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Nutrition Differences in Black Rice Vs. Brown Rice

| By Jill Corleone
Nutrition Differences in Black Rice Vs. Brown Rice
A 1/2-cup serving of cooked brown rice equals one whole-grain serving. Photo Credit Chad Baker/Jason Reed/Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images

If you've switched from white rice to brown rice to up the nutrition in your diet, you made a good choice. But if you're looking to improve the nutritional quality of your diet even more, consider adding black rice to your whole-grain rotation. While both brown rice and black rice are low in fat and a good source of healthy carbs, black rice is lower in calories and a better source of fiber. It might be a better source of antioxidants, too.

Difference in Calories

If you like rice and you're counting calories, black rice makes a better choice when compared to brown rice. A 1/3-cup serving of dry black rice contains 200 calories, while the same serving of brown rice contains 226 calories. Twenty-six calories may not seem like much of a difference, but consuming an extra 26 calories a day over one year can lead to a 2.7-pound weight gain.

Comparing the Carbs, Protein and Fat

Black rice is lower in carbs but higher in fiber, and a better source of protein than brown rice. A 1/3 cup serving of dry black rice contains 43 grams of carbs, 3 grams of fiber, 6 grams of protein and 2 grams of fat, while the same serving of brown rice contains 47 grams of carbs, 2 grams of fiber, 5 grams of protein and 2 grams of fat.

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Looking at the Minerals

The mineral content in both black and brown rice is very similar. A serving of either rice meets 8 percent of the daily value for zinc and 20 percent of the daily value for phosphorus. But the black rice is a slightly better source of iron, meeting 6 percent of the daily value, compared to 5 percent of the daily value in a serving of brown rice. Zinc is a mineral that supports immune health, phosphorus is needed for the formation of teeth and bones and iron helps transport oxygen throughout your body.

Antioxidant Power

A major difference between the black rice and brown rice is color, and the color of the black rice may also make it a better source of antioxidants, according to the American Chemical Society. Anthocyanin, a pigment found in the rice grain that creates its dark hue, is an antioxidant that may aid in your fight against heart disease and cancer. The American Chemical Society says that a spoonful of black rice bran has more antioxidant power than a spoonful of blueberries. While brown rice is not a good source of anthocyanin, it is a source of vitamin E, which is also an important antioxidant that might offer protection against chronic illness.

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author image Jill Corleone
Based in Hawaii, Jill Corleone is a registered dietitian who has been writing and lecturing on diet and health for more than 10 years. Her work has been featured on the Huffington Post, Diabetes Self-Management and in the book "Noninvasive Mechanical Ventilation," edited by John R. Bach, M.D. Corleone holds a Bachelor of Science in nutrition.
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