Wild Rice vs. Brown Rice

While brown rice and wild rice look and sound very similar, they couldn’t be more different! What if I told you that wild rice is not actually rice at all? That’s right! Wild rice is actually a seed of an aquatic grass, which is similar to rice but not directly related. How then, does wild rice and brown rice compare nutritionally?  

Wild rice was originally grown and harvested by Native Americans thousands of years ago. It is still around today because of its nutrient-dense properties that provide many health benefits! It contains impressive amounts of protein, manganese, phosphorus, magnesium, folate, and zinc.

While wild rice possesses some impressive benefits, this is not to say that brown rice does not bring anything to the table. Brown rice also contains protein, manganese, phosphorus, magnesium, folate, and zinc, in slightly lower levels compared to wild rice. Brown rice can have up to six times as much manganese as wild rice; a mineral needed for bone development and metabolic function.    

If you are watching your caloric intake, wild rice or brown rice are better choices than white rice. A 3.5 oz. serving of cooked wild rice provides around 100 calories, compared to 112 for brown rice and 130 for white rice.

Some similarities between the 2 grains include their fiber content, glycemic index, and antioxidants. When looking at fiber content, wild rice and brown rice are very similar! Both provide approximately 1.8 grams of fiber per 3.5 oz. serving. (White rice only provides ½ gram of fiber). Another plus is that both grains are also gluten-free. Wild and brown rice also have high levels of antioxidants, which research has shown can help reduce the risks of several diseases including cancer, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes.   

And the winner is? WILD RICE, but only by a hair.

Wild rice wins because it contains higher amounts of protein, zinc, folate, and potassium when compared to brown rice. But brown rice provides health benefits as well! Both of these nutrient-dense grains contain macro and micronutrients that can help prevents diseases such as cancer, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease.


Coley Huebner