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What Type of Rice is Healthiest?

Short-grain, long-grain, basmati, brown. What are the nutritional differences between all the different types of rice?

By
Monica Reinagel, MS, LD/N, CNS,
April 19, 2010
Episode #090

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What Type of Rice is Healthiest?

What Type of Rice is Healthiest?

There are at least a dozen different types of rice to choose from at the grocery store: long-grain, short-grain, white, brown, basmati, instant, converted, whew! Which one is best?

Cooking with Rice

There are fairly big differences between the various kinds of rice in terms of cooking times and the texture of the cooked rice. So, if you are cooking from a recipe, it’s important to pay attention to what kind of rice the recipe calls for. Substituting a different kind of rice can really change how a recipe comes out—not always in a good way.

The Different Types of Rice

The different types of rice include the following:

Short-grain rice is very starchy and cooks up soft and sticky. It’s used in things like sushi, paella, and risotto.

Long-grain rice contains less starch so the cooked grains are drier and more separate. It’s often used in pilafs or dishes with a lot of sauce.

Jasmine and basmati are long-grain varieties that have been cultivated to bring out distinctive flavor profiles. They often turn up in Indian and Asian food.

Brown rice—which is also available in long and short grains—is a lot chewier and heartier than white rice and takes about twice as long to cook.  

You can also buy instant or converted rice. Both have been partially cooked and then dehydrated. If you’re using a pre-processed rice, it’s important to follow the preparation instructions on the package.

Here’s an article that talks more about the culinary properties and uses of different kinds of rice. But what about the nutritional aspects?

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