Brown Rice vs. Quinoa

Generally speaking, we can say that in the comparison that is done between white and brown rice, brown rice will always be the winner and that is the reason why all the nutritionists will advise you to eat brown rice instead of white in your diet. Coming to the other comparison that is done between rice and quinoa, it is apparent that quinoa will be also the winner especially with white rice, because quinoa and brown rice carry a lot of common things between them but with greater quantities found in quinoa. It is important to mention that quinoa makes a healthy substitute for rice, whether the white or the brown, and it could definitely be cooked and added to some of the dishes that you prepare.

Is Quinoa Healthier than Rice?

Quinoa, the plant seed that is pronounced as “keen-wah”, has a great nutritional value; it is rich with protein, vitamins, fiber, calcium, manganese, zinc, and riboflavin. The thing that makes quinoa unique and differentiates it from the rest of the plant seeds is that it has complete protein which carries all the essential amino acids. When it comes to the comparison made between quinoa and rice, it is important to say that quinoa is much healthier and more beneficial, especially when it is about the white rice.

Both quinoa and rice – some types of it – contribute to the body’s intake of whole grains, although quinoa is not a grain but a seed that is always perceived as a wholegrain since it carries almost the same benefits, but there are some differences in the effects they might carry on the health of the person due to the differences found in their mineral and vitamin content. Although quinoa is always considered the better choice and the one that is safer, we will still advice you to check back with your doctor in order to make sure that you are not allergic to any of them.

Which is Healthier, Brown Rice or Quinoa?

As we have mentioned before, when quinoa is compared to brown rice, there will be some slight differences between the contents that they carry which might have different effects on the health of the body. So in order to be able to define both grains and decide which of them is considered healthier, you have to know the differences that are found between their contents.

  • Their Content of Calories and Macronutrients

Both brown rice and quinoa are so much similar to one another when it comes to their calories and macronutrients contents, which is why you should never compare between both when it comes to these two things. Half cup of cooked brown rice will carry 109 calories while the same amount of quinoa will carry 111, which is not much of a difference; both calories delivered from these two grains come from their carbohydrate content, also the same amount of cooked brown rice can give the body 22 grams of carbohydrate while quinoa can give 20 grams.

On the other hand, quinoa is considered healthier because it is richer when it comes to the dietary fiber, which can give the person the full feeling faster with fewer amounts. One serving of quinoa contains 2.6 grams of fiber and 4 grams of protein, while brown rice only carries 1.9 grams of fiber and 2.5 grams of protein.

  • Their Content of Iron and Magnesium

In the second comparison done between quinoa and brown rice, is the one held between their content of both iron and magnesium. Quinoa is considered a better source for both iron and magnesium than brown rice is; half cup of quinoa carries 59 milligrams of magnesium and 1.4 milligrams of iron, while half cup of brown rice carries 42 milligrams of magnesium and 0.4 milligrams of iron. These two minerals are important for the body for several reasons; they help the cells access the energy they need in order to function, the body uses magnesium in order to maintain healthy cell membranes and bone tissues, and uses the iron in order to make functional red blood cells.

  • Their Content of Manganese and Selenium

Up till now, quinoa is still taking the first place in the comparison done between it and brown rice. Being richer than brown rice when it comes to the dietary fiber, magnesium, and iron; quinoa is not rich in other minerals such as manganese and selenium like brown rice. Brown rice can win this over this time, since it carries more manganese and selenium than quinoa; one serving of brown rice boosts 9.6 micrograms of selenium and 0.9 milligram of manganese, while one serving of quinoa carries 2.6 micrograms of selenium and 0.6 milligram of manganese.

Manganese and selenium are important because they protect the tissues from oxidative stress, they both activate enzymes that shield the cells from free radicals which are the reactive chemicals that oxidize and damage the tissues. Selenium is responsible for the function of the muscles while manganese is important for wound healing.

  • Their Content of B Vitamins

Both quinoa and brown rice can give your body B vitamins, but they carry vitamins that are different from one another. Quinoa for example is considered a good source of folate, the B vitamin that helps in making DNA and supports brain cell communication; each serving of quinoa will give your body 10 percent of the recommended daily intake of folate. On the other hand, brown rice carries another type of B vitamin which is known as niacin; niacin is important for boosting the blood flow, supporting healthy nerve function, as well as nourishing the skin. One serving of brown rice will support the body with 9 percent of the recommended daily intake of niacin.

Quinoa Compared to Brown Rice

In the comparison done above between quinoa and brown rice, it is mainly focused on the most important nutrients and minerals that both grains carry, but there are also other important things to mention about quinoa and brown rice that is related to their taste, their nutritional value, as well as their different uses.

  • When it Comes to the Taste

Comparing between the taste of quinoa and that of the brown rice, we have to say that brown rice is not only darker in color than the white rice but it is also nuttier and have a chewier texture; in other words, it is more of a “bite”. Another thing that differentiates brown rice from the white one is that the bran and the germ have not been removed from the brown one, so it might take longer to be chewed and digested. On the other side, quinoa is chewy but it has a softer texture and more of a neutral flavor than the brown rice.

  • When it Comes to the Nutritional Value

We have already mentioned above some of the nutrition facts related to both brown rice and quinoa, but there are other ones which you should also know about. One cup of cooked brown rice carries 1.8 grams of fat, but quinoa carries double the amount since one cup can serve you with 3.6 grams. There are other minerals that are found in both grains but with different quantities such as the calcium, it is found in brown rice with 2% and in quinoa with 3%; there is also the phosphorus which quinoa wins it over with 28% compared to brown rice with only 16%.

  • When it Comes to Their Uses

We all know that quinoa could substitute rice in general, the brown and the white, but what are the different other uses of both grains that could make one more important than the other? When it comes to the preparation time, we could say that quinoa will also win this over since it could be only prepared in 20 minutes while brown rice should sit on medium-low heat for about 45 minutes in order to be ready. Both brown rice and quinoa could be used interchangeably with any recipe since they both carry the same flavor as well as the texture.

When it comes to preparing quinoa and brown rice, brown rice will most probably be cooked directly, while quinoa should be rinsed first in order to get rid of the chemical coat known as saponin which is the main reason behind the bitter taste that it carries. In order to wash the seeds, you have to place them under cold water in a fine-mesh strainer and rub them with your both hands then shake the strainer to remove any excess water.

Quinoa versus Brown Rice

There are different considerations to keep in your mind when you are choosing between both grains; brown rice and quinoa. First of all, knowing all about your health conditions and what your body lacks and might be in need for is important in order to know which grain you are in need for; for example, those who need more protein or those who are vegetarian or vegan and could not receive their protein from meat, should depend more on quinoa since it carries complete protein on its own without a hefty amount of fat, calories, sodium, or cholesterol.

Both brown rice and quinoa are considered healthy and needed in your diet plan, so try always to keep them both by changing every now and then without depending and focusing on one of them only.

The confusion that happens between choosing brown rice or quinoa has been always there and has made people unsure of which one to choose. Brown rice has been always known as a healthy choice instead of white rice, but with the appearance of quinoa that is richer in fiber, protein, and iron, it became a healthier grain to be used with brown rice.

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