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    Food For Thought: Quinoa, White Rice Or Brown Rice, Which Is Healthier?

    Quinoa has been immensely popular among health-conscious individuals and is even termed as a superfood as it is nutritionally dense. Brown rice has also been termed healthier due to the presence of bran which is the source of B-vitamins and fibre. White rice, on the other hand, has been gaining a bad reputation owing to its ability to spike glucose levels and lack of nutrients. Many fail to acknowledge the fact that white rice is easily accessible, digestible and can provide instant energy. Quinoa on the other hand can be pricier and may not be available especially in rural areas.

    Nutritional Values

    Nutritional ContentQuinoa (100g)White rice (100g)Brown Rice (100g)
    Energy120 kcals130 kcals130 kcals
    Carbohydrates20 gms28.7 gms28.7 gms
    Protein4 gms2.3 gms2.3 gms
    Fat2 gm0.5 gms0.5 gms
    Fibre2.8 gms0.4 gms1.8 gms
    Calcium16 mg10 mg10 mg
    Iron1 mg1.2 mg0.4 mg
    Phosphorus150 mg43 mg83 mg
    Potassium165 mg35 mg43 mg

    Benefits Of Quinoa

    Now that you have looked at the nutritive chart, let us look at the benefits of quinoa.

    1. Good Source Of Antioxidants

    Quinoa is a rich source of two plant compounds namely quercetin and kaempferol. These two antioxidants are associated with anti-cancer, anti-viral and anti-inflammatory properties.

    2. Rich Source Of Protein And Fibre

    100 grams of quinoa gives around 4-5 grams of protein. Quinoa is also a good source of fibre. Fibre is beneficial in reducing cholesterol, blood pressure and glucose levels.

    3. Beneficial For Individuals Suffering From Gluten Intolerance Or Gluten Allergies

    Individuals suffering from gluten intolerance have difficulty digesting gluten. Such individuals are asked to eliminate diets containing gluten. Quinoa would be a healthier and tastier alternative to wheat in such scenarios.

    Benefits Of Brown Rice

    Now that you know the benefits of quinoa, let us look at the benefits of brown rice.

    1. Good Source Of Fibre

    Fibre helps to reduce blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Brown rice is a better choice for diabetics and obese individuals as well.

    2. Good Source Of Antioxidants

    The bran of brown rice is a rich source of antioxidants. These antioxidants were shown to be beneficial against diabetes, blood pressure and cardiovascular diseases.

    3. Good Source Of Magnesium

    Brown rice contains 11% higher magnesium compared to white rice that contains only 3% magnesium. Magnesium helps in lowering blood pressure and has anti-inflammatory properties as well.

    Benefits Of White Rice

    Though white rice is low in fibre and essential nutrients, it still has a few benefits.

    1. Beneficial For Individuals Suffering From Digestive Issues

    White rice is low in fibre and easier to digest making it an excellent choice for individuals suffering from digestive problems.

    2. Enriched White Rice Can Be Beneficial In Pregnancy

    Rice fortified with folate can be beneficial for pregnant women as folate is essential in preventing neural tube defects in infants.

    3. Provides Instant Energy

    White rice is easier to digest than brown rice. As a result, athletes and individuals involved in intense physical activity can benefit from its consumption.

    White Rice, Brown Rice Or Quinoa: Which Is Better?

    Both rice and quinoa are better options for individuals suffering from gluten intolerance. For diabetics, brown rice and quinoa would be much better to consume than white rice as white rice has a higher Glycemic Index (GI) and can quickly spike blood sugar levels. 

    Brown rice has lower fat content compared to quinoa and could be a better option for weight watchers or individuals struggling with high cholesterol levels. On the other hand, quinoa is nutritionally dense than both white and brown rice. Quinoa has higher fibre, protein, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium and zinc compared to brown or white rice.

    Nutritional Recipes

    Now that you know the benefits of rice and quinoa, let us look at some tasty and nutritious recipes.

    1. Quinoa Salad

    This tasty salad can aid in weight management and also help provide you with satiety.

    Cooking time: 10-15 mins

    Nutritional values (1 serving approx)

    Energy: 135 kcals

    Carbohydrates: 12 gms

    Protein: 2 gm

    Fat: 7 gms

    Ingredients:

    • ½ cup quinoa (cooked)
    • ¼ cup chopped tomatoes
    • ¼ cup chopped capsicum
    • ¼ cup chopped onions
    • ¼ cup chopped cucumber
    • ¼ cup avocado cubes
    • ¼ cup carrot cubes

    For dressing:

    • 1-2 tbsp olive oil
    • Salt to taste
    • 1 tbsp lemon juice

    Method:

    1. In a bowl, mix all ingredients.
    2. After mixing all the ingredients, put the dressing on top of the mixture. Enjoy!

    2. Quinoa Upma

    This tasty recipe can be prepared quickly and is an excellent choice for diabetics and individuals suffering from gluten intolerance!

    Cooking time: 20-25 mins

    Nutritional values (1 serving approx)

    Energy: 145 kcals

    Carbohydrates: 18 gms

    Protein: 3 gms

    Fat: 9 gms

    Ingredients:

    • 1 cup quinoa
    • 1 tsp mustard seeds (rai)
    • 1 tsp lemon juice
    • 1 tsp chilli powder
    • 1 tsp ginger-garlic paste
    • A few curry leaves
    • 1 tbsp peanuts
    • 1 medium onion (finely chopped)
    • ¼ cup carrot cubes
    • ¼ cup peas
    • ¼ cup tomato (finely chopped)
    • Few coriander leaves (for garnishing)
    • Oil for cooking
    • Salt to taste

    Method:

    1. Clean and wash the quinoa. Keep it aside.
    2. Roast the peanuts in a small pan and keep them aside.
    3. In a pan, heat oil. Add the mustard seeds and let them crackle.
    4. Add the curry leaves, ginger-garlic paste and onions. Saute for a few minutes.
    5. Add the tomatoes, peas and carrots. Saute for a few minutes.
    6. Add the quinoa and cook for a few minutes.
    7. Add chilli powder and salt. Mix well. Add a cup of water to the mixture. Mix well and cover with a lid. Let it cook for a few minutes. Occasionally, open the lid and check whether the mixture has cooked properly.
    8. After the mixture is cooked, open the lid. Add roasted peanuts, lemon juice and mix well. Garnish the upma with coriander leaves. Serve hot.

    3. Veggie Pulao

    This tasty pulao is easy to prepare and will keep you wanting for more!

    Cooking time: 20-25 mins

    Nutritional values (1 serving approx)

    Energy: 325 kcals

    Carbohydrates: 32 gms

    Protein: 8 gms

    Fat: 10 gms

    Ingredients:

    • 1 cup Basmati rice
    • 2 cups of water 
    • ¼ cup finely chopped onion
    • ¼ cup chopped carrots
    • ¼ cup peas
    • 1 small potato
    • ¼ cup french beans (finely chopped)
    • 2 bay leaves
    • ¼ tsp caraway seeds (shahi jeera)
    • ¼ tsp cardamom (elaichi)
    • 1 star anise (phool)
    • 1 tsp fennel powder (saunf)
    • 1 inch cinnamon stick (dalchini)
    • 1 mace
    • 1 tsp cloves (laung)
    • Oil for cooking
    • Salt to taste

    Method:

    1. Wash and clean rice. Soak for at least 30 minutes.
    2. Chop the veggies and keep them aside.
    3. In a pressure cooker, heat oil. Add all the dry spices and saute for a few seconds.
    4. Add the onions along with ginger-garlic paste and saute till the onions turn translucent.
    5. Add all the vegetables (carrots, onions, french beans and potato). Cook for around 5 minutes.
    6. Add a cup of water along with salt. Cover the cooker and cook for 3 whistles.
    7. Switch off the stove after 3 whistles. Serve hot with cucumber raita.

    4. Lemon Rice

    It is a yummy South-Indian recipe that is sure to delight your children!

    Cooking time: 20-25 mins

    Nutritional values (1 serving approx)

    Energy: 355 kcals

    Carbohydrates: 26 gms

    Protein: 8 gms

    Fat: 15 gms

    Ingredients:

    • 1 cup white rice
    • 2 cups water
    • 1 tsp mustard seeds (rai)
    • 2 tbsp lemon juice
    • 1 tsp urad dal
    • Few curry leaves
    • 1 tsp turmeric powder
    • 1 tbsp cashew nuts
    • 1 tbsp peanuts
    • Oil for cooking
    • Salt to taste

    Method:

    1. Wash and soak the rice for at least 30 minutes.
    2. Meanwhile, roast nuts in a small pan and keep them aside.
    3. In a pressure cooker, add rice. Add two cups of water along with salt and turmeric powder. Pressure cook the rice for three whistles.
    4. In a small pan, heat oil. Add mustard seeds and let them crackle. Add the urad dal and curry leaves as well. 
    5. Switch off the flame and add this mixture to the rice. Mix well. Add the roasted nuts and lemon juice as well. Mix properly. Serve hot.

    5. Mushroom Rice

    This tasty rice is nutritious and easy to prepare on a busy day!

    Cooking time: 30-35 mins

    Nutritional values (1 serving approx)

    Energy: 200 kcals

    Carbohydrates: 25 gms

    Protein: 5 gms

    Fat: 7.5 gms

    Ingredients:

    • 1 cup brown rice
    • 300 gms mushrooms
    • 1 tsp ginger-garlic paste
    • 1 tsp sesame seeds
    • 1 tsp pepper powder
    • 1 medium spring onion (chopped finely)
    • 1 tsp oregano (optional)
    • Oil for cooking
    • Salt to taste

    Method:

    1. Heat oil in a cooker.
    2. Add the spring onions along with ginger-garlic paste and saute for a while.
    3. Add the mushrooms and saute them for a while.
    4. Add pepper powder, oregano and sesame seeds. Mix well.
    5. Add rice along with salt and mix well.
    6. Close the lid of the cooker and cook for 5-6 whistles. Serve hot.

    6. Mutton Khichda

    This recipe would be a treat for non-vegetarians. The addition of brown rice increases the fibre content of the recipe.

    Cooking time: 30-35 mins

    Nutritional values (1 serving approx)

    Energy: 255 kcals

    Carbohydrates: 20 gms

    Protein: 25 gms

    Fat: 10 gms

    Ingredients:

    • 1 ½ cup brown rice
    • 1 medium onion (finely chopped)
    • 100 gms mutton
    • 2 tsp ginger-garlic paste
    • ¼ cup broken wheat (dalia)
    • ¼ cup moong dal
    • ¼ cup chana dal
    • ¼ cup masoor dal
    • 1-2 green chillies
    • 1 tsp garam masala
    • 1 tsp turmeric powder
    • 1 tsp chilli powder
    • 2 tsp lemon juice
    • Few mint leaves (for garnishing)
    • Ghee for cooking
    • Salt to taste

    Method:

    1. Clean and wash the rice and dals. Soak both the rice and dals for at least an hour.
    2. In a pan, heat ghee. Add onions and saute for a few minutes. Add mutton and ginger-garlic paste. Mix well. Add a cup of water and boil the mixture.
    3. After the mixture comes to a boil, turn off the flame and keep it aside.
    4. Drain the water off the mixture and keep it aside. Clean the mutton pieces and keep them aside as well.
    5. In a pressure cooker, add rice and dals. Add the chopped chillies, turmeric powder, chilli powder, salt, garam masala along the water used for boiling mutton. Add 1 ½  cup of water. Mix well. Pressure cook the mixture for 6 whistles.
    6. Add the onion and mutton mixture to the rice and mix well. Add lemon juice to the mixture too.
    7. Garnish the rice with mint leaves. Serve hot.

    Key Takeaways

    1. Quinoa might contain saponin which is a chemical used to remove insects. Cleaning and washing quinoa helps in the removal of this chemical.
    2. The method of cooking quinoa is similar to that of rice. If one cup of quinoa is used, add two cups of water and bring the mixture to a boil. Allow quinoa to boil for 20-30 minutes. If excess water is added, you can drain them out as well.
    3. Combine rice with veggies to obtain added nutritional benefits.
    4. The method of preparing rice is important. Steamed rice is healthier than fried or pressure-cooked rice.
    5. Removal of starch present in rice is important especially for individuals who need to lose weight. Boiling rice leads to the formation of a starch layer on top of rice which can be discarded. 
    6. Soaking followed by rinsing rice can also help in the removal of starch.

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