Quinoa Vs Rice: Which One Is Better For You?

Quinoa and rice are both delicious and versatile side dishes, but recently, quinoa has gained more positive attention, seemingly from its high protein count (via Women's Health). According to HuffPost, its popularity has soared because it is nutritionally dense, rendering it a "superfood," and also because it is a complete vegan and gluten-free protein, which helps it cater to a broader population. Considering these impressive properties, the question remains — is quinoa healthier than rice? 

The colorful varieties of quinoa and rice are a good source of complex carbohydrates, have anti-inflammatory properties, and are packed with fiber, which can help with weight loss (per Well + Good). Brown rice and quinoa are also loaded with antioxidants, particularly phenols and flavonoids, which are helpful in fighting oxidative stress (via clean green simple). Quinoa and brown rice each assist in providing energy and may even boost serotonin, the chemical in the brain that makes you happy. According to clean green simple, nutritionally, brown rice is closer to quinoa than white rice is.

Nutritionally speaking, quinoa is better than rice

Quinoa is a comlpete protein with a low glycemic index, while rice, on the other hand, is not a complete protein and has a higher glycemic index. Quinoa has more fiber than both brown and white rice, which helps with digestion and keeps you full longer. According to Well + Good, quinoa also beats rice in the essential minerals category, having more iron, folate, and calcium. Although quinoa trumps rice nutritionally, registered dietician Valerie Goldberg seems to think determining which is healthier is impractical and she tells Women's Health, "It's all about the balance of a nutritious diet."  

According to Healthline, comparing the two may not even be reasonable, considering rice is a grain and quinoa is a seed. Both, though, can be foods that fit into a healthy lifestyle. Goldberg says the benefits of quinoa and brown rice are similar enough that your preference in taste should be the deciding factor. This leaves only one question — brown rice pilaf or a quinoa bowl?