Did you know rice is one of the most common and popular grains found throughout the world? Rice seems to come in almost every color and grain size possible. From white rice to black rice, from long-grain to short-grain, with so many varieties of rice, how do you choose?
Rice is a staple in many countries due to its low cost and nutrition, using rice as the main ingredient for most meals. Rice has been benefits such as being low in calories and fat, rich in vitamins, minerals, complex carbohydrates, and fiber content.
In this post, we’ll dive into two popular rice types, jasmine rice vs brown rice. We’ll compare the health benefits, nutritional value, and taste of each.
Types of Rice
Different varieties of rice tend to be native to different parts of the world. Rice typically comes in different grain sizes, such as long-grain, medium-grain, and short-grain rice. If you are looking to cook up fluffy, light rice that easily separates from one another, long-grain rice is a great choice. While medium-grain rice tends to cook up more tender and moist.
Then there is short-grain rice, which is often referred to as sticky rice. Sticky rice tends to clump together and is also referred to as glutinous rice. Glutinous rice does not actually contain gluten; the sticky texture is glue-like, which gives it the glutinous name.
Jasmine rice is only long-grain rice. While brown rice comes in short-grain, medium-grain, and long-grain varieties.
Whole Grain Rice vs Refined Rice
Beyond grain size, rice is available as whole grain rice or refined rice. Whole grain rice is rice grains that are whole and fully intact. Several varieties of jasmine rice, including brown, black, and red jasmine rice, are all whole-grain kinds of rice. Brown rice is also whole grain rice.
White rice varieties such as regular white rice, white jasmine rice, white basmati rice, and white sticky rice are all refined grains or refined rice. This means the rice has been processed to remove the husk, bran layer, and most of the germ. Due to the rice’s processing, it becomes a refined grain and no longer a “whole grain.” This process of refining grains results in the loss of nutritional values, vitamins, and minerals. To counteract this loss of nutrition, you’ll typically find that white rice is artificially fortified with nutrients, much like breakfast cereals are fortified.
While shopping, you may also find wild rice. Wild rice is often thought of as whole-grain rice but, it is technically a grass.
Jasmine rice is aromatic rice typically grown in Thailand and may be referred to as Thai fragrant rice. Aromatic types of rice are known for their slightly nutty, floral, and herbal aromas and flavor. Both brown jasmine rice and white jasmine rice are aromatic types of rice. Other popular aromatic types of rice are brown basmati rice and white basmati rice.
White jasmine rice tends to be more commonly found when shopping and is often what people initially think of when it comes to jasmine rice. Like white rice, white jasmine rice is refined. The refining process removes the husk, bran layer, and germ, leaving the white starchy behind. Having the bran removed also strips the rice of much of the nutrients, dietary fiber, and essential fatty acids. White jasmine rice has a floral scent and sweet buttery flavor.
Brown jasmine rice has brown rice’s nutty flavor and the unique aromatic quality of traditional white jasmine rice. It will have a more nutty flavor and firmer texture than the refined white version. Brown jasmine rice overall is considered healthier because it comes in a more natural state than the white version and retains the dietary fiber, nutrients, and essential fatty acids that are lost in the white version. Brown jasmine rice has a light, herbal scent with a sweet, buttery flavor.
Brown rice is standard whole grain rice. Brown rice is filled with fiber, minerals, and vitamins. Brown rice is going to have a nuttier flavor and a more chewy texture than white rice. It comes in a variety of grain lengths-short-grain, medium-grain, and long-grain. The main difference between brown rice and jasmine brown rice is brown jasmine rice will have a sweeter taste; both have a slightly nutty flavor.
Brown & White Jasmine Rice Similarities & Differences
Jasmine rice is known for its enticing aroma, which you’ll notice when cooking either white jasmine rice or brown jasmine rice. Both white and brown jasmine rice are light, with a fluffy texture once cooked. However, the brown version will be more firm and chewier though. Both white and brown jasmine rice has a sweeter flavor than brown or white rice. However, brown jasmine rice will also have a slightly nutty taste.
Nutritional Comparison Between Jasmine Rice vs Brown Rice
*exact nutritional profile may vary due to the brand and specific variety of rice. Comparison based on 1/4 cup (45g) of dry jasmine or brown rice
|White Jasmine Rice||Brown Jasmine Rice||Brown Rice|
|Cholesterol||0 mg||0 mg||0 mg|
|Sodium||0 mg||0 mg||0 mg|
|Protein||3 g||4 g||3 g|
|Vitamin D||0 % DV||0 % DV||0 % DV|
|Iron||0 % DV||1 mg, 6 % DV||1 mg, 6 % DV|
|Calcium||13 mg, 2 % DV||0 %||4 mg, 0 % DV|
|Potassium||35 mg, 0 % DV||113 mg, 2 % DV||113 mg, 2 % DV|
Overall, jasmine has 10 fewer calories and similar protein content, with brown jasmine having a slightly greater protein advantage. Many other factors nutritionally may influence your choice, though we’ll dive into those below.
Glycemic Index for Jasmine Rice vs Brown Rice
A food’s GI or glycemic index is a measurement of the carbohydrates in foods regarding how they affect blood sugar levels. Low glycemic index foods are digested slower, absorbed, and metabolized; this causes a slower rise in blood sugar levels. Low GI foods are rated below 55.
Consuming lower GI carbohydrate foods is one of the secrets to overall better long-term health and maintaining weight loss. Eating lower GI foods can help reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
White jasmine rice has a high GI ranking of around 96-116. Brown rice has a GI index of about 68. Opting for basmati rice is the best choice for those in search of a low GI rice.
Key Differences Between Jasmine Rice vs Brown Rice
The main difference between jasmine rice vs brown rice is the aromatic, slightly herbal/floral smell of jasmine rice. Jasmine rice is going to elongate as it cooks. Both brown rice and brown jasmine rice will be a bit firmer while having a nuttier, whole-grain flavor. Brown rice and brown jasmine rice also carry more nutrients, fiber, and essential fatty acids lost with white jasmine rice.
Which is the Healthier Option?
Brown rice, brown jasmine rice, and white jasmine rice are all good choices for healthy eating. Each type of rice comes with its own unique taste and nutritional benefits. The overall differences between the different types of rice are fairly minimal and come down to personal preference based on your unique dietary needs. However, the brown rice varieties do have an advantage being a whole-grain food and minimally processed, which is typically a better choice for many people.
Should I soak Rice Before Eating it?
Many cultures have traditionally soaked rice for centuries. Current research has confirmed that soaking whole grain rice in warm water allows the rice to germinate slightly. This helps create a substantial increase in fiber, certain nutrients, and phytochemicals. Soaking rice helps soften the outer bran layer allowing the rice to cook easier while tasting a bit sweeter and tastier.
Soaking rice also helps remove phytic acid that is found in whole grain rice. Phytic acid has been found to disrupt the body from properly digesting certain vitamins and minerals such as iron, minerals, and zinc from the rice.
It’s best to soak whole grain rice such as brown rice and brown jasmine for 6-12 hours or overnight. This helps to remove the phytic acid and reduce any arsenic or other toxins by as much as 80%, while also helping to optimize other nutritional benefits.
Since white jasmine rice is refined, it is unable to germinate. Therefore, you only need to soak white rice varieties for 15-30 minutes to enhance texture and flavor.
Rice is a Which rice will you choose white jasmine, brown jasmine, or brown rice?
Karla Kueber is a Certified Evidence Based EFT Practioner and Health Coach, with a double Masters Degree in Education. She works with people to overcome emotional eating, curb cravings, and overcome resistance to eating new healthy foods. You can learn more about finding freedom with food here.