Rice is a popular meal all over the world, but when it comes to nutrition, you may have a healthier choice — quinoa, a seed of the goosefoot plant and related to spinach and beets.

Known as a pseudocereal, quinoa is cooked and eaten like rice. It has become a popular choice of foods because of the amazing health benefits it provides.

While rice is a common dish and a good source of energy to keep you active, it is high in carbs and may contain an unwanted ingredient named arsenic. In that case, quinoa might be a good choice if you want to lose weight.

Continue reading to learn more about quinoa vs. rice, their nutritional profile, and health benefits that may help you choose the right one.

quinoa vs rice

Quinoa Vs. Rice: Nutrition Facts

According to a report from the USDA, 100 grams of cooked white rice contains 130 calories, 2.69 grams protein, 0.28 grams fat, 28.17 grams carbohydrates, and 0.4 grams of fiber. [1]

On the other hand, the same amount of quinoa contains 120 calories, 4.40 grams protein, 1.92 grams fat, 21.30 grams carbohydrates, and 2.8 grams fiber. [2]

While the calories are almost similar, quinoa contains more protein, fiber, and fat than rice. Unlike rice, quinoa is a seed, meaning that it contains all the necessary amino acids that are essential for your body. 

Why is Quinoa Considered Healthier Than Rice?

Both rice and quinoa offer numerous health benefits. However, when it comes to lose weight and avoid diseases related to overweight, quinoa is the winner.

Following is the list of some reasons that explain why you should choose quinoa over rice.

1. Quinoa is an Excellent Protein Source.

A diet consists of high-carb food like rice can lead to obesity, as well as other health-related problems.

Although quinoa is a plant-based food, it is a complete protein. This is especially helpful when it comes to losing weight.

A study published in 2015 concludes that having an adequate amount of protein can help you stay full and aid in weight loss. [3]

So, if you’re trying to lose weight but can’t skip the rice, you can consider quinoa as a healthy alternative.

2. It Can Protect Your Heart.

Quinoa is rich in fiber, an important nutrient that can reduce your risk of developing heart disease. 

According to a study published in 2013, regular intake of dietary fiber can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and coronary heart disease. [4]

Quinoa can improve your digestive system and help you to lose weight, which eventually boosts your heart health. 

3. Quinoa is Rich in Potassium.

An adequate amount of potassium intake is important to regulate your fluid balance, nerve signals, and muscle contractions.

A lack of potassium may cause problems with your bone health, kidney, and blood pressure according to a study published in 2016. [5]

Another research published in the Current Hypertension Reports states the importance of potassium in managing high blood pressure. [6]

A cup of cooked quinoa contains 318 mg of potassium, which is a lot higher than the rice (55 mg in one cup serving). 

quinoa vs rice

4. It is One of The Best Source of Magnesium.

A one-cup serving of quinoa has 118 mg of potassium, while rice contains only 19 grams. It means switching to quinoa can be a wise choice if you’re looking for an excellent source of this mineral.

Magnesium is a vital component to keep your bones structurally intact. This mineral is particularly essential for those with type-2 diabetes, gastrointestinal issues, and alcoholism. 

Regular consumption of magnesium-rich foods can reduce the risk of stroke according to research published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. [7]

5. Quinoa Can Help Control Your Blood Sugar.

While quinoa and rice have almost the same amount of carbohydrates, there is a huge difference in the quality of the carbs.

Rice has a high glycemic index (GI) that can cause a spike in your blood sugar level. On the other hand, low GI food can help control your blood sugar level. [8]

Quinoa is a low GI food that contains a significant amount of protein and fiber, meaning that you can replace rice with it if you have diabetes.

6. Quinoa Contains Less Arsenic Than Rice.

Arsenic is a component that is found in air, water, and soil. It’s an unwanted ingredient in foods, especially the inorganic one.

While rice absorbs these toxic materials more than other foods, the ratio is quite low to cause any immediate threat. [9]

While arsenic is present in both rice and quinoa, the latter is a safer choice in terms of the ratio of this toxic element.

End Note

Both rice and quinoa possess numerous health benefits and can be a great addition to your daily meal. 

However, if you want to lose some weight or looking for something a bit healthier, quinoa can be your best bet.

Besides, it’s a great source of plant-based protein if you are a vegetarian or vegan. Quinoa will provide a great amount of protein without increasing the risk of any disease.

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