There are lots of rice varieties. Each type of rice has its own characteristics and nutrient ingredients. White rice is becoming more familiar and popular, while brown rice is recognized as good for health. There is also red rice which sounds like strange. Now, let's learn about different types of rice and compare which ones are better for us.
1. What is the origin of rice?
Rice is a staple food for half the world’s population and its cultivation is dated back some 7,000 years ago in Southeast Asia. It is a symbol and also part of ceremonies and offerings. It’s one of the most important food crops in the world and an important part of Asian culture.
Especially, Vietnam is one of the world's richest agricultural regions and is the second-largest exporter worldwide and the world's seventh-largest consumer of rice. Also rice became an essential part of Vietnamese’s daily lives with eight out of ten Vietnamese living in rural areas and making their living by growing rice.
2. White and brown rice - which one really is better?
White and brown rice are the most popular types of rice and have similar origins. Brown rice is simply the entire whole rice grain. It contains the fiber-rich bran, the nutrient-packed germ and the carbohydrate-rich endosperm.
On the other hand, white rice is stripped of its bran and germ, leaving just the endosperm. It’s then processed to improve taste, extend shelf life and enhance cooking properties. White rice is considered empty carbs since it loses its main sources of nutrients. However, in the Vietnam and many other countries, white rice is typically enriched with added nutrients, including iron and B vitamins like folic acid, niacin, thiamine and more.
This table shows the different types of rice compare nutritionally when cooked.
3. Why is brown rice better than white rice for diabetes control?
Firstly, we need to consider the glycemic index of rice. According to Harvard Health Publishing, the glycemic index of white rice is GI-73, while brown rice has a glycemic index of GI-68. Thus, brown rice has a lower glycemic index, which means its carbs are more slowly converted into blood sugar, making it more ideal for people with diabetes or pre-diabetes.
Secondly, Brown rice also contains more fiber compared to white rice. Specifically, when looking at the fiber content, brown rice has 1.6 grams of fiber per 100 grams and versus white rice has around 0.4 grams of fiber.
On the whole, brown rice is the best choice to control diabetes with low glycemic index and more fiber.
4. Is red rice good for pregnant women?
Red rice has become more popular and available over the last few years, and with good reason. It's arguably the most nutritious rice variety to eat.
Red rice is different just because it's contains compounds called anthocyanins. We often think of anthocyanins in blueberries and other red-purple fruits and vegetables. The fact that red rice contains anthocyanins is a big positive as you're getting more nutrients.
You can buy red rice with the hull removed or with the hull still present. Red rice has pretty similar calorie content to the other rices. For 100 grams of uncooked red rice there's 360 calories. Fibre content is much higher at 6.2 grams per 100 grams.
In fact, red rice is rich in carbs, protein, fiber, B vitamins, calcium, iron, magnesium... Thus, it is good for pregnant women, children. However, it is worth noting that red rice has a high glycemic index. Therefore, it is not suitable for people with diabetes.
Above is all you need to know about rice. Now, you can easily choose the type of rice that good for your health.