Jasmine rice and white rice are pretty much the same when it comes to their nutritional value because both are processed. However, whole-grain versions of jasmine rice, like brown jasmine rice, could be a better choice than white rice for your health.
Rice is a key source of energy for countless folks globally.
You’ll find many kinds of rice out there, but jasmine and white rice are among the favorites for many people.
Even though these two rice types look and taste similar, there are some important differences to consider.
This article takes a close look at how jasmine and white rice are alike and what sets them apart.
Nutrients in jasmine rice vs. white rice
White rice, including jasmine rice, goes through a process where its hard shell, outer layer, and inner core are taken off.
This means white rice loses a lot of its fiber and other good-for-you stuff.
Different kinds of white rice like basmati, arborio, and jasmine are pretty much the same when it comes to what nutrients they offer.
Let’s look at the nutritional content for a cup of cooked long-grain white rice and jasmine rice:
Nutritional info for long-grain white rice
- Calories: 160
- Protein: 4 grams
- Fat: 0 grams
- Carbs: 36 grams
- Fiber: 1 gram
- Calcium: Gives you 2% of your daily need
- Iron: 0% of your daily need
Nutritional info for jasmine rice
- Calories: 181
- Protein: 4 grams
- Fat: 1 gram
- Carbs: 39 grams
- Fiber: 1 gram
- Calcium: Covers 2% of your daily need
- Iron: Fulfills 2% of your daily need
White rice also has tiny bits of zinc, magnesium, manganese, copper, and some B vitamins naturally.
But since it loses nutrients when processed, extra amounts of iron, vitamin B1, vitamin B3, and folate are usually added back in.
Summary: When it comes to calories, carbs, protein, and fiber, long-grain white rice and jasmine rice are nearly the same.
Healthier options: Whole-grain jasmine rice varieties
Brown jasmine rice is a more natural option compared to white rice.
In brown jasmine rice, only the hard outer shell is removed, leaving the bran and germ intact. This means you get to keep more fiber and nutrients in the rice you eat.
Here’s what you’ll get in a 1/3 cup (50 grams) of uncooked brown jasmine rice:
- Calories: 180
- Protein: 4 grams
- Fat: 1.5 grams
- Carbs: 38 grams
- Fiber: 2 grams
- Iron: Covers 2% of your daily need
- Vitamin B1: 10% of your daily need
- Vitamin B3: Takes care of 15% of your daily need
Brown jasmine rice is generally lower in calories and carbs compared to white rice because it has more fiber. It also has added bonuses like calcium, iron, and potassium.
Additionally, you can find red, purple, and black jasmine rice that are whole grains too. These come packed with plant nutrients called phytonutrients that act as antioxidants, helping to shield your cells from harm.
Summary: Whole-grain jasmine rice, like the brown variety, is a better option for fiber and provides essential vitamins and minerals.
How jasmine rice and white rice differ in look and smell
White rice comes in different shapes: short, medium, and long grains.
On the other hand, Jasmine rice always has long grains and mainly comes from Southeast Asia, especially Thailand. It’s fluffy and a bit sticky when cooked, making it perfect for many dishes.
White rice can feel different depending on the type. For instance, glutinous rice, often used in Asian sweets, sticks together a lot.
When it comes to color, white rice is, well, white. But jasmine rice has more options: it can be white, brown, red, purple, or even black.
Jasmine rice is sometimes called Thai fragrant rice because it has a nice popcorn-like aroma. This special scent comes from a molecule called 2-acetyl-1-pyrroline.
Suggested read: The healthiest types of rice
Regular white rice, in contrast, usually doesn’t have a strong smell.
Summary: Jasmine rice has long grains, comes in multiple colors, and has a nice aroma. White rice is always white and can be short, medium, or long-grained.
Is jasmine rice or white rice better for your health?
Both white jasmine rice and regular white rice are processed grains, which means they’re pretty much the same nutrition-wise.
Since they don’t have much fiber or protein, they get digested quickly, which could cause your blood sugar to spike.
One big study involving over 197,000 people showed that switching just a 1/3 cup of white rice with brown rice daily could lower the risk of type 2 diabetes by 16%.
Switching to brown rice can even help improve blood vessel health for people with type 2 diabetes.
That’s likely because whole grains like brown jasmine rice still have their fiber, helping to slow down how fast sugar gets absorbed into your blood.
Plus, brown rice comes with plant compounds called phytonutrients, including flavonoids, anthocyanins, and phenolics. These substances are good for your heart and immune system.
So, choosing whole-grain jasmine rice is a smarter health move than going for white jasmine or regular white rice.
Summary: For a healthier option, go for whole-grain or brown jasmine rice instead of white or white jasmine rice.
White jasmine rice is just another form of white rice.
Because it’s processed a lot, it loses a good chunk of its fiber and other nutritional value.
However, you can opt for whole-grain versions of jasmine rice that come in colors like brown, red, and black as a better health choice.
These whole-grain options have more fiber, a better array of nutrients, and even come with healthy plant compounds.