If you love rice like we do, you likely have wondered about the differences between the ever-popular basmati and jasmine rice varieties. Sure, both are delicious in their own right, but is basmati rice more healthful than jasmine rice? Let’s find out in today’s post.
Jasmine vs Basmati Rice
Before delving into whether or not basmati rice is more healthful than jasmine rice, it can help to know a little bit about each.
Jasmine rice is a long-grain variety that has a faintly floral and distinguishable aroma. It’s known for its plump and luscious mouth-feel and its flavor, which many liken to popcorn.
Jasmine rice can be sticky in texture and is produced mainly in Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia. Jasmine rice can come in both brown and white varieties, with the brown variety packing more fiber and nutritious benefits. Still, white rice varieties of jasmine rice contain a variety of benefits that make it worth the buy, many of which we will look deeper into later on in this post.
Basmati rice is also a long-grain rice. Though its grains are slightly longer than jasmine rice, and it also originates from Pakistan and India. It, too, is characterized as aromatic rice and carries with it a pleasingly nutty scent.
Basmati rice comes in white and brown varieties that can be easily found on store shelves. Like jasmine brown rice, brown basmati rice will offer more fiber and nutrition, but basmati rice may be easier on blood sugar levels with a glycemic index of only 50-58 versus an approximate glycemic index of 100 in jasmine rice.
Jasmine vs Basmati Rice Health Benefits
Both jasmine and basmati rice offer important health benefits to the individuals consuming them. However, each has its own special qualities that are worth exploring individually.
Jasmine Rice Health Benefits
As with most grains, choosing the whole grain brown variety is important. When comparing both white and brown jasmine rice, the most nutrients you’ll find are in brown jasmine rice, though processed white jasmine rice also packs benefits.
Jasmine rice of all varieties offers a little protein, a good source of carbohydrates, and fiber–especially in the brown varieties.
Though jasmine rice does supply a bit of protein, it isn’t near enough to be substituted for amino-acid-containing proteins like meat. Therefore, you’ll want to pair your jasmine rice with other amino-acid-containing foods to ensure you are eating a balanced meal.
Another aspect to consider when exploring the healthfulness of jasmine rice is its impact on glucose. Unfortunately, jasmine rice is one of the worst types of rice you can eat when it comes to stabilizing blood sugar levels. With a glycemic index of around 100, jasmine rice is considered to be a high glycemic food.
Therefore, those suffering from diabetes may wish to steer clear of the jasmine rice variety.
Basmati Rice Health Benefits
As previously mentioned, basmati rice also comes in both white and brown forms, which can easily be spotted on store shelves. Like jasmine rice, brown versions of basmati rice will contain more fiber than white basmati rice varieties.
Surprisingly, basmati rice is lower in arsenic than other rice varieties, including jasmine rice. It is also often enriched, meaning that nutrients are often added to your basmati to increase its nutritional value.
Basmati rice is a good source of zinc, folate, selenium, and other nutrients that keep your body healthy and strong. Like jasmine rice, basmati is best paired with amino-acid-containing foods like meat and veggies for a near-perfect meal in terms of good health.
In terms of effects on glucose, basmati rice wins out over jasmine rice. In fact, basmati rice happens to have one of the lowest GI ratings in the world of rice, with readings ranging anywhere from 50-58.
Is Basmati Rice Healthier Than White Rice?
Though both basmati and jasmine rice have plenty to offer the individuals consuming them, we’d have to say that basmati rice wins out over jasmine rice. It is often enriched with other nutrients, has less arsenic, and is lower on the glycemic index.
Having said that, both varieties will serve as pleasing and healthful side dishes to accompany savory entrees, and both offer plenty of fiber and nutrients–especially when bought in the brown variety–making them fairly comparable in terms of healthfulness.
Jasmine Rice vs Basmati Rice Glycemic Index
As previously mentioned, jasmine rice has a higher glycemic index than basmati rice. Jasmine rice weighs in at over 100 on the glycemic index while basmati rice is only 50-58. Thus, basmati rice is a much better option when compared to jasmine rice, and is even better when consumed in its unprocessed form.
Is Basmati Rice as Good as Jasmine?
In terms of taste, we say yes! But both have a distinguishable flavor, look, and mouth feel.
Jasmine rice is stickier and appears to have a shorter grain, although it is still considered long grain rice. Jasmine rice smells slightly floral but will taste similar to popcorn. It is often described as “luscious” in terms of texture, and it is a popular staple in homes in America, as well as around the world.
Basmati rice isn’t as sticky and has a drier mouth-feel. But it is equally delicious! Basmati rice holds firmer in texture and its grains tend to stay separate when cooked correctly.
Basmati rice can be described as having a nutty aroma and taste, though only faintly so. This rice has gained much popularity for its health benefits, especially amongst those rice lovers looking for a good blend of taste, flavor, texture, and healthfulness. Add to these things the fact that basmati rice is low on the glycemic index scale, and you’ve got near-perfect rice!
Having said all of this, whether or not basmati rice tastes as good as jasmine rice will be up to the one consuming it. Everyone has different palates and some will enjoy one variety over another. And that’s okay!
How to Cook Jasmine and Basmati Rice
When using a rice cooker to cook either jasmine or basmati rice, be sure to follow the directions on your rice cooker but add slightly less water when cooking basmati.
If you aren’t using a rice cooker, you can easily whip up a delicious batch of rice on your stovetop at home. Consider the following recipes to make rice on your own:
- 1 Cup Basmati Rice
- 1 ¾ Cups of Water
- ½ tsp of Salt (Optional)
- Rinse your basmati rice in a strainer until the water runs clear.
- Combine all listed ingredients and bring to a boil.
- Place a lid on the pot and lower the temperature to a simmer, until the rice is fully cooked through, about 20 minutes or less.
- Serve hot.
Note: Some varieties of basmati rice may cook longer than others. To be sure, follow the directions on your package label when considering how long to cook your rice.
*Adapted From Once Upon a Chef
- 1 Cup Jasmine Rice
- 1 ¼ Cups of Water
- ½ tsp Salt (Optional)
- If desired, rinse jasmine rice until the water is no longer cloudy.
- Combine rice, water, and salt into a pot.
- Bring ingredients to a boil.
- Place a tight-fitting lid on the pot and reduce heat to a simmer.
- Simmer for about 12 minutes or until fully cooked through.
- Allow the rice to sit about 10 minutes before fluffing and serving hot.
*Adapted From Recipe Tin Eats
Basmati and Jasmine Rice Pairings
We’ve set out to find some of the best pairings for basmati and jasmine rice. Try these the next time you have a hankering for something special, but know that these are only suggestions… basmati and jasmine rice can actually be paired with anything your heart desires!
Basmati Rice Pairs Well With:
- Coconut Curry
- Bean Salad
- Chicken Masala
- With Scallops
- With Chicken Thighs
Jasmine Rice Goes Great With:
- Stir Fry
- Greek Rice Pilaf
- Rice Soup
Basmati Rice May Be More Healthful Than Jasmine Rice
The answer to the question, “Is basmati rice more healthful than jasmine rice?” is yes!
In some ways, basmati rice is healthier than jasmine rice, especially when it comes to the effect that basmati has on blood sugar. Because basmati rice is lower on the glycemic index, it can be gentler on blood sugar which is ideal for those who suffer from diabetes and other insulin-related issues.
Still, both jasmine and basmati rice have much to offer in terms of fiber and nutrients, especially when choosing brown varieties over white. Just bear in mind that the two types of rice vary slightly in aroma and flavor, and have a different textures that may pair well with certain dishes over others.
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