Rice Nutrition Facts

Calories in Rice and Their Health Benefits

Different varieties of rice
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Rice is a starchy grain, used as a staple ingredient by more than half the world's population. Its versatility and ability to adapt to any flavor and seasoning makes it a valued ingredient in almost any type of cuisine. In addition, its chewiness and soft texture adds substance to meals, complimenting multiple types of meal plans.

There are many varieties of rice which are divided into categories based on the seed size.

Rice can be long grain, medium grain, or short grain. Basmati rice is a long grain rice, while sticky rice and aborio rice, otherwise known as risotto, are types of short grain rice. All rice is originally whole grain, brown, with the bran attached, but white varieties are pearled for the more familiar white rice.

During the pearling process the grain passes between a machine where it is rolled and the bran is gently "pearled" off, leaving the white kernel intact. This makes the grain a processed, refined grain and it is no longer a whole grain. Pearling also lowers cooking time and extends the shelf life of grains.

White Rice, Medium Gran Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1 cup cooked (186 g)
Per Serving% Daily Value*
Calories 242 
Calories from Fat 4 
Total Fat 0.4g1%
Saturated Fat 0.1g1%
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.1g 
Monounsaturated Fat 0.1g 
Cholesterol 0mg0%
Sodium 0mg0%
Potassium 53.94mg2%
Carbohydrates 53.2g18%
Dietary Fiber 0.6g2%
Sugars 0g 
Protein 4.4g 
Vitamin A 0% · Vitamin C 0%
Calcium 0% · Iron 34%

*Based on a 2,000 calorie diet

All rice is considered starchy and provides a source carbohydrates. Because one-third cup of cooked rice contains about 15 grams of carbohydrates, it's important to watch your portion and to aim to make rice your side dish. Sticking to about a fist full or one-forth of your plate is a good way to portion control rice.

And when possible, choose whole grain brown rice, which contains more filling fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Wild rice is also a solid choice because it contains more fiber.

Health Benefits of Rice 

Depending on the type of rice you choose, rice can serve as a good source of b-vitamins, thiamin, niacin, riboflavin, fiber, and iron. Rice is also an excellent source of manganese and magnesium.

Thiamin is a b-vitamin that helps with carbohydrate metabolism. Magnesium is the structural component of bones that assists in hundreds of enzyme reactions involved in the synthesis of DNA and proteins and is required for proper nerve conduction and muscle contraction. Manganese is the component of antioxidant enzymes that assists in carbohydrate and protein metabolism.

Brown rice and enriched rice contain more vitamins than regular white rice. In addition to thiamin and magnesium, brown rice contains selenium, which influences thyroid function and is important in antioxidant enzymes. And enriched rice contains folate. Brown rice is also a better source of fiber than white.

Common Questions About Rice 

What are the different varieties of rice?

There are many different types of rice, some of which are long grain, medium, and short grain.

Within these varieties there are also different types of processing. Converted rice, for instance, is parboiled to remove that surface starch. This type of rice retains more nutrients than white rice and cooks more slowly than regular milled rice. Instant or quickly cooking rice, on the other hand, is fully cooked and then flash frozen. This process removes some of the nutrients and flavor, but makes it a very quick cooking rice. 

Short grain rice tends to have higher glycemic index than long grain and medium grain rice. This means that it raises blood sugars at a quicker rate than white rice.

The most popular forms of rice available in the United States are aborio rice, basmati rice, jasmine rice, brown rice, sticky rice, wild rice, and wild pecan rice.

Aborio rice, better known as risotto, is a short grain rice that is white in color with mild flavor. This type of rice is typically used in Italian dishes.

Sticky rice is another short grain rice that is used in many Asian cuisines. This type of rice is also known as glutinous rice or sweet rice. It can be ground into flour and used for dumplings. It is also used in making rice vinegar and Japenese sake.

Wild rice, usually a whole grain, has a nuttier flavor and is the seed of an unrelated reedlike aquatic plant. This type of rice is typically used as a side dish and has more vitamins, minerals and fiber than white varieties.

Wild pecan rice is a unique long-grain rice that has a nutty flavor and rich aroma.

The most nutritious form of rice is brown rice. It is a high fiber grain which usually takes longer to cook than white rice. Typically, brown rice contains about seven times more fiber than white rice. For example, one cup of cooked medium grain white rice contains 0.5 grams of fiber, whereas 1 cup of cooked brown rice contains 3.5 grams of fiber. Brown rice also contains fewer calories and carbohydrates than white rice (about 25 calories and 7 g carbohydrate). Lastly, brown rice has more minerals than white rice.

Can I eat rice if I am trying to lose weight?

Rice can be incorporated into most meal plans, even those that are calorie and carbohydrate restricted. The key to eating rice is to manage your portion. One serving of rice is about one-third cup cooked. If rice is serving as the only starch at your meal, aim to keep your portion to about two-third to three-fourth cup cooked.

Avoid eating large quantities of rice, as this can lead to excess calorie and carbohydrate consumption. The issue with overeating carbohydrates, particularly refined, processed ones, is that if the converted glucose cannot be burned as fuel it is stored as fat. In addition, refined, processed carbohydrates can cause blood sugars to rise quickly, resulting in an increase in insulin levels. For those people with diabetes or insulin resistance, this can be problematic as it is difficult to lose weight and reduce blood sugars.

Picking and Storing Rice

When possible choose whole grain brown rice. This means that the bran is still attached and the seed is intact. Whole grain rice has more fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

Store white rice in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. At temperatures of 70 degrees or below, rice can be stored for 10 years of more. Brown rice can be stored for about 6 months in a cool dry place, but if you place it in the freezer it will keep for about one year.

Once rice is cooked, store it in the refrigerator and use it within three to four days. You will know if your rice has gone bad if it is hard and dry, or if it has an unpleasant smell.

Avoid instant or quick cooking rice when possible as this type of rice removes some of the nutrients and flavor.

Healthy Ways to Prepare Rice

Most American grown rice is clean and free of insects and, therefore, does not need to be rinsed. However, if the package recommends rinsing or soaking you should do so.

The standard ratio for cooking rice is two parts liquid to one part rice. However, this can vary depending on the variety. Cooking time can also vary depending on the type of rice. One cup of raw, uncooked rice generally yields about 3 to 4 cups cooked. When in doubt about how to cook a specific type of rice, check the package label for exact guidelines.

Note, once rice is cooked it is highly perishable, so it is important to store leftover cooked rice in the refrigerator and to reheat it before consumption.

Use rice as a side dish, accompanied by vegetables or a small amount when stuffing vegetables or to compliment stews, curries, and soups. Rice can also be used in making puddings, breads, or as an addition to salads. 

Recipes With Rice 

Sources:

Extension Utah State University. White Rice. http://extension.usu.edu/foodstorage/htm/white-rice/

Labensky, SR, Hause, AM. On Cooking: A textbook of Culinary Fundamentals. 3rd ed. Upper Sadle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2003: 638

Linus Pauling Institute. Micronutrients for Health. http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/sites/lpi.oregonstate.edu/files/pdf/mic/micronutrients_for_health.pdf

Whole Grain Council. Storing whole grains. http://wholegrainscouncil.org/recipes/cooking-whole-grains/storing-whole-grains

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