What Is the Healthiest Type of Rice? 4 Healthy Types of Rice

Medically Reviewed on 8/2/2022
What Is the Healthiest Type of Rice
Although white rice can be part of a healthy diet, there are other varieties of rice that are far more nutritious

Rice is a staple around the world and a rich source of carbohydrates. 

Although white rice can be part of a healthy diet, there are other varieties of rice that are far more nutritious. Here are 4 of the healthiest types of rice.

4 of the healthiest types of rice

1. Brown rice

Whole grain rice such as brown rice is less processed and refined than white rice. As a result, brown rice contains more nutrients such as fiber and minerals such as magnesium, iron, and zinc. 

However, since brown rice contains higher amounts of potassium and phosphorus, people with kidney disease may need to consult their doctors before incorporating brown rice into their diet.

Several studies have found that eating whole grains has health benefits including weight loss and blood sugar control. According to one study, regular consumption of 1 cup (202 grams) of brown rice can reduce the risk of diabetes by up to 60%.

Table 1. Nutrients in 202 grams of long-grain brown rice, cooked (DV=Daily Value)
Nutrient Amount
Calories 248
Carbohydrates 52 grams, 19% of DV
Fiber 3.2 grams, 11% of DV
Protein 5.5 grams, 11% of DV
Total fat 2 grams, 3% of DV
Sugars 0.458 grams
Starch 50.1 grams
Vitamin B1 30% of DV
Vitamin B2 11% of DV
Vitamin B3 32% of DV
Pantothenic acid 15% of DV
Vitamin B6 15% of DV
Folate 5% of DV
Iron 6% of DV
Potassium 4% of DV
Copper 23% of DV
Sodium 8.1 mg
Manganese 86% of DV
Phosphorus 17% of DV
Magnesium 19% of DV

Additionally, brown rice contains the following minerals:

2. Black rice

Black rice is sometimes referred to as forbidden rice, as it was reserved for royalty in China in ancient times.

Black rice is a whole grain, non-glutinous, medium-grain rice with a deep purple hue and a nutty, slightly sweet flavor. This type of rice is high in fiber and antioxidants called anthocyanins, which are known for their health benefits.

In comparison to other rice varieties, forbidden rice is richer in protein and iron.

Table 2. Nutrients in 210 grams of black rice, cooked
Nutrient Amount
Calories 305
Carbohydrates 70 grams, 25% of DV
Fiber 0 grams
Protein 6 grams, 12% of DV
Sodium 11 mg

3. Red rice

Red rice is a high-fiber and high-protein rice variety that has a rich color. Common types include Himalayan red rice and Thai red cargo rice are the two most common forms of red rice. In Asia, red rice is usually fermented, resulting in red yeast rice.

Red yeast rice has anti-inflammatory, cholesterol-lowering, cardioprotective, anticancer, and antidiabetic properties.

Table 3. Nutrients in 45 grams of red rice, dry
Nutrient Amount
Calories 1660
Carbohydrates 34 grams, 12% of DV
Fiber 5 grams, 18% of DV
Protein 4 grams
Total fat 1.5 grams, 2% of DV
Iron 2% of DV
Potassium 2% of DV
Sodium 30.2 mg

4. Wild rice

Although wild rice is a seed rather than a grain, it is considered a type of rice. In North America, wild rice is classified as a whole grain product and is sold as a health food.

Wild rice has more protein and less fat and sugar than white rice. It is also rich in nutrients such as B vitamins, vitamin E, calcium, iron, phosphorus, potassium, and zinc.

Wild rice contains flavonoids, which have antioxidative and anti-inflammatory properties that can help combat oxidative stress and prevent disease.

The high fiber content of wild rice can also help lower cholesterol levels and reduce the incidence of type II diabetes.

Table 4. Nutrients in 164 grams of wild rice, cooked
Nutrient Amount
Calories 166
Carbohydrates 34.9 grams
Fiber 2.95 grams
Protein 6.54 grams
Total fat 0.558 grams
Sugars 1.2 grams
Vitamin B1 0.085 mg
Vitamin B2 0.143 mg
Vitamin B3 2.12 mg
Pantothenic acid 0.253 mg
Vitamin B6 0.221 mg
Pantothenic acid 42.6 µg
Sodium 4.92 mg
Potassium 166 mg
Manganese 0.462 mg
Phosphorus 134 mg
Magnesium 52.5 mg

Additionally, wild rice contains the following minerals:

  • Iron
  • Calcium
  • Zinc
  • Copper

Is white rice bad for you?

While there is nothing wrong with incorporating white rice into a healthy diet, white rice is less nutritious than whole grain rice. During processing, the husk, bran layer, and germ of the grain are removed. 

White rice varieties include short-grain (arborio), medium-grain (Japanese-style), and long-grain (basmati, jasmine, and doongara) types, with varying glycemic indexes. Basmati rice has a low glycemic index, but some other varieties of white rice have higher glycemic indexes.

Except for basmati and doongara, other varieties of white rice are absorbed quickly by the body. which means that they have more of an impact on blood sugar. White rice is also lower in nutrients such as fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals.

Table 5. Nutrients in 86 grams of unenriched medium-grain white rice, cooked
Nutrient Amount
Calories 242
Carbohydrates 53.2 grams
Protein 4.43 grams
Total fat 0.391 grams
Vitamin B1 0.037 mg
Vitamin B2 0.03 mg
Vitamin B3 0.744 mg
Pantothenic acid 0.764 mg
Vitamin B6 0.093 mg
Folate 3.72 µg


According to the USDA, there is no difference between a “portion” and a “serving.” See Answer

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Medically Reviewed on 8/2/2022
Image Source: iStock image

Caceres V. Rounding up healthy rice choices. American Heart Association. https://www.heart.org/en/news/2022/03/29/rounding-up-healthy-rice-choices

Park P. Is Rice Good For You? Colorado State University. https://www.chhs.colostate.edu/krnc/monthly-blog/is-rice-good-for-you/

Harvard T.H. Chan. Rice. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/food-features/rice/

Nutrition facts. Rice, cooked, long-grain, brown nutrition facts and analysis per 1 cup (202 g). https://www.nutritionvalue.org/Rice%2C_cooked%2C_long-grain%2C_brown_nutritional_value.html