March 10, 2008

You Ask, I Answer: Wild Rice

I have seen wild rice dishes at a lot of restaurants lately.

Is it a whole grain? Is it nutritious?

-- Andrea Pandetti

Jacksonville, FL

Wild rice is indeed a whole grain, although that's a misnomer!

Wild rice is actually a water-grass seed native to the Great Lakes (as well as parts of China and Africa).

The only reason why it's referred to as "rice" is because of its shape and the fact that large amounts, once risen over lake surfaces, often resemble rice paddies.

Is it nutritious? Yes!

It is certainly steps ahead of its traditional white relative, and even surpasses its brown counterpart!

A cup of wild rice clocks in at 166 calories, 50 less than that same amount of brown rice and eighty lower than white rice.

That cup also delivers 17 percent of the daily zinc requirement, 23 percent of a day's worth of manganese, and is thisclose to being a complete protein (it's a tad low on lysine).

All these qualities (along with three grams of fiber and six and a half of protein) make it a must-try side dish for those looking for nutrient-dense plant foods.

Its crunchy texture and nutty flavor are also a great plus!

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