Ever since the big "health food" boom, we've all been looking for the most nutritional foods in every food group. Kale, avocado, spinach, chia seeds, salmon, etc. However, when it comes to finding the healthiest grain with the highest nutritional value, there has always been the undying question: Quinoa vs brown rice. Which of these superfoods is the healthiest? Which grain is the most nutritious? 

But first, what even is quinoa? And what really makes brown rice any different?


groats, mustard, amaranth, corn, wheat, quinoa, condiment, millet, cereal
Christin Urso

Originally from South America, quinoa has been a healthy alternative to other grains, since the time of the Inca empire. There are two different types of quinoa: red and white. Regarding taste, white quinoa doesn't taste the same as the white rice you usually eat. You can tell them apart by the texture of the grains and the fact that quinoa is slightly more mild, while rice is known for its subtle and very plain taste.

Quinoa is also known for being an amazing source of protein (twice more than rice), calcium, dietary fiber, and omega-3 fatty acids. The best part of quinoa? It is extremely versatile. The grains have a very slight crunch to them and a very light flavor, so it is perfect to have for lunch, dinner, or even breakfast. It works perfectly as part of cereal, salad, bowl, or even a side dish by itself. Quinoa is also a healthy alternative for anyone with any sort of dietary restrictions, from diabetes to a gluten allergy. 

Brown rice

Brown rice has lately reached that superfood level thanks to all the nutrients contained in its thin layers of wholesome bran. What in essence is just the unrefined version of white rice, has proved to be a lot better due to its high levels of protein, vitamins, and manganese

If you want to start incorporating more brown rice into your diet, it can perfectly replace white rice in your dishes. Even though it takes longer to cook, has a slightly more firm texture, and a stronger flavor —almost nutty— it works as a healthier alternative to the popular grain. Personally, I prefer combining it with beans, avocado, salmon or even with some tomatoes and lettuce to try to make a different kind of salad

Is one of them actually better than the other?

Yes. When it comes to the battle of quinoa vs brown rice, there is a winner. For the sake of the argument, let's say we are comparing a cup of cooked quinoa and a cup of brown rice, so they can be equally measured against each other.

Let's start with a calorie count. Regarding calories, they are pretty much equal. A cup of brown rice has 216 calories, while quinoa has 222 calories. However, they do differ significantly when it comes to their fat content. Quinoa actually has double the fat content of brown rice. So, even though it might seem at first that brown rice is a healthier option, it really might just be one for someone who has to watch his/her cholesterol level.

Even though quinoa's fat grams might discourage you to try it, quinoa is unbelievably more nutritional and truly worthy of being called a superfood. When it comes to the amount of proteins, fiber, calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphorous, zinc, and potassium, quinoa is the clear winner. So basically, if you decide to go for those little 3.6 fat grams, you can enjoy a healthy, gluten-free, and nutritious meal.