Basmati Rice Vs. Brown Rice: Which One Is Healthier For You?

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Basmati rice with wooden scoop and brown rice with a text "basmati rice vs brown rice"

There are more than 120,000 varieties of rice grown around the world. Rice comes in different colors, grain lengths, and flavors. What’s the difference between basmati and brown rice?

A of brown basmati rice and basmati white rice with a logo of fooducopia in the lower right side of the image.

Basmati and brown rice are both good for you. They are rich in fiber and carbohydrates, which help promote digestion. They are good energy sources with minerals and vitamins that help keep your body healthy. 

What Is Basmati Rice?

Basmati rice is a long-grain brown or white rice. It’s aromatic and gluten-free. India grows almost 65% of all basmati rice. Most of the remaining basmati rice comes from Pakistan. 

A bowl of brown rice with a logo of fooducopia in the lower right side of the image.

Basmati comes from the Sanskrit word basamati which means “fragrant. Basmati rice contains a unique compound, 2-acetyl-1-pyrroline. This compound gives certain breads and rice pleasant smells. Both cooked and uncooked basmati rice smells floral and nutty. I especially enjoy using basmati rice in rice pilaf. It pairs well with onions and garlic for an intensely flavored dish. 

Farm has Basmati rice growing.

Basmati rice is thinner than other rice, with grains that taper at the ends. Basmati rice becomes fluffy when you cook it, but the grains stay separated. If, like me, you don’t like clumpy rice, try basmati rice!

Basmati rice in a cooking pot with a logo of fooducopia in the lower right side of the image.

What Is Brown Rice?

Brown rice comes in long, medium, and short-grain varieties. It comes from the same plant as white rice. Milling machines remove the outer hull to make brown rice, leaving the whole grain intact.  Brown rice is nutty, chewy, and gluten-free.

Brown rice is grown in many places around the world. Brown rice is most commonly grown in China, the US, Thailand, and South America. 

Steamed brown rice in a clay dish on a white surface.

Is Basmati Rice The Healthiest Rice?

Basmati rice is healthy. It tends to be lower in arsenic than other varieties. It contains essential amino acids. Amino acids help break down food, provide energy, and build muscle. Basmati rice is also a good source of selenium and manganese. 

Brown rice is also good for you. It’s a whole grain, full of nutrition and carbs that are easy on your blood sugar. Whole grains have all parts of the grain: bran, germ, and endosperm. The bran layer contains B vitamins, while the endosperm contains protein and minerals. The germ provides E and B vitamins, plus healthy fats and phytochemicals.  

White rice is the least healthiest for your blood sugar. It has added vitamins and minerals, including iron and thiamine. White rice is also easier to digest for people with IBS or other digestive issues. 

Nutrition Facts Of Basmati Rice

In one cup of cooked basmati rice, you’ll find:

  • 205 calories
  • 0.4 grams of fat
  • 1.6 mg of sodium
  • 55 mg of potassium
  • 45 grams of total carbs
  • 0.6 grams of fiber
  • 4.3 of protein

Basmati rice contains soluble fiber. Soluble fiber helps slow digestion to maximize the absorption of nutrients. 

Nutrition Facts Of Brown Rice 

In one cup of cooked brown rice, you’ll find:

  • 218 calories
  • 1.6 grams of fat
  • 2 mg of sodium
  • 154 mg of potassium
  • 46 grams of total carbs
  • 3.6 grams of fiber
  • 4.6 grams of protein

Brown rice contains insoluble fiber. Insoluble fiber helps food move along your intestines, promoting digestion and relieving constipation. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Basmati Rice Better Than Brown Rice For People With Diabetes?

Both basmati and brown rice are suitable for people with diabetes. They are both low to medium on the Glycemic Index. Brown rice has more dietary fiber than basmati, which helps balance the number of carbohydrates. 

Can I Substitute Basmati Rice For Brown Rice?

Yes, you can substitute basmati rice for brown rice. Substitute an equal amount of brown basmati rice for regular brown rice. You can also substitute an equal amount of white basmati rice for white rice. 

Is Basmati Rice A Good Carb Or A Bad Carb?

Basmati rice is a good carb. It has plenty of fiber, which slows down digestion. When foods are digested slowly, your energy levels stay steady.  

Does Basmati Rice Spike Blood Sugar?

No, basmati rice does not spike your blood sugar. Your body takes longer to digest basmati rice. The carbs in the rice release slowly into your bloodstream, helping your blood sugar stay steady.

Does Basmati Or Brown Rice Cook Faster?

Basmati rice cooks faster. It takes about 25 minutes to cook basmati rice, while brown rice takes about 50 minutes

Is Basmati Or Brown Rice Better For Weight Loss?

Both basmati and brown rice can help support weight loss. Brown rice is slightly higher in fat than basmati rice, but it has more fiber. Fiber helps keep you full longer. Both basmati and brown rice are a better choice than white rice for weight loss. 

Final Thoughts

Basmati and brown rice are similar in many ways. Both are sources of good carbs that are full of fiber and easy on your blood sugar. Basmati is white or brown long-grain rice. Brown rice comes in short, medium, and long-grain varieties. 

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