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Is Yellow Rice Healthy? Nutrition, Calories, Carbs

Is Yellow Rice Healthy? Nutrition, Calories, Carbs

Written by Edibel Quintero, RD | Fact checked by Fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD check
Last update: March 22, 2023
7 min

One of the most important food crops in the world is rice. While brown and white rice is quite common in the United States, yellow rice may be less recognizable. Read on to learn more about yellow rice and its benefits.

is yellow rice healthy

Yellow rice is not a natural kind of rice. It is basically white rice that has been spiced with saffron or turmeric, both of which are crucial ingredients in Asian cuisine.

Turmeric and saffron add a bright yellow color to this rice. While there are many different ways to prepare yellow rice, onions and coconut milk are commonly added.

Brown rice is the source of both white and yellow rice. It is a whole grain that includes both the bran and the germ. These provide fiber as well as a variety of vitamins and minerals.

White rice is a refined grain that has had these parts removed, resulting in a softer and faster-cooking grain.

Is Yellow Rice Healthy?

Yellow rice is healthy as it is rich in several vitamins and minerals.

White rice is often used to prepare yellow rice. White rice lacks many vitamins and minerals as it is highly processed. White rice has a GI of 64. This means that its carbs are converted into blood sugar faster, and consumption of white rice can increase the risk of type 2 diabetes.

However, white rice can be consumed in moderation.

Go for yellow rice that is made from brown rice as it contains more nutrients than white rice.

In comparison to cooked white rice, which has 242 calories per cup, cooked brown rice has 218 calories per cup and 3.5g of fiber.

5 Benefits of Yellow Rice

Yellow rice offers a variety of benefits due to the addition of turmeric or saffron.

Turmeric has significant health advantages for both your body and brain. Many of these benefits are due to its major active component, curcumin.

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Saffron, on the other hand, has a remarkable range of plant components. These act as antioxidants, which are substances that protect your cells from the harmful effects of oxidative stress and free radicals.

Here are a few benefits of eating yellow rice:

#1 Rich in folate and iron

Yellow rice has many benefits when it is prepared from enriched white rice. Enriched white rice is high in folate and iron.

The body needs the nutrient folate, often known as vitamin B9 or folic acid. Folate is crucial for your body’s fundamental cell processes. Including adequate folate in your diet may lower your risk of developing specific cancers.

The recommended daily amount (RDA) of folate is 400mcg per day. And adult women who are planning a pregnancy or could become pregnant should take 400 to 1,000mcg of folic acid daily.

Iron helps in the maintenance of numerous critical functions within the body, including overall energy and focus, gastrointestinal processes, immune response, and body temperature regulation.

#2 Helps in maintaining the nervous system

The activation of nerve impulses throughout your neurological system depends on potassium. The heartbeat, reflexes, muscular contractions, and many other functions are all controlled by nerve impulses. 

The risk of stroke was observed to be 24% lower in those who consumed the most potassium compared to those who consumed the least.

There is nearly 801mg of potassium present in a 100g serving of yellow rice.

Because lack of potassium is uncommon, there is no RDA (required daily allowance) for this mineral. For adults, however, it is suggested that 1,600 to 2,000mg per day is sufficient.

#3 Supports muscles, bones, and nerves

Yellow rice has 112mg of magnesium per 100g serving, which might help you meet the 420mg daily allowance.

Magnesium, a structural component of bones, is important for normal nerve conduction and muscle contraction as well as for hundreds of enzyme activities that help create DNA and proteins.

Your body becomes more insulin resistant when you don’t have enough magnesium. Magnesium deficiency has been associated with several chronic cardiovascular diseases, including hypertension, diabetes, and hyperlipidemia.

#4 Helps in preventing Alzheimer’s disease

Turmeric is added to white rice to give the yellow rice a bright yellow color. Numerous studies have shown that turmeric offers important health benefits for both your body and brain.

Many of these advantages are due to a compound called curcumin.

While some of its symptoms can be treated, there is still no cure for Alzheimer’s. It’s crucial to stop it from happening in the first place because of this.

Curcumin has advantageous effects on both inflammation and oxidative damage, which are known to contribute to Alzheimer’s disease. Turmeric’s anti-inflammatory property also aids in weight loss.

#5 Rich in vitamin B6

There is nearly 0.58mg of vitamin B6 present in a 100g serving of yellow rice.

Yellow rice contains nearly 44% of the required daily amount of vitamin B6. The required daily amount of vitamin B6 for men is 1.4mg; for women, it is 1.2mg.

Several studies have found that depressive symptoms are associated with low vitamin B6 levels, particularly in older adults who are at high risk of B vitamin deficiency.

Vitamin B6 assists chemical reactions in the immune system, allowing it to function more effectively. Consuming vitamin B6-rich foods will help your body fight infection. Low vitamin B6 levels have been linked to a weak immune response involving older adults.

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Yellow Rice vs. White Rice

White rice is made from brown rice. The husk, bran, and germ of brown rice are removed during the milling process. This process extends the shelf life of white rice while removing much of its nutrition, including fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

Yellow rice, on the other hand, is essentially white rice that has been colored with turmeric. Saffron is also sometimes added during the preparation of yellow rice as it gives the same bright yellow color.

White rice and yellow rice are not whole grains because the brown layer, which contains the most nutrients, is removed. They are high in carbohydrates while being low in fat. They are also high in protein, making them an excellent vegetarian source.

Yellow rice has a slightly piquant flavor, and white rice has a nutty flavor.

Yellow rice has more nutritional benefits than white rice. A 100g serving of yellow rice contains 112mg magnesium, 2.53mg iron, 801mg potassium, 38mg calcium, and 112mcg folic acid.

On the other hand, a 100g serving of long grain unenriched raw white rice contains 25mg magnesium, 0.8mg iron, 115mg potassium, 28mg calcium, and 0mcg folic acid.

Due to the spice mix or added salt, yellow rice has a very high sodium content. There is nearly 752mg of sodium present in just 57g of yellow rice. In comparison, white rice contains only 5mg of sodium in it.

Nutritional Facts

The below nutrition information is taken from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) databases for 100g of yellow rice.

Nutritional table (per 100g)

Calories/Nutrient (per 100g)Amount 
Calories (kcal)343
Sodium (mg)1320
Net Carbs (g)74.7
Fiber (g)1.8
Sugar (g)1.75
Fats (Total)1.75
Protein (g)7.02
Cholesterol (mg)0

High in carbohydrates

Yellow rice contains 74.7g of carbohydrates. As the carbohydrate content is very high, yellow rice comes under the high glycemic index (GI) category. If you consume too many carbohydrates, your blood sugar levels may increase.

Low in fats

The fat content in yellow rice is 1.75g. 0.833g is polyunsaturated fat, and 0.43g is monounsaturated fat. Yellow rice doesn’t contain any saturated fat or trans fat in it.

Even though yellow rice has low-fat content, it does not have any saturated or trans fat in it. These two fats are primarily responsible for increasing the LDL “bad” cholesterol in our bodies.

High in calories

Yellow rice has 343 calories present per 100g serving. The majority of the calories come from carbohydrates, which makes it an excellent source of energy.

Minerals and vitamins

Yellow rice is a good source of magnesium, iron, potassium, calcium, folic acid, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, and vitamin B6. However, it is high in sodium and has less amount of vitamin A, vitamin C, and fiber.


Is yellow rice good for people with diabetes?

As yellow rice is high in carbohydrates, it is not good for people with diabetes as consuming too much of this rice can significantly increase the risk of type 2 diabetes.

Is it good to eat yellow rice?

Yellow rice is healthy since it contains nutrients such as calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, and zinc.

But some yellow rice varieties may be rich in sodium, with up to 750mg in a 1-cup cooked serving.

Increased blood pressure is linked to high sodium intake, which raises your risk of heart disease. You can make yellow rice healthier by reducing its added salt content.

Is turmeric rice the same as yellow rice?

Yes, turmeric rice is the same as yellow rice. Turmeric rice is generally prepared in a rice cooker by adding sauteed vegetables, spices, and coconut oil. This yellow rice recipe calls for turmeric, but you can also add saffron instead.

Is yellow rice fattening?

Yellow rice is white rice tinted with turmeric or saffron. But there is no evidence to support the claim that eating white rice alone might cause weight gain. One should pay attention to the amount and caloric content of the rice they eat each day.

How many calories are in a cup of yellow rice?

There are approximately 343 calories present in 100g of yellow rice.

Is yellow basmati rice healthy?

Yes, yellow basmati rice is healthy as B vitamins are abundant in basmati rice, particularly vitamin B1 (thiamine). Each serving contains 22% of the daily recommended consumption. Thiamine is necessary for brain functioning.

A Word From Our Nutritionist

By making a few changes to your recipe, you can make yellow rice healthier, especially for weight loss. Use brown rice instead of white rice to increase fiber and help in weight loss.

White rice is typically avoided, but it can be a better substitute for brown rice in some situations. Women who are pregnant, for example, may benefit from the additional folate found in enriched white rice.

Furthermore, people on a low-fiber diet and adults suffering from nausea or heartburn may find that white rice is easier to digest and does not cause unpleasant symptoms. Brown rice, on the other hand, is still the better choice for the majority of people.

You can also reduce the sodium content of yellow rice by leaving out or reducing the amount of salt added.


Yellow rice is healthier than white rice due to its essential vitamins and minerals. However, due to its high carb and sodium content, yellow rice should be consumed in moderation. 

Switch to yellow rice that is made from brown rice as it is packed with dietary fibers and helps improve your blood sugar levels.

Written by
Edibel Quintero is a medical doctor who graduated in 2013 from the University of Zulia and has been working in her profession since then. She specializes in obesity and nutrition, physical rehabilitation, sports massage and post-operative rehabilitation. Edibel’s goal is to help people live healthier lives by educating them about food, exercise, mental wellness and other lifestyle choices that can improve their quality of life.
The article was checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
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