Forget Brown Rice! Black Rice Is the New Superfood

Updated on January 2nd, 2020
black rice

You know everything about white rice, brown rice and even wild rice (which is not even rice and belongs to the grass family), but have you ever heard about black rice. No? Don’t feel embarrassed over your little knowledge because most people out in the world are not aware of this rice; even those health fanatics might not have a clue what it is?

But now you have got the opportunity to learn about this fantastic food which is gaining popularity for its healthy nutritional profile and remarkable benefits on your health. Here you get to know everything about black rice or the forbidden rice.

Table of Contents

What is Black Rice?

It is a lesser-known variety of rice belonging to Oryza Sativa L. species. It is an ancient grain and was only consumed by Chinese royalty as such you might not be aware of it. However, with its rising popularity, black rice is now grown everywhere, and you can find it easily. It is a denser and chewier variety of rice and has a nutty flavor. When boiled, its color changes to deep purple, hence people also refer to it as purple rice.

Black Rice Nutrition Facts

Black rice has been recently gaining much popularity owing to the health benefits it provides which are because of its impressive nutrition profile. It is a rich source of antioxidants, fiber, plant-based proteins which makes it great for the healthy functioning of your body. Besides, it is quite low in calories thus you can include it in your diet without any worry.

A cup of cooked black rice provides you with:

Constituent Quantity
Dietary Fiber 3 grams
Proteins 5 grams
Carbohydrates 34 grams
Fat 2 grams
Potassium 268 grams
Sodium 4 grams
Iron 6% of the daily requirement
Sugar 0 grams
Cholesterol 0 mg
Calories 160

How healthy is black rice?

It is an excellent alternative to white rice and has a similar nutritive profile like brown rice. However, it is plumper and does not taste like any of them. It is a good source of plant protein which makes it a healthier option for vegetarians. Besides, it contains a high amount of fiber which makes it excellent for your digestive health.

Also, it is a rich source of flavonoids and has rich anthocyanin content which gives it strong antioxidant properties. It is beneficial in preventing fatal diseases like cancer and promote healthy functioning of various organs including the brain. Also, it is packed with vitamins and minerals that help keep you fit and healthy. So what are you waiting for? Include black rice in your diet now.

Why is black rice called forbidden rice?

Black rice is being cultivated in China for years. In ancient times it was grown in limited quantities and thus was considered a valuable commodity. Owing to its limited availability and abundant health benefits; the grain was consumed only by the royalty, and ordinary people were banned from eating it. Thus, it got the name of the forbidden rice.

Health benefits of Black rice

Health benefits of black rice are many. Every grain of the rice brims with antioxidants that lend it great properties making it wondrous for your health. From treating severe conditions like cancer to maintaining the health of heart and brain, it finds numerous uses. Here are some of the prominent health benefits of Black rice that you must know.

  1. Rich In Antioxidants
  2. Maintains Your Digestive Health
  3. Promotes Heart Health
  4. Can Help Fight Cancer
  5. Aids In Weight Loss
  6. Helps In Preventing Diabetes
  7. Improves Brain Functioning
  8. Gluten-Free
  9. Aids In Detoxification Of The Body
  10. Helps In Regulating Your Blood Pressure

1. Rich in antioxidants that promote physical and mental well-being

One of the prime health benefits of black rice is that it is a rich source of antioxidants. The outer layer of the grain which is the bran contains high levels of anthocyanins (highest among whole grain varieties) that have antioxidant properties.

These anthocyanins are known to give the rice its black color. Also, the antioxidants aid in healthy functioning of the vital organs of your body by eliminating the free radicals. It aids to boost your immunity making you much more capable of fighting diseases and microbial infections. These also reduce the inflammation of the blood vessels and nerves thus improving cardiovascular health and cognitive brain functioning.

2. Maintains your digestive health

Image: ShutterStock

Black rice contains a high amount of dietary fiber which makes it an excellent food for your digestive system. The fiber adds bulk to the food and aids in proper movement of it through the intestines. It helps in proper absorption of the food and prevents constipation by regulating the bowel movement. Thus, it keeps your digestive tract clear of the toxins and waste materials that may lead to various digestive issues.

3. Promotes heart health

The anthocyanins phytochemicals present in black rice help in maintaining balanced cholesterol levels in your body. These reduce bad cholesterol and triacylglycerol concentrations that affect your heart.

Further, these also prevent your heart from cardiovascular disease like atherosclerosis wherein your arteries that get clogged due to the build-up of plaque. It results in several other health conditions like kidney problems, stroke, peripheral heart disease, etc. Thus, by consuming this rice, you quite significantly reduce the chances of atherosclerotic plaque build-up, thus reducing the strain on your heart and keeping it healthy and fit.

4. Can help fight cancer

cure of cancer
Image: Shutterstock

The antioxidant properties of black rice owing to its rich anthocyanin content lend it an anti-cancer character. Thus, consuming it can aid you in preventing the disease and fighting off the damaging cancer cells. Anthocyanins present in it are water-soluble antioxidants which can get easily absorbed in your body and reach all the internal parts compared to fat-soluble antioxidants. Thus these provide better protection against cancer by killing the cells that may lead to the fatal disease.  Besides, studies also say that consuming the rice every day can inhibit tumor growth by preventing multiplication of cells.

5. Aids in weight loss

Weight loss
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The cases of obesity are overgrowing. It may get contributed to unhealthy eating habits. Obesity is a severe condition which makes you vulnerable to many health risks. If you are struggling to lose those extra kilos and get back in shape, then black rice can be of help. It is high in fiber, which takes longer to digest and keeps your stomach full for long thus keeping hunger cravings away. Further, the low amount of calories and carbohydrates make black rice a perfect choice for your weight loss diet.

6. Helps in preventing Diabetes

This type of rice has its bran intact which lends it high fiber content and makes it suitable for avoiding diabetes. The high amount of dietary fiber present in it takes longer to get digested. Thus the sugar present in it gets slowly absorbed in your blood, preventing sudden spikes in blood sugar level. With balanced sugar levels in your blood, the insulin level in your body does not shoot up, thus decreasing the risk of type-2 diabetes.

7. Improves brain functioning

The free radicals accumulated in your body result in oxidative stress which is known to have a critical effect on the cognitive functioning of your brain. It contains anthocyanins that have potent antioxidant properties to reduce the oxidative stress and maintain the healthy cognitive functioning of the brain. Further, these are also known to prevent inflammation in the nerves which can cause mental decline. Thus, black rice plays a vital role in promoting a healthy brain function.

8. Gluten-free

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Many people suffer from gluten sensitivity which occurs in wheat, rye, and barley. It may cause bloating, constipation, diarrhea and may even result in leaky gut syndrome. Hence, people sensitive to gluten have to steer clear from such foods, as such their daily nutrient requirement is not met adequately. Black rice which is entirely gluten-free is a healthier option for such people. It helps in fulfilling their daily protein and fiber requirement and keeping them healthy.

9. Aids in detoxification of the body

Yes, black rice can also help in cleansing your liver and eliminating the toxins accumulated in your body due to the high amount of antioxidants present in it. The antioxidants that it supplies to your body fight off the free radicals and clear the toxin build-up which can damage your liver. Further, the antioxidants also stimulate increased metabolism of fatty acids present in your body. Besides, they also result in low cholesterol and triglyceride levels in your body thus preventing the risk of fatty liver disease and promoting a healthy liver.

10. Helps in regulating your blood pressure

Blood pressure

The high amount of dietary fiber as well as antioxidants present in this rice help in keeping your blood pressure under check. It also prevents inflammation of the blood vessels and keeps them clear of cholesterol build-up, thus promoting smooth blood flow and regulating the blood pressure. Consuming black rice also helps in reducing the lipid levels, improving metabolism, and maintaining healthy body weight, all of which keep your blood pressure under check.

How to cook Black rice?

To enjoy the optimal benefits of black rice, it is necessary that you prepare it properly. Read ahead and follow the steps precisely.

How to cook?

  • Soak the rice in water and leave it overnight. If you do not have that much time, then soak it at least for an hour.
  • Next morning, drain the water and wash the rice thoroughly
  • Add the rice to a pot and pour in two cups of water for every single cup of rice and cover it with a lid.
  • Cook the soaked rice for half an hour. If you haven’t soaked the rice, then you will need to cook it for an hour.
  • Take off the lid, and check the grains to know whether they are adequately cooked or not.
  • If yes, then serve them hot with a curry or vegetable steak.

Black Rice vs. Brown rice vs. White Rice

White rice has its outer bran layer removed which is intact in black and brown rice making them much more nutritious than white rice. Further, these are also high in fiber and are chewier and denser proving to be a hearty meal.

Both black and brown rice is nutritious and healthy, but when you compare them, black rice emerges as the winner. Although they have much similar nutrition profile, black rice contains anthocyanins which give the black rice their dark pigment and potent antioxidant properties. This makes it quite effective in preventing various diseases and promoting overall health. Further, black rice is known to contain more proteins and fiber as compared to brown rice. Also, the calories provided by black rice are comparatively lesser than brown rice.

[Read: Brown Rice vs White Rice]

Black rice is no more forbidden food. It is widely available, and you can include in your diet as a healthier alternative to white rice. It is even better than brown rice. Hence you must give it a try. It not only has a distinct nutty flavor but is rich in nutrients that make it highly beneficial for your health. It is gluten-free, low in calories and regulates your blood sugar as well as blood pressure levels, thus keeping you fit and fine. Add it to your diet now and enjoy improved health.

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