Wild Rice Vs. Brown Rice: Which Is More Nutritious?

Rice is a delicious ingredient that can taste good with pretty much anything, and its versatility is hard to overlook. Maybe you enjoy eating rice with a bowl of spicy curry. Or perhaps, you'd rather treat yourself to an irresistible sweet treat and make mango sticky rice instead. Indeed, rice can be used in an incredible number of ways to spruce up your dish. For example, when in doubt, just make yourself a warm bowl of fried rice, or take it a step further and add chicken to your fried rice to make the dish extra yummy.

Of course, anyone who enjoys eating rice will be able to tell you that there are different types of rice available at the market. Two popular options are wild and brown rice. According to Healthline, the major difference between the two is wild rice is, in fact, a kind of grass. Additionally, brown and wild rice both from different families but offer several health benefits.

Brown and wild rice are quite different

Wild and brown rice are similar in the sense that they're both healthy options. That said, they're different in terms of flavor, appearance, and nutritional value. On one hand, brown rice is a lot milder in taste. On the other hand, wild rice is fairly strong in terms of flavor, something that you'll definitely notice. As noted by Livestrong, wild rice is more difficult to harvest and that's why it is usually costlier than brown rice. 

Brown and wild rice have different scientific terms too; brown rice is referred to as Oryza sativa while wild rice has names such as Zizania aquatica and Zizania texana. Also, they're fairly different in terms of appearance; wild rice is significantly darker than brown rice, and the latter is available in different sizes while wild rice is basically long grain. 

After cooking brown rice, you'll notice that it's chewy and mild. Wild rice, in comparison, will retain its firm texture even after you've cooked it, but it is still considered to be chewy and earthy. A few Redditors discussed whether it's worth buying wild rice considering that it's pricier. "It really depends on the taste and texture you're going for," one user opined. "Wild rice is good mixed with other grains, or even just by itself for digestive problems." They added that because wild rice is so different from other types of rice and isn't technically rice, it'll add more variety to your diet.

Wild rice is better for you than brown rice

In terms of calories, the difference between wild and brown rice is interesting. As per Taste, wild rice has 30% fewer calories than brown rice when cooked. Plus, you're looking at somewhere around 40% extra protein when it comes to wild rice. Whoa! There's more. Wild rice has more fiber than brown rice, something that can keep you satiated for a longer period. It's also higher in potassium and zinc.

However, brown rice has a lot more manganese than wild rice, a type of mineral that's considered necessary for your bones and metabolic process. Of course, if you really think about it, wild and brown rice are both objectively healthy picks with plenty of antioxidants. They're also gluten-free, a definite advantage to those who may have gluten allergies to think about.

However, there is one thing that does count against brown rice: It contains a chemical called arsenic, something that can be toxic for you in large amounts, and may contribute to illnesses such as cancer and heart disease (via Healthline.) However, if you're consuming brown rice in moderation, you're not at risk. 

The possibilities are endless

Whether you choose to consume wild or brown rice, there are plenty of options available for you to try. For example, wild rice is great for dishes such as the much-loved pilaf. It also works really well as an added ingredient to soups and casseroles and can be mixed with other types of rice. Plus, brown and wild rice also have similar cooking times which means that you can even cook them together for a lovely side dish.

If you'd rather eat brown rice on its own, you can use it to make plenty of wholesome dishes such as curried rice with chicken. Also, Redditors have suggestions in case you're looking to make brown rice taste better. "I always cook brown rice in low sodium chicken broth, a couple cloves of garlic, a slice of ginger, and a stalk of green onion," one home cook wrote. "It makes the rice taste so good." 

Sounds pretty delicious, huh? Another commentator suggested toasting the rice first to make it nuttier and then adding ingredients such as onions, tomatoes, and garlic.