If you’ve ever eaten black rice, you can appreciate its crunchy, slightly sweet taste, chewy texture and exotic black color. However, black rice is considered more than delicious, due to the multiple health benefits of black rice, it is a “superfood”. It first originated in China and then spread to other parts of Asia about 10,000 years ago.
Traditionally, black rice was used in Chinese medicine and was reserved for the aristocracy. Earlier, it was intended for Chinese emperors to ensure their longevity and was forbidden to others. This is how they were known as Emperor Rice or Forbidden Rice.
Low yield compared to other rice makes it rare. It consists of more than 20 types of rice that contain a high amount of the pigment, anthocyanins. This pigment is responsible for the dark color and is also found in eggplant and blueberries. When cooked or soaked, the grains turn purple.
Most varieties of back rice have a nutty flavor except for Chinese black rice, which is slightly fruity and sweet. The texture of black rice is chewy, it is often used to prepare porridge, cakes and desserts. Best of all, black rice benefits people with gluten intolerance and celiac disease because it is naturally gluten-free.
Nutritional benefits of black rice
Compared to other types of rice, black rice is one of the highest in protein. Per 3.5 ounces (100 grams) black rice contains 9 grams of protein, compared to 7 grams for brown rice. It’s also a good source of iron – a mineral essential for carrying oxygen throughout the body.
1/4 cup (45 grams) of uncooked black rice provides:
- Calories: 160
- Fat: 1.5 grams
- protein: 4 grams
- Carbohydrates: 34 grams
- the basic: 1 gram
- iron: 6% of the daily value
The health benefits of black rice
Black rice is full of antioxidants especially anthocyanins which is great for diabetics and heart patients and helps with brain activity. It is also great for skin and hair due to its Vitamin E content. Rich in fiber that helps avoid high blood sugar levels. Rich in iron and a good source of iron for vegetarians.
Rich source of antioxidants: When it comes to antioxidant content, there is no other ingredient that comes close to black rice. The bran (outer layer) of black rice grains contains the highest levels of anthocyanins found in any food. In fact, it has the highest anthocyanin content of all other whole grains such as brown rice, red rice, and red quinoa. These anthocyanins have been found to fight free radical damage, prevent cardiovascular disease, and treat bacterial infections and diarrhea.
Helps fight cancer: The anthocyanin content of black rice imparts an anti-cancer property. A pilot study conducted by the Third Military University of China found that anthocyanin-rich black rice extract successfully suppressed tumor growth and proliferation of breast cancer cells in mice.
Reduces inflammation: Researchers at Ajou University in Korea have found that black rice works wonders in reducing inflammation. The study found that black rice extract helped reduce edema and significantly suppress allergic contact dermatitis on the skin of mice. This is a great indication of the ability of black rice to treat diseases associated with chronic inflammation
Helps lose weight: Black rice has essential properties for weight control and weight loss – it is low in calories, low in carbohydrates and rich in dietary fibre. Thus, it makes you feel full and keeps you away from hunger pangs. In fact, a study conducted in Korea tested the difference in weight loss caused by white rice and a mixture of brown rice and black rice in 40 obese women in 6 weeks. At the end of the study, they found that the brown/black rice group showed significantly lower weight and lower body mass index (BMI) and body fat percentage compared to the white rice group. This just goes to show that both brown and black rice can work very well in treating diet especially for obese women.
Helps prevent diabetesWhole-grain black rice contains intact bran, which is a storehouse of dietary fibre. Since fiber takes longer to digest, it ensures that the sugar in the cereal is absorbed for a longer time, maintaining normal blood sugar levels. Thus, it helps prevent insulin levels from rising and can help prevent type 2 diabetes. In fact, in a study in rats, Thai germinated black rice extract performed similar to the diabetes drug metformin, and it prevented and managed the consequences of diabetes mellitus. diabetes mellitus;
High in fiberBlack rice contains about 1-3 grams of fiber per ½ cup. This rich fiber content helps regulate bowel movement and prevent constipation, diarrhea and bloating. Fiber helps bind toxins and waste products within the digestive tract, expelling them completely from the system when the digestion cycle is complete. Fiber also gives your body a feeling of fullness after eating it which prevents you from eating other fatty foods, which helps in weight loss.
Works as a detoxifierThe phytonutrients present in black rice help cleanse the body of disease-causing toxins (caused by free radicals). Black rice helps the liver (one of the body’s most important detoxifiers) to get rid of unwanted substances through its antioxidant activity.
Improves heart health: Eating black rice may have a positive effect on healthy cholesterol levels, too. The anthocyanin phytochemicals found in black rice reduce low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, also known as bad cholesterol, a common contributor to cardiovascular disease. It also lowers total cholesterol levels. Black rice has been shown to effectively reduce atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) as well.
Black rice is a nutritious, delicious, and gluten-free alternative to other types of whole grains. The fiber, protein, iron and high levels of antioxidants make it a smart choice to incorporate into both specials and daily meals.