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Have a Rice Day! Ayurvedic Benefits of Rice

ISSUED // February 21

Have a Rice Day! Ayurvedic Benefits of Rice

Move over, pasta and potatoes. While these starches are mainstays in the American diet, Ayurvedic experts recommend adding whole grains—like basmati rice—to the mix. Nutritious and delicious, rice is a versatile staple in Ayurvedic cooking.

Ayurveda and Rice

For centuries, rice has held a special place in the Ayurvedic diet. North American nutritionists often give high scores to brown rice for its bran and fiber content. But according to the Council of Maharishi Ayurveda Physicians, long-grain white basmati rice is easier on the digestive system and is therefore preferable as a daily staple.

If you’re not a big fan of basmati, here are some reasons why you might like to revisit this versatile grain:

  • It is an excellent complex-carbohydrate food.
  • It is gluten-free.
  • It is low in fat and sodium and free of cholesterol.
  • Last, but not least, basmati rice is delicious!

Ayurvedic Benefits of Basmati Rice

The Council of Maharishi Ayurvedic Physicians state that basmati rice is a sattvic, or pure, food that helps to balance and nourish the whole body. Additionally, basmati rice builds body tissue and is very high in prana, or vital life energy.

Here are a few more of the Ayurvedic benefits of basmati rice:

  • Rice contributes the sweet taste to your daily diet (Ayurveda recommends incorporating foods with the six basic tastes (sweet, sour, salty, bitter, pungent and astringent) into every meal whenever possible.
  • Rice balances Vata and Pitta doshas. Kapha types, however, should avoid eating rice too often, and they should dry-roast it before cooking to reduce the heaviness.
  • Rice can be cooked in an amazing variety of ways. Combined with beans, nuts, vegetables, fruits, and milk—or simply boiled with a dash of ghee—it is wholesome and nutritious.

Ayurvedic Rice Recipes

Here are just a few of our favorite ways to incorporate basmati rice into the daily menu.


  • Kheer (Rice Pudding) is a mainstay at Indian buffets and in Ayurvedic cuisine. Made with basmati rice, whole milk, ghee, and spices like cardamom and cinnamon, it offers a sweet counterpoint to a zesty curry meal.
  • Sweet Rice - This delicious, fortifying rice dish contains foods that are a good source of protein, including mung beans, cashews, and milk. Lightly spiced and sweetened, it’s very balancing for Pitta dosha.


  • Our Basmati Rice with Corn and Coconut Milk Sauce recipe is an excellent alternative to plain rice. Mix things up with this daily staple by adding in some corn niblets, sweet coconut milk, and zesty spices like ginger, mild green chili, and a garnish of cilantro.
  • It’s amazing what a little extra spice can do. Spice up your lunchtime basmati with this vibrant Lemon Basmati Rice recipe. Cashews, curry leaves, and cilantro are a few of the ingredients that make this side dish sing.
  • This colorful Vegetable Rice recipe is an easy way to add veggies to your dinnertime table. Sauté a handful of carrots, beans, peas, and spices with dry rice, then cover and steam. Easy peasy.

Side Dishes

  • Who says you have to simmer rice in the pot? Try it baked with layers of veggies in our Broccoli Rice Casserole dish.
  • Aromatic Basmati Rice incorporates fragrant, digestive spices like cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, and cumin for extra flavor and health benefits.
  • Cranberries, apricots, celery, and pecans make our Basmati Rice Pilaf with Dried Fruit a special side dish that’s great for celebratory meals (think Thanksgiving and December holidays like Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa).
  • Brown Rice can be a nice alternative to basmati rice sometimes, although it can be a bit harder to digest. Our basic brown rice recipe calls for ghee, which has many digestive benefits.
Want to know more about the role of basmati rice in Ayurvedic cooking? Read this article on Rice—A Sweet, Sattvic Ayurvedic Delight.

© 1999, 2024 Maharishi AyurVeda Products International, Inc. (MAPI). All Rights Reserved. MAPI does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. See additional information.

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