). There is a significant amount of omega-6 fatty acids, as well as omega-3. It is also rich in magnesium, manganese, and selenium, as well as other minerals. All of this you would miss out on by eating only white rice.
This rice is very aromatic and is unique compared to other rices. India is the main producer of basmati rice, followed by Pakistan, and it is the main rice used in Indian restaurants. In the United States, there is a rice that is made with basmati in mind, called Texmati, but if you want the good stuff, you have to be willing to pay more and maybe go to an Indian grocery store. If you can find it in a regular grocery store, look for it to be sold in a bag made of cloth or something similar. Also make sure it's made in India or Pakistan.
People compare the smell of jasmine rice to popcorn, but it loses its aroma after a few months, so you want to make sure it's fresh. It is grown mainly in Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia and clings together when cooked, more so than basmati or American rice. There are brown versions of both jasmine and basmati, which will retain essential minerals and vitamins, just like regular brown rice.
This rice gets its color from pigments called anthocyanins that can also be blue or purple, depending on their pH balance. It can be partly hulled or unhulled and it has a nutty flavor. Red rice has about the same nutritional value as black rice, but with red, you get additional antioxidants, which is what fights bad free radicals in your body.
Black rice turns a dark purple color when cooked and has a nutty flavor much like brown rice. It is rich in vitamins and minerals and has more antioxidants than blueberries! It also has the most protein and fiber when compared to white, brown, and red rices. Black rice takes longer to cook than white rice, so it would be good to soak it for hours ahead of time.
After reading about these rices, it's clear who the winner is in terms of nutrients, but they all have their place in one way or another. If you can make black rice or buy it somewhere already cooked, go ahead and do your body a favor. At the very least, try to opt for brown rice when you're out.