It is a common fact that rice is one of the staple foods for humans. According to statistics, rice is the most important and commonly used food grain for around half of the human population, across the globe. There are many different varieties of rice that are cultivated in various parts of the world. In fact, rice comes second in the list of cereal grains with highest worldwide production. Cultivation of rice is mostly concentrated in regions, like south-east Asia, Middle-East, West Indies, Latin America and certain parts of Africa. As far as rice production in Asia is concerned, India plays a key role. This country is the second largest producer of white rice, in the world. When it comes to the popular rice varieties that have originated in India, 'basmati' is worth mentioning. One of the popular rice types, basmati is also nutritious and healthy.
What is Basmati Rice
As mentioned above, you may come across different types of rice that have been cultivated in various parts of the world. Basmati rice is one such rice variety with certain distinct characteristics. This rice is highly valued for its fragrance as well as flavor. Apart from being aromatic, cooked basmati rice has slender, elongated grains, which is another characteristic feature of this rice variety. Once cooked, the grains do not stick to one another and remain fluffy. In other words, cooked basmati rice is a perfect combination of long grained rice with a unique flavor and texture. This rice is available in both white and brown forms.
Grown in the northwestern regions of India for decades, basmati rice is said to be originated in this country. India is the main cultivator and exporter of this type of rice. Even the Punjab province of Pakistan produces basmati rice in large amounts. The name basmati is believed to be derived from the fragrance and texture of the rice. The distinct aroma of basmati rice is attributed to the compound 2-acetyl-1-pyrroline, which is found in these rice grains. This rice is now available in many different varieties.
Nutritional Benefits of Basmati Rice
We all know that basmati rice is well-known for its fragrance and texture. However, the benefits of this rice are not limited to these factors. Basmati rice is also said to be nutritious and healthy. Rice, in general, is low in fat content and is also an excellent source of carbohydrates. As compared to white rice, basmati rice and brown rice have medium glycemic index. Basmati rice calories may vary slightly for both brown and white versions. While 200 grams (1 cup) of cooked white basmati rice amounts to 205 calories, the value is 216 in case of brown version. The following table will provide you with some information about basmati rice nutrition (per cup of cooked basmati rice).
|Nutrient||White Basmati Rice||Brown Basmati Rice|
|Carbohydrates||44.4 g||45 g|
|Protein||4.1 g||5 g|
|Fiber||0.2 g||4 g|
|Fat||0.5 g||2 g|
Apart from the above said vital nutrients, basmati rice contains certain vitamins and minerals, like B vitamins and iron respectively. Brown rice is also rich in dietary fiber. As compared to white basmati rice, the brown variety is said to be more nutritious. The above said calorific and nutritional value of basmati rice may vary slightly with different brands and types.
In general, rice is considered a nutritious food that has very low level of fats and cholesterol. Rice is also free of gluten and so it can be used by those with gluten intolerance. In case of basmati rice, there is no cholesterol and the fat content is also meager. With a medium glycemic index, this rice can also be used by diabetics in small amounts. Being high in carbohydrate content, basmati rice provides instant energy. It is also easy to digest and is a good source of protein, B vitamins and iron. These nutrients are vital for the proper functioning of the bodily systems.
In short, basmati rice can be a flavorful as well as nutritious addition to your diet. While the nutritional value and benefits of basmati rice are almost similar in both white and brown versions , the latter is said to be more healthy. Apart from these two main types, you may come across various sub types of basmati rice that is now available in almost all parts of the world.