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Parboiled Rice Vs Brown Rice Nutrition

author image Carolyn Steele
Carolyn Steele began writing about healthcare in 1995. She has designed training courses in first aid and emergency planning, and her work has appeared in various online publications. She later became a travel writer, and has been published by the Rough Guides, "Emigrate Magazine" and British and London Mensa magazines.
Parboiled Rice Vs Brown Rice Nutrition
Bowl of brown rice next to chopsticks. Photo Credit: Mathisa_s/iStock/Getty Images

Although a high-carbohydrate food, rice offers a natural source of nutrition and forms a dietary staple in many parts of the world. It can be treated in different ways after harvesting and appears on our store shelves in several forms. All types of rice contain a variety of nutrients; protein, carbohydrate, B vitamins, vitamin E, calcium and iron.

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Brown Rice

Brown rice retains the seed coatings.
Brown rice retains the seed coatings.

As with all grains, rice is harvested from the plant in a hull which must be removed. Brown rice retains the inner seed coating called rice bran, giving the rice a nuttier flavor and chewier texture. The bran layer provides additional dietary fiber, slows digestion and makes you feel fuller. Exchanging white rice for brown is one way to switch to whole grains in your diet.

Parboiled Rice

Parboiled rice has a transparent appearance.
Parboiled rice has a transparent appearance.

Parboiled rice, also known as converted rice, is treated at the harvesting stage while still in the hulls. It is soaked and steamed, before being dried. This process alters the nature of the starch, resulting in transparent grains that will be less sticky and more separate when cooked. It also allows some nutrients to transfer from the hull into the grain, giving a more nutritious product than untreated rice.

Glycemic Index

Carbohydrates, or starchy foods, can be rated according to the glycemic index or GI. This scale compares how quickly your body turns different foods into sugar, an important issue in some diets. All forms of rice are rated as high GI foods; however, the American Diabetes Association notes that brown and converted rice feature a lower GI than untreated white rice. Either form of rice makes a good choice for a sugar-control diet.

B Vitamins

Rice contains the B vitamins niacin, thiamine and riboflavin. These vitamins convert carbohydrates to energy -- a vital process for several body functions. Since these vitamins are water-soluble, the parboiling process allows them to transfer from the hulls to the grains of rice. As a result, parboiled rice becomes a richer source of vitamins than unconverted rice, white or brown.


Rice is a naturally nutritious choice.
Rice is a naturally nutritious choice.

Both brown and parboiled rice offer higher nutrition than untreated white rice. If you are looking for additional fiber in your diet, brown rice is the best choice. If your concerns are to increase vitamin intake, or if you find brown rice indigestible, parboiled rice is a nutritious option. If you are able to locate it, parboiled brown rice offers the highest nutrition of all.

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