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Couscous vs Wild rice: Which Is Healthier?

This article explains the key similarities and differences between couscous and wild rice, foods from the grains food group. Read on to learn more about the couscous vs wild rice comparison.
Michael Whaley, Health Writer

Written by Michael Whaley, Health Writer. Updated on January 25, 2023.

Couscous and wild rice belong to the grains food group, one of the staple food groups for people on a plant-based diet.

Grains and grain products are an affordable source of carbohydrates, as well as essential vitamins and minerals, including B vitamins (such as thiamin, riboflavin, and niacin), iron, and zinc, minerals that are usually harder to get on a plant-based diet.

They also provide a small amount of protein and healthy fats.

However, it is important to note that whole grains are generally a better source of these nutrients than refined grains.

This article will thoroughly compare couscous and wild rice and help you learn more about their similarities and differences.


Couscous (Couscous) is a type of pasta made from small, round granules of semolina, which is the coarsely ground endosperm of durum wheat.

It is a good source of carbohydrates and small amounts of protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals like iron and B vitamins, depending on the ingredients used in the dish’s preparation.

Couscous is a staple food in North Africa and the Middle East and is traditionally served as a side dish or as a base for stews and salads. It is also gluten-free and easy to digest.

Couscous can be enjoyed in various ways. It can be cooked in different sauces, with herbs and spices, and can also be used in salads and soups. It can also be paired with vegetables and lean protein sources such as legumes and in moderate portions.

Couscous is an excellent source of Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid).

It also contains a good amount of Vitamin B1 (Thiamine), and Vitamin B3 (Niacin) and some Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin), Vitamin B6 (Pyroxidine), and Vitamin B9 (Folate).

Wild rice

Wild rice (Zizania aquatica) is a type of cereal grain that is native to North America, specifically the Great Lakes region and the St. Lawrence River area.

It is a good source of carbohydrates, dietary fibers, and small amounts of vitamins and minerals like zinc, iron, and B vitamins. It is also rich in antioxidants and protein, making it a valuable food for vegetarians and vegans.

Wild rice has a nutty and slightly earthy flavor and is often used as a side dish or as an ingredient in salads, soups, and stuffings. It is also gluten-free and easy to digest, making it a great option for people with gluten sensitivities or celiac disease.

Wild rice is considered a functional food, as it has been shown to positively impact health when consumed regularly as part of a balanced diet. It is also considered a sustainable crop, as it can be grown in various habitats, including shallow water, and doesn’t require chemical fertilizers or pesticides.

Wild rice is an excellent source of Vitamin B3 (Niacin).

It also contains a good amount of Vitamin B1 (Thiamine), Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin), Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid), Vitamin B6 (Pyroxidine), and Vitamin B9 (Folate) and some Vitamin E.

Couscous vs Wild rice Nutrition

Now that we’ve described the origin, taste, and usage of these foods, we can move to the most interesting part – comparing couscous vs wild rice.

This comparison will start by comparing the caloric value of couscous and wild rice and their macronutrients and then go more in-depth by analyzing their vitamin and mineral content.

CouscousWild rice
Energy376 kcal357 kcal
Carbs77.4 g74.9 g
Sugar0 g2.5 g
Fiber5 g6.2 g
Protein12.8 g14.7 g
Fat0.64 g1.08 g
Saturated Fat0.117 g0.156 g

Couscous vs Wild rice Calories

Most calories in grains come from carbs.

Comparing wild rice vs couscous for weight loss, wild rice is slightly lower in calories, with 357 calories per 100 grams, compared to 376 calories per 100 grams of couscous.

However, both couscous and wild rice can and should be a part of a healthy diet, and neither one shouldn’t be avoided if you’re looking to lose weight.

Couscous vs Wild rice Protein

Grains and most grain products, including couscous and wild rice, are important sources of plant-based protein.

However, it should be noted that most grains, with the exception of quinoa and buckwheat, for example, are low in lysine and methionine.

That said, you can combine grains with legumes to get a complete protein.

Wild rice offers around 13% more protein than couscous.

Wild rice has 14.7 grams of protein per 100 grams, while couscous has 12.8 grams of protein per 100 grams.

Couscous vs Wild rice Carbs

Counting carbs can be important for some people for different reasons, including blood sugar control, weight management, or athletic performance.

It’s also important for people on a keto diet, so let’s compare the carbs content in couscous and wild rice.

The total amount of carbohydrates is around 3% higher in couscous than in wild rice. It has 77.4 grams per 100 grams, compared to 74.9 grams in wild rice.

There’s less sugar in couscous than in wild rice, 100% precisely.

That said, 100 grams of couscous contains 0 grams of sugar, while the same amount of wild rice contains 2.5 grams.

Lastly, let’s take a look at the dietary fiber in couscous and wild rice.

Dietary fiber keeps the digestive system healthy and helps with weight management by promoting a sense of fullness.

With 6.2 grams of fiber per 100 grams, wild rice is a better source of fiber than couscous which offers 5 grams per 100 gram portion.

Couscous vs Wild rice Fats

Like most other grains, couscous and wild rice are low in fat.

Fats in couscous and wild rice are mostly healthy unsaturated fats. They are naturally cholesterol-free and trans-fat-free.

Total fat in couscous and wild rice:

  • Couscous: 0.6 grams per 100 grams
  • Wild rice: 1.1 per 100 grams

Speaking of saturated fats, couscous is 50% lower in saturated fats.

Couscous and wild rice contain 0.1 grams and 0.2 grams of saturated fat per 100 grams, respectively.

Couscous vs Wild rice Vitamins Content

This section will discuss the vitamin content of couscous and wild rice.

Vitamins are micronutrients, meaning we need only a small amount. However, they are very important for many processes in our bodies.

Couscous has a higher amount of vitamin A, vitamin B2 (Riboflavin), vitamin B3 (Niacin), vitamin B6 (Pyroxidine), vitamin B9 (Folate), vitamin E, and vitamin K.

However, wild rice has a higher amount of vitamin B1 (Thiamine), and vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid).

Couscous and wild rice contain the same amount of vitamin C, vitamin D, and vitamin B12 (Cobalamin).

The following table shows the exact amount of vitamins couscous and wild rice contain side by side, so you can easily compare them.

CouscousWild rice
Vitamin A019 IU
Vitamin C00
Vitamin D00
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)0.163 mg0.115 mg
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)0.078 mg0.262 mg
Vitamin B3 (Niacin)3.49 mg6.73 mg
Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid)1.24 mg1.07 mg
Vitamin B6 (Pyroxidine)0.11 mg0.391 mg
Vitamin B9 (Folate)20 µg95 µg
Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)00
Vitamin E00.82 mg
Vitamin K01.9 µg

Couscous vs Wild rice Minerals Content

Minerals are important for our body to function properly. We need only a small amount of minerals, so they are called micronutrients.

Some minerals, like iron, calcium, zinc, or iodine, are relatively hard to get on a plant-based diet, so it’s important to choose your foods thoughtfully. This part of the couscous and wild rice comparison focuses on their mineral content.

Couscous is a better source of copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, and zinc than wild rice.

On the other hand, wild rice is a higher amount of calcium, and sodium.

Couscous and wild rice contain the same amount of fluoride, and selenium.

Check out the table below to learn how couscous and wild rice compare when it comes to mineral content.

CouscousWild rice
Calcium24 mg21 mg
Copper0.247 mg0.524 mg
Iron1.08 mg1.96 mg
Magnesium44 mg177 mg
Manganese0.78 mg1.33 mg
Phosphorus170 mg433 mg
Potassium166 mg427 mg
Selenium2.8 µg2.8 µg
Sodium10 mg7 mg
Zinc0.83 mg5.96 mg

The Final Word

This article highlighted the similarities and differences between couscous and wild rice.

Grains, also known as cereal grains, are an important source of nutrition for many people around the world. They are a rich source of carbohydrates, which provide energy for the body.

Whole grains contain important vitamins and minerals, such as B vitamins and iron. Whole grains, in particular, are high in dietary fiber and can help with digestion and weight management.

They may also have other health benefits, such as reducing the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and certain types of cancer.

Grains are also a staple food and an important source of food security in many parts of the world.


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