Here’s the scoop on wild rice

Facts and heritage about wild rice.

Mnoomin is the Anishinaabe (Ojibwe, Odawa, and Potawatomi language) word for Wild Rice (Zizania palustris). Mnoomin translates to “good berry.” Wild Rice has been harvested by the Anishinaabe and other Great Lakes Native American tribes from shallow lakes in the Great Lakes Basin and surrounding watersheds for thousands of years. Wild rice is still harvested by Native Americans and first nations (Indigenous from Canada) in the traditional way where individuals use “knockers,” to gently brush mature rice grains into canoes or boats. The entire process of harvesting and processing the grain through Native American traditional practices is done by hand and is very labor intensive. This traditional practice contributes greatly to ones physical activity. Rice that falls to the lake beds will grow for the next season. This grain continues to be a staple in the diets of many Native Americans, first nations, and even non-native Americans.

Naturally grown wild rice is a nutrient dense food choice. This grain falls into the grain group of the MyPlate and can count towards half of your grain choices being whole grain. To summarize and make sense of these numerical values with regards to the nutritional value, wild rice is a good source of carbohydrates, fiber and polyunsaturated fats. Wild rice is also a good source of thiamin, niacin, folate, vitamin E, vitamin K, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and zinc. This whole grain is also low in saturated fats and sodium. Also, it contains no cholesterol and no caffeine. With a low energy provision (101kcal/100g) and sufficient amounts of essential nutrients, wild rice can also be considered a nutrient dense food. It can then be inferred that wild rice is a food that contains more nutrients per kilocalorie compared to short grain white rice, which is high in energy and low in fiber, essential vitamins, and minerals. It has been proven scientifically that nutrient dense foods help to manage weight and decrease the risk of diet related chronic diseases. Now that we have the scoop on wild rice we can build upon this knowledge and encourage you to consider eating more wild rice because it is a whole grain nutrient dense food.

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