Nutritional Facts: Is Rice a Grain? Everything You Need to Know
A grain is a grass crop that produces small seeds that can be harvested and consumed by humans or animals.
These small edible seeds are really the fruits of grass plants, which are among the most utilized plants on Earth.
Many foods, including rice, are cultivated from grain crops.
Other types of grains include wheat, oats, corn, barley, rye, and even legumes.
This article reviews all there is to know about rice, including its grain types and nutrition.
Rice is one of the world’s most produced grains, feeding billions of people every day. In fact, as many as 3 billion people in over 100 countries rely on rice as a staple food.
Since 2000, global production of rice has increased by nearly 25%. In 2016 alone, the world produced approximately 756 million tonnes or 1.6 trillion pounds of rice.
Because rice is so versatile, it has traditionally been included in many different cuisines. There are thousands of rice varieties grown worldwide.
Two of the most commonly consumed types are Oryza sativa (Asian rice) and Oryza glabberima (African rice).
Some popular Asian rice varieties include jasmine rice, basmati rice, tinawon rice, and black rice. Asian rice varieties vary in color and grain length, and many have strong and fragrant flavor profiles.
On the other hand, most African rice varieties are dark in color, ranging from red to brown to purple. Though African rice typically matures faster than Asian rice, it’s much more difficult to mill. Therefore, it’s not grown or consumed as commonly as it was in the past.
“Rice is a grain that nourishes billions of people around the world. It comes in many varieties, each with unique properties.”
Despite playing such a large role in the human diet, rice is deficient in many vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients. Phytonutrients are nutrients produced by plants that help prevent disease and improve overall health.
In fact, rice is mostly composed of carbs and a small amount of protein.
However, it’s important to note that the nutritional profile of rice can differ based on how refined it is and whether it has been enriched with vitamins and minerals.
All rice begins as a whole grain, but to lengthen the shelf life, it’s sometimes put through a milling process that removes the outer bran and germ of the grain, leaving only the endosperm. This is known as refined, or white rice.
Yet, the discarded bran and germ contain most of the nutrients.
Therefore, many refined rice varieties are enriched with additional nutrients after the milling process, which improves their overall nutritional profile.