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Short Answer:

No, wild rice is not Paleo!
is wild rice paleo

What is Wild Rice?

Wild rice is not rice at all. It is a grain producing grass and is native to North America. Like rice, it grows in the water particularly shallow water in small lakes.  It has a slender elongated shape and the color may vary from medium brown to pure black. It has a nutty taste and chewy outer texture and tender inner grain and like brown rice, it has the outer sheath included. Aside from its use as food, wild rice is also grown as ornamental plant in garden ponds.

Is Wild Rice Healthy?

Wild rice is high in fiber and protein -containing essential amino acids and other nutrients such as B vitamins niacin, riboflavin, thiamine, phosphorus and potassium and low in fat.  Compared to brown rice, the protein content of wild rice is higher and the glycemic index is lower. Wild rice is also known to be gluten-free. Some studies show that wild rice might have health and weight loss benefits.

Healthy as it may seem, wild rice too has its own downside.  Aside from being carbohydrates and starch, wild rice can still have an effect to the insulin levels though it tends to have lower glycemic index.  Again, blood sugar levels may vary from different factors.

Much like brown rice, wild rice also contains high concentrations of anti-nutrients such as phytates and lectins that inhibit mineral absorption and wreaks havoc to the digestive system. These anti-nutrients can also make the nutrients less bio available to the body.

Studies also show that the wild rice seeds can be infected by highly toxic fungus called ergot that grows on rye and other grains. Infected wild rice when consumed can be dangerous to human and can cause spasms, diarrhea, vomiting and other mental effects.

Take Away…

Though wild rice may offer nutritional benefits more than white and brown rice, it also contains high levels of anti-nutrients that can block mineral absorption and can be harmful to the body.

If you are someone who cannot eat without rice, wild rice can be considered a “less bad” rice option.  You may try to rinse, soak or ferment wild rice to remove toxins. But, remember that wild rice is still not Paleo.  Eat at your own risk.

What Experts Say About Wild Rice… Is It Paleo?

“Wild rice is pretty high in nutrient content, but, as with brown rice, the anti-nutrients are present and the minerals are mostly bound by phytate”. – Mark Sisson

All you ever wanted to know about Wild Rice and Paleo

Mark’s  Daily Apple. How Bad is Rie, Really?

Paleo Leap. Less Bad but Not Good: Pseudograins and Non-Gluten Grains

The Paleo List. Is Wild Rice Paleo?

Wise Geek. What is Wild Rice?

Peterson, Lee, A Field Guide to Edible Wild Plants of Eastern and Central North America, p. 228, Houghton Mifflin Company, New York City, accessed 2010-09-06

Other Names of Wild Rice

Canada rice, Indian rice, water oats, manoomin

Did we miss anything?

Comment below and let us know what you think. Do you agree with our conclusion?

photo credit: wild rice risotto