Black Rice vs Wild Rice – The Differences & Nutritional Comparison

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Black Rice vs Wild Rice

Wondering what the differences are between black rice and wild rice? You’ve come to the right place. In this article, we will examine: 

  • How black rice and wild rice differ.
  • The nutritional differences between wild rice and black.
  • How each affects your sugar levels.
  • How preparing wild rice and black rice differs.

What’s the Difference Between Black Rice and Wild Rice?

wild rice is not a type of rice

Wild rice and black rice are often confused, but they are entirely different. In fact, wild rice isn’t a type of rice at all. It is marsh grass (Zizania Aquatica). Early European settlers mistakenly labeled it rice because the grains bear a striking resemblance to rice kernels. 

Origin and Cultivation

wild rice origin

Black rice is authentic Asian rice (Oryza sativa). Its ancestry has been established by genetic tracing to a single Japanese variety, and its documented history of cultivation in China goes back thousands of years. 

Wild rice, on the other hand, has only recently begun to be cultivated. Before the 1950s, wild rice was gathered exclusively from the shallows of slow-moving rivers and streams by hand. Most organic wild rice is still produced this way in North America, India, and China. 

Taste and Aroma

Black and wild rice have a sweet, nutty taste and firm texture, but black rice generally has an earthy note. On the other hand, wild rice is less earthy and has a grassy flavor and aroma.

So Wild Rice is The Same as “Forbidden Rice?”

No, wild rice isn’t the same as “Forbidden Rice.” Black rice is often called “Forbidden Rice” because it was once illegal for people other than Chinese Royals to possess. Peasants caught with it could be executed. 

Nutrition Table

Per 100g Cooked Black Rice Cooked Wild Rice
Calories  145 (7% DV) 101 (5% DV)
Fat 0g03 0.3g
Carbohydrates 33.3g 23g
Protein 2.9g 4g
Cholesterol 0mg 0mg
Fiber 0g 1.8g
Sugar 0g 1g
Iron 0mg 0.6mg
Vitamin A 0 0
Vitamin C 0 0
Vitamin B1 0mg 0mg
Vitamin B2 0mg 0mg
Vitamin B5 0 0
Vitamin B12 0 0
Biotin 0 0
Folate 0 0
Vitamin E 0mg 0mg
Vitamin D 0 0
Vitamin K 0 0
Vitamin K1 0 0

Which is Healthier – Black Rice or Wild Rice?

wild rice antioxidants

Despite not being rice, wild rice comes much closer to black rice nutritionally than most other grains. Like black rice, wild rice is not milled. The nutritious bran layer is left intact. 

Because of this, wild rice is an excellent source of fiber, protein, magnesium, vitamin B-6, and many trace minerals. It is also very high in antioxidants but lacks the Anthocyanin content that gives black rice its color. 

Black rice also contains high levels of arabinoxylan and β-glucan, which aid in digestion and the absorption of nutrients. 

Which is healthier? That will depend on your personal priorities.

Black rice:

  • Aids in weight management.
  • Is heart-friendly.
  • Is higher in antioxidants. 
  • Is the highest in fiber. 
  • Is naturally gluten-free.
  • Helps prevent and control diabetes.

Wild Rice:

  • Has high antioxidant content.
  • Helps fight diabetes.
  • Helps prevent heart disease.
  • Helps with weight management.
  • Is full of magnesium, phosphorus, and other trace minerals.
  • Is gluten-free
  • Is rich in folate 

Glycemic Index 

wild rice glycemic index

The glycemic index is a scale developed by doctors to measure how foods affect blood glucose (sugar) levels. The standard measurement is how sugar levels in the blood shift over the first two hours after a portion of food is consumed. 

The scale runs from 0 to 100. 0 being distilled water and 100 being pure glucose. Foods with a lower glycemic index rating are considered healthier because they cause less of an insulin spike. Insulin spikes contribute to an array of disorders affecting the nervous system, major organs, and blood vessels. The Glycemic Index is used to aid in weight loss management, controlling diabetes, and managing cholesterol problems.

Black Rice

Black rice has an average glycemic index of 43.  Anything with a GI below 55 falls into the low category. This category also includes foods like apples, yogurt, apricots, and lentils. 

Wild Rice

Wild rice has an average glycemic rating of 45. This is slightly higher than black rice, but the difference is negligible enough to be considered insignificant.  

Cooking Time

wild rice cooking time

Black rice and wild rice are both un-milled grains and are slower to cook than more refined grains. Considering the health benefits that both offer, a slight increase in preparation time is a minor inconvenience. 

Black Rice

There are several methods of preparing black rice, including:

  • Pilaf method.
  • Pasta method.
  • In rice cookers.
  • Absorption method.

Cooking times for black rice can vary greatly depending on the method, variety of rice, and volume you need to prepare. In most home cooking situations, you should allow 20 to 50 minutes to prepare black rice. 

Wild Rice

Cooking times for wild rice depend on whether it is authentic wild rice or cultivated wild rice (oxymoron), how long it has been stored, and the texture you prefer. You can expect 35 to 50 minutes of cooking time for wild rice with just a slightly crunchy feel.