I am not a rice person since young. When I was young, my family’s only option was regular white rice, which I disliked. I ate very little white rice and most of the time, was coerced to eat. I wasn’t a food lover except for junk food when I was a kid. This explains why I was as thin as stick before puberty. However, I have a certain preference for black rice and black glutinous rice. I like the nutty taste, texture and color of black rice and black glutinous rice (black sweet rice). It is chewy and very aromatic compared to white rice.
According to an article in Daily Mail Online UK, Black rice – revered in ancient China but overlooked in the West – could be one of the greatest ‘superfoods’, scientists revealed today.
The cereal is low in sugar but packed with healthy fibre and plant compounds that combat heart disease and cancer, say experts.
Scientists from Louisiana State University analysed samples of bran from black rice grown in the southern U.S. They found boosted levels of water-soluble anthocyanin antioxidants.
Anthocyanins provide the dark colours of many fruits and vegetables, such as blueberries and red peppers. They are what makes black rice ‘black’.
Research suggests that the dark plant antioxidants, which mop up harmful molecules, can help protect arteries and prevent the DNA damage that leads to cancer.
Just a spoonful of black rice bran contains more health promoting anthocyanin antioxidants than are found in a spoonful of blueberries, but with less sugar and more fiber and vitamin E antioxidants.
According to a study in the “Annual Review of Food Science and Technology” in 2010, anthocyanins have anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic effects. In the animal and human studies conducted, anthocyanins were also shown to help prevent heart disease, control obesity and alleviate the symptoms of diabetes.
While whole grain brown rice and red rice also contain beneficial antioxidants, only black rice contains anthocyanin. Additionally, black rice also contains important antioxidant Vitamin E, which is useful in maintaining eye, skin, and immune health in addition to other important functions.
A one-half cup serving of cooked black rice, or about ¼ cup uncooked, contains approximately (in daily recommended values):
- 160 calories
- 1.5 grams of fat
- 34 grams of carbohydrates
- 2 grams of fiber
- 5 grams of protein
- 4% DV for iron
Health Benefits Of Black Rice
According to MyFitnessPal, a 1-cup serving of cooked glutinous black rice has 6 percent of your daily value of iron. Iron is considered an essential mineral since your body needs it to make blood cells. Used to make a number of proteins — including hemoglobin and myoglobin, which carry oxygen through your bloodstream — iron is stored in your bone marrow, liver, muscles and spleen. Women over the age of 50 and adult men require 8 milligrams of iron per day, while adult women 50 and under need 18 milligrams daily. Pregnant women and breast-feeding women need 27 and 9 milligrams of iron, respectively.
Can Help Detoxify the Body
Studies have demonstrated that consuming black rice can help to detox the body and cleanse the liver of harmful toxic build-up thanks to the rice’s high antioxidant content.
Good Source of Fiber Which Improves Digestive Health
Black rice and other whole grain rice varieties- like wild, red, or brown rices- have a similar amount of fiber, with about 2-3 grams per half cup serving. The fiber in black rice helps to prevent constipation, bloating, and other unwanted digestive symptoms. Fiber binds to waste and toxins within the digestive tract, helping to pull them out and to contribute to regular bowel function.
Helps Slow Down Absorption of Sugar in the Blood, Helping to Prevent Diabetes
Compared to eating processed carbohydrates which are stripped of their fiber, antioxidants, and other nutrients that help to slow down the absorption of sugar in the blood stream, black rice is a much healthier option.
Black rice contains the entire bran of the grain where the fiber is stored, and fiber is able to help glucose (sugar) from the grain to be absorbed by the body over a longer period of time.
Black Rice And Cancer
Today black rice is considered to be an important food in fighting cancer. Studies indicate that the dark plant compounds contained in black rice help to protect the arteries and restrict DNA damage. This helps in preventing various types of cancer. However in order to be most effective, black rice should be part of an overall healthy and balanced diet along with a healthy lifestyle.
Interesting History of Forbidden Rice
Black rice is commonly referred to as “forbidden rice” because of its long and interesting history. In China, black rice has been known for being good for the kidneys, stomach and liver since ancient times.
Thousands of years ago in ancient China, noble Chinese men took possession of every grain of the black forbidden rice, banning its consumption among anyone who was not royalty or very wealthy.
The Chinese emperors so treasured this rice that it was decreed a grain meant to be consumed only by royalty. And this led to the rice being known as the “forbidden rice”.
The crop was only grown in very limited quantities, closely monitored, and reserved for only the highest elite class. The common Chinese people were not allowed to grow or consume this black forbidden rice, which led to its unique name that it still carries with it today.
Black rice was actually only first introduced to the United States in the 1990’s, although it’s been enjoyed in other parts of the world for many more years. Today it is no longer forbidden, but still is grown in relatively small amounts especially compared to other types of widely available rice varieties.
Concerns With Black Rice
Even though black rice does contain more fiber and antioxidants than refined grains or carbohydrate foods, all grains still have the ability to effect blood sugar levels, so keeping an eye on portion sizes of all grains is always a good idea.
It also helps to consume grains like black rice with a source of healthy fat and some protein. This further delays the time it takes the carbohydrate’s sugars to impact blood glucose levels.
Ancient, whole grains like black rice can play a healthy part in someone’s diet, as long as they are mindful of how much they consume and also make sure to get plenty of filling protein and healthy fats from other food sources that are better suppliers of these important macro-nutrients.