Basmati rice

Basmati Rice is a variety of rice known for its long and slender shape. The rice is popular around the world because of its distinct flavor and aroma. Basmati rice originated in Asia, more specifically India which is the highest producing country to this day. Anyone anywhere can grow Basmati but it can only be certified as Basmati if it comes from Nepal, India, and Pakistan. Like most grains, Basmati rice has a brown and white variety. Brown Basmati rice is the minimally processed version where the brown coat is preserved while the white variety is highly processed. This results in a difference in Basmati rice’s nutrition depending on the type one chooses to eat. Basmati rice’s nutrition composition also differs according to specific cultivar but the difference is subtle enough for them to be comparable.

A bowl of raw brown Basmati rice

Basmati rice nutrition

Since it is a grain, Basmati rice is almost entirely made of carbohydrates. There are also traces of other nutrients particularly micronutrients but the amount depends on the level of processing. Basmati rice is far from a complete food and should not be eaten on its or with similar foods.

The high Calorie content of Basmati rice

Basmati rice is a high-calorie food giving 148kcal per 100g (0.57 cup). Brown Basmati rice has an even higher calorie content giving 336kcal per 100g, over twice as much as that of white Basmati rice. You should know that the number of calories is only one aspect of Basmati rice’s nutrition therefore it does not make white Basmati rice superior to brown Basmati. Brown Basmati has a much richer nutrient composition than white Basmati rendering the higher calorie count very much worth it.

Carbohydrates: The star nutrient of Basmati rice

Basmati rice, like any type of rice, is a grain, therefore, is very rich in carbohydrates. White Basmati rice barely contains any fiber with only 0.7g per 100g. The majority of the carbohydrate in white Basmati is starch with no simple sugar is present. On the other hand, brown Basmati is very rich in fiber having nearly 6 times that of white Basmati. Brown Basmati is also richer in total carbohydrates and contains no simple sugars as well.

The higher fiber content of brown Basmati is one of its many advantages over white Basmati. This is especially important in the concept of glycemic index. Glycemic index is the measure of how fast a food raises blood sugar after eating. The glycemic index of rice is very important to note because rice is a popular dish in almost all cultures across the world. Overconsumption of high glycemic rice can have serious health consequences especially among individuals with type 2 diabetes.

Add another source of Fat and protein to your Basmati rice

Basmati rice is very low in both fat and protein. Both white and brown Basmati rice contain 0g of fat and small amounts of protein. The white variety has much less protein, about half of what is in brown Basmati. Even though brown Basmati has a higher protein content, it is still not a reliable source. Both varieties require an extra source of fat and protein in a meal.

A popular and quick way of supplementing rice fat is adding some while it is cooking. Some use butter that also adds flavor to the rice. However, olive oil is a better alternative since it provides unsaturated fat which is often lacking in our diets.

What micronutrients can you expect from Basmati rice?

Rice in its original state contains a good amount of micronutrients. However, during processing, the grain gets stripped of much of these vitamins and minerals. The higher the level of processing, the lower the micronutrient content. For this reason, white rice is lower in micronutrients than brown rice. Some of the micronutrients in basmati rice are folate, thiamine, and selenium.

NutrientAmount per 100g of cooked Basmati riceAmount per 100g of cooked brown Basmati rice
Calories 148kcal336kcal
Carbohydrates 32.39g74g
Fiber0.7g4g
Sugar 0g0g
Protein3.52g7.2g
Fat0g0g
Basmati rice nutrition composition: White Vs Brown

Health benefits of Basmati rice

  • Basmati rice is a source of energy for our bodies which enables them to function and perform metabolic processes
  • Brown Basmati rice is a good source of fiber giving us 20% of the daily recommendation in just 100g. Fiber is very important for body health and has many benefits like relieving constipation, improving blood sugar, protecting us from diseases of the heart, and boosting digestive health.
  • Basmati rice, especially the brown variety is a good source of vitamins and minerals such as thiamine and selenium.
  • Brown Basmati rice is a good source of carbohydrates for those living with type 2 diabetes since it helps with blood sugar control.
  • Basmati rice has been found to be one of the rice varieties with the lowest arsenic poisoning levels.

How to add Basmati rice to a healthy diet

The first and probably the most important tip with Basmati or any type of rice is to opt for brown instead of white as much as possible. Secondly, always try to balance your meal with sources of fat and protein since rice barely has any. Adding fat to rice while cooking is a good option. For protein, adding a protein source like beans and ground turkey always works best. There are countless varieties of cooked Basmati rice you can try for yourself for example coconut Basmati rice, butter Basmati rice, and spicy Basmati rice.

Complementing Basmati rice protein with pea protein

Even though Basmati rice is a good source of vitamins and minerals, a meal is not complete without vegetables. Vegetables will provide more micronutrients and also boost the fiber content of the meal.

Allergens

There are no allergens present in Basmati rice. In fact, rice is one of the safest foods for people who live with many allergies. There may be some gluten contamination in some brands but a quick scan of the label will let you know if a brand is gluten free or not.

In conclusion, Basmati rice is a nutritionally sound food as a source of carbohydrates. Since its nutrition is easy to supplement with the missing nutrients, it is can easily be incorporated into a healthy complete diet.

Is Basmati rice healthier than other types of rice?

No, not really. All types of rice including Basmati rice have a similar nutrition composition which is high carbs and low protein and fat.

How many calories are in Basmati rice?

100g of white Basmati rice has 148kcal while the same amount of Brown Basmati rice has 336kcal.

How many carbs are in Basmati rice?

100g of white Basmati rice contains 31.7g of net carbs and 100g of brown Basmati rice contains 70g of net carbs.

Is brown Basmati rice healthier than white Basmati rice?

Yes, brown Basmati rice is much healthier than white Basmati rice due to its richer fiber, protein, and micronutrient content. Brown Basmati rice also has a lower glycemic index than white Basmati rice.

Is brown Basmati rice suitable for keto?

No, brown Basmati rice actually a higher carbohydrate content than white Basmati rice.

Is brown Basmati rice good for diabetics?

Yes, brown Basmati rice has a lower glycemic index due to its higher fiber and protein content.

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