Plate-Wise •  12/2/2021

The surprising health benefits of rice

Written By Corteva Brazil 
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Rice on spoons

Check out the different types of this popular grain and test a recipe created by Brazilian nutritionist Juliana Ziebell.

Rice is the food base of many people around the world and is one of the main ingredients always present in Brazilian meals. Considered the third main cereal crop on the planet, rice has a great capacity to adapt to different soil and climate conditions.

Rice is rich in carbohydrates and its main benefit is to provide energy for the body, in addition to having vitamins like thiamine, riboflavin and niacin and minerals such as phosphorus, iron and potassium, all of which are essential for health. It also has an important amino acid, lysine, which is not produced by the body and which helps to prevent cold sores, reduce anxiety, and promote wound healing. On top of all these benefits, rice does not contain cholesterol and is easily digested.

The combination that Brazilians make of rice and beans is high in protein, important for the construction and repair of body tissues, and for improving immunity. Including vegetables in the same meal further increases the nutritional value.

How Many Rice Varieties Are There?

In the world, there are about 100,000 varieties of rice – approximately 8,000 of them are used as food. Here are the most common types you may find on your dinner table:

Most Common Rice Varieties

White rice

Also known as polished rice or needle, this is the most traditional variety consumed worldwide. The grain goes through a peeling process, so it is completely white and easier to cook.

Another plus is its price, which is generally more affordable compared to other types. In addition, it can be easily found in markets of any size across the country. The cereal is very versatile and can be the main ingredient in many savory and sweet recipes.

Brown rice

Brown rice has a greater amount of vitamins, as it does not go through the traditional process of removing the skin. With that, it has more nutrients and fiber in its composition. It is a great source of carbohydrates, proteins, lipids, fiber, minerals, and phenolic compounds. Because it keeps its husk, the cooking time is longer and the flavor is a little different from white rice.

Collared rice

Also known as “Japanese” or “sushi rice,” it is formed by short, curved and somewhat transparent grains. It has a large amount of starch and, after preparation, tends to be softer and creamier compared to polished rice. This rice is rich in carbohydrates and eating it increases levels of serotonin in the brain, promoting a feeling of pleasure.

Parboiled rice

Parboiled rice reaches the consumer already pre-cooked. The word parboiled means partially boiled, which causes the nutrients in the husk to pass to the inside of the grain. This type undergoes a hydrothermal process, which consists of cooking the grain with the husk, and then removing it.

There are no chemical additives in this process. Therefore, despite being white like polished rice, it is very nutritious, having a high concentration of B-complex vitamins, which are important to ward off cardiovascular disease.

Black rice

Recently, black rice began to be produced in Brazil. With a remarkable and unique flavor, it is rich in protein and fiber. It has short grain, soft texture and aroma reminiscent of chestnuts. It has a high iron content, less fat and lower caloric value. Product analyses also point out a large amount of phenolic compounds, antioxidant substances that fight free radicals, preventing premature aging, chronic degenerative diseases and cardiovascular problems.

It is considered more nutritious than brown rice. On the other hand, its cooking time is even longer, because of its more resistant “peel”.

Arboreal rice

These grains are long, rounded, and pearly in color. It’s rich in minerals and carbohydrates. It is widely used in the preparation of risottos, because, when cooked, it releases a lot of starch, leaving the food very creamy.

In nutritional terms, arboreal rice is the same as white rice, but it has a greater capacity to absorb the spice of recipes and make dishes very tasty.

Baked Rice Pastry Recipe

See how easy, tasty and healthy it is to reuse the leftover rice in the fridge with this recipe from Brazilian nutritionist Juliana Ziebell.


  • 1 cup cooked brown rice
  • 1/2 cup chopped raw broccoli
  • 1/2 cup chopped raw spinach
  • 1 tablespoon of chopped onion
  • 1 egg
  • Oil or butter to grease the pan

Preparation method

In a mixer, place the broccoli, onion and spinach. Then add rice and egg. Grind until it looks like a paste.

Grease a pan with coconut oil or another oil, or butter.

Make the paste into a croquette shape and place them side by side in the pan. Leave in the oven until golden and loose from the pan.

Serve with yogurt sauce, barbecue, or even with pesto.

If you want to watch the preparation of the recipe, just click here.

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