best rice for diabetics

Basmati Rice - why is it better?

We asked our dietitian Sherie why basmati rice is the best choice of rice for people managing diabetes. 
It has the same amount of carbohydrates, but it has a lower gylcemic index (or GI) meaning it is better for blood glucose control.

Basmati rice is a type of long-grain rice known for its distinctive aroma, flavor, and fluffy texture when cooked. It is widely grown in the Indian subcontinent and is a staple in many South Asian cuisines. Basmati rice is often considered premium rice due to its unique qualities and is popularly used in various dishes, especially in Indian, Pakistani, and Middle Eastern cuisine.

Here are some key characteristics and information about Basmati rice:

  1. Aroma and Flavor: One of the most distinguishing features of Basmati rice is its aromatic fragrance, often described as a nutty or popcorn-like scent. When cooked, the rice grains release a pleasant aroma that adds an extra dimension to dishes. The flavor of Basmati rice is delicate, slightly sweet, and has a distinct nuttiness.

  2. Long-Grain Rice: Basmati rice grains are longer and slimmer compared to other types of rice. The elongated grains remain separate and do not stick together when cooked properly, resulting in a fluffy texture.

  3. Varieties: There are different varieties of Basmati rice, with each having its own unique characteristics. Some well-known varieties include Indian Basmati, Pakistani Basmati, and Himalayan Basmati.

  4. Culinary Uses: Basmati rice is commonly used in a variety of dishes, such as biryanis, pilafs, pulaos, and side dishes. It's also an excellent choice for serving with curries, stews, and other flavorful dishes.

  5. Cultivation: Basmati rice requires specific soil and climate conditions for optimal growth. It is often cultivated in regions with a mix of mountain water and fertile soil, such as parts of India.

Low GI foods cause carbohydrates to be digested and released into the blood more slowly, meaning blood glucose levels increase more slowly and don't reach as high levels compared to higher GI foods. In saying that the portion size is still important, because even if a food has a low GI a large portion size can still increase blood glucose levels to undesirable levels.  
Overall basmati is the best choice for rice and a suitable portion size would be around 1/2 a cup cooked as an accompaniment to our meals.
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