Wild rice is a variety of grass that can grow in cold, watery environments. This type of rice bears little resemblance to common white or brown rice.
Instead, it’s more like a weed with long stalks and seeds covered in the husk. However, this superfood contains vitamins and minerals you won’t find in white or brown rice.
Before Europeans reached the Great Lakes region, the Ojibwe people relied on wild rice as part of their diet.
They would move camps throughout the year and harvest wild rice near a lake with a promising grain stand.
In their communities, wild rice was a staple of diets and cultural ceremonies and was also important to the origin stories of many cultures.
Health Benefits of Wild Rice
Wild rice has many health benefits. Compared to its cousins, it has more protein and fiber per serving while also being lower in carbohydrates and calories.
It also has fewer antinutrients, such as beta-glucan and lectins, typically found in cereals with high amounts of starch. Its benefits go beyond nutrition alone.
It contains all nine essential amino acids
While white and brown rice are not complete proteins, wild rice provides a balanced source of essential amino acids.
Its high lysine content complements the amino acid profile of wild rice, making it a good option to include in a diet.
Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins necessary for building muscle mass and repairing cells, including those in the eyes and the intestines, the liver, the kidneys, and the heart.
Good source of fiber
While white rice has little to no fiber, wild rice is a great source. It contains three grams of fiber per cooked cup. It is also a whole grain, making it a good option for people watching their carbs.
It also contains 0.6 grams of fat. Fiber is also important for regulating blood sugar levels and maintaining healthy cholesterol levels.
If you want to lose weight, then wild rice may be your food. Compared to white rice, which many dieters avoid due to its high glycemic index, wild rice has a very low GI of 57. This is because wild rice has less starch than white rice.
Wild rice can also help with satiety. This is because it takes a long time to digest, so you’ll stay fuller for longer. This can be helpful in weight loss because it means that you’re less likely to snack between meals or in the evening after dinner.
Wild rice is also a great choice if you’re looking to preserve your vision health. This is because wild rice contains many antioxidants, including lutein and zeaxanthin, which are important for preventing macular degeneration and age-related eye diseases such as cataracts.
This is also due to its high zinc content, which is important for DNA repair and helps to keep your eyes healthy.
Wild rice is also a good option if you’re looking to support heart health. This is because it contains niacin, a B vitamin that’s important for normal metabolism and regulating blood sugar levels and cholesterol.
Niacin is also used to treat high cholesterol and high blood pressure, making it a good option for people with these conditions.
Immunity Boosting Properties
Wild rice also has high amounts of zinc, which is important for boosting immunity. This is because it helps to create antibodies that destroy bacteria and viruses that are responsible for colds and other infections.
Zinc is also important for hormone regulation and protecting your skin from UV damage. This makes it important for preventing wrinkles and sun damage.
Zinc is also important for producing collagen, which is necessary for healthy hair, nails, and bones. It’s also recommended for pregnant women because it helps to boost fetal development.
On the other hand, the high level of vitamin C found in wild rice is a boon for our immune system, which is the first line of defense against infections.
Vitamin C is also crucial in creating collagen, which is needed to repair tissues and blood vessel walls. Therefore, eating a daily dose of wild rice can help us get enough vitamin C.
If you are concerned about gluten and you are avoiding certain foods, you might want to try wild rice. It’s naturally gluten-free and a good choice for those with a wheat allergy or celiac disease. In addition, all types of rice are gluten-free, including glutinous rice and short-grain rice.
Many people have gluten intolerance, which is when you have a condition such as Celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity.
When you have this condition, your immune system can react to foods containing gluten, which can cause you to get digestive issues and other symptoms.
As such, it is important to keep gluten out of your diet as much as possible. One way to do this is to eat foods like brown rice, quinoa, and wild rice.
These foods are naturally gluten-free, so they will not cause any issues for anyone with gluten intolerance.
Although rice is naturally gluten-free, many commercially produced products contain traces of wheat, rye, and barley.
For this reason, it is important to check the labels of any rice product you plan to eat. In addition, it’s best to choose rice that’s certified gluten-free.
The dietary fiber found in wild rice helps in proper digestion and the removal of waste products. It is believed that the gut microbiome, the group of bacteria living in our colon, affects every part of our body.
Consuming wild rice provides this healthy bacterium with food, promoting immunity and reducing inflammation.
In addition, wild rice has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Besides helping us feel healthier, wild rice also improves our cognition and immune function.
In general, wild rice is safe for consumption by humans, but there are some possible health concerns, such as ergot contamination.
The ergot is a toxic fungus that may be present in wild rice. In addition, wild rice may be contaminated with heavy metals.
These contaminants should not be a concern for those who consume a varied diet. It is important to follow a few precautions when consuming wild rice.
Wild rice is a superfood that contains less starch, more protein, and more fiber than common rice. It also has high amounts of B vitamins, fiber, and antioxidants and is a good option for weight loss and heart health.
It also has high amounts of zinc, which is important for boosting immunity, protecting your skin, and regulating blood sugar and hormone levels. Wild rice is a tasty and nutritious alternative to white rice that you can eat alone or add to other dishes.