Today I would like to point out the benefits of probably one of the most nutrient-dense foods that can be obtained: Black rice.
I am sure you know that rice is a base food source in Asia. When China was ruled by an emperor, black rice was cultivated in small amounts. Only the emperor was allowed to eat this type of rice, also called “Forbidden Rice”.
There is no such ban anymore nowadays but still, black rice is not produced in high amounts and unknown to many people.
This type of rice that is richest in powerful disease-fighting antioxidants, contains dietary fiber, anti-inflammatory properties, and has the ability to help stop the development of diabetes, cancer, heart disease and even weight gain.
I had explained in last week’s post on berries the effects of the Flavonoid Anthocyanin. In fact, the nutritious benefits of black rice is very similar to berries. The bran of the rice contains Anthocyanin in very high amounts, giving this rice type its color.
In fact, black rice contains more antioxidants than any other grain, including brown rice, red rice, red quinoa.
As I had explained in the last post, Anthocyanin helps bind free radicals that would otherwise damage the DNA in our cells and lead to mutations. This leads to the development of cancer, death of brain cells (neurons) and inflammation, for example arthritis. Thus, black rice helps to prevent Cancer, Inflammation and improves brain function.
As the outer layer of grains contain this antioxidant, it is crucial to eat the whole grain version, instead of white rice. Whole grain brown rice and red rice have many antioxidants as well, but black rice is the only one containing Anthocyanin.
Lastly, black rice contains Vitamin E, which is an antioxidant as well. Again, it binds free radicals and it helps to improve especially Eye Health, Skin and Immune Health.
Studies have shown that black rice reduces the development of atherosclerotic plaque formation in the arteries. This is very important to enhance blood flow and reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
Furthermore, Anthocyanin helps to maintain healthy Cholesterol levels (increase of HDL) and reduces LDL (the bad kind of cholesterol), as well as total amount of triglycerides in the blood system.
Prevents Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s
Just like berries, black rice has a detoxing effect on the body. It binds end-products of metabolic pathways. Otherwise, those toxic products could accumulate in our brain, which has been shown to be the cause of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.
Cleans your Liver
The cleansing effect of toxic end-products helps to detox your Liver as well. There is no need to go on crazy lemon water diets to detox your body. In a recent animal study, results showed that rats being fed black rice experienced less oxidative stress (equivalent to free-radical damage to our cells), contained more antioxidants in their blood and had reduced built-up of plaques in their arteries, than rats being fed white rice.
Source of Fiber
Black rice and other whole grain types contain large amounts of fiber. This helps to fill your stomach more quickly, improves digestive functions and decreases hunger.
In half a cup of black rice you can find 2-3 grams of fiber. This prevents constipation, bloating and fiber binds toxic end-products in your intestines as well. Also, it decreases food cravings and will make you feel less deprived and hungry if you want to lose weight.
Studies have found that a diet high in dietary fiber from whole grain rice varieties is protective against obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and digestive disorders like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Black rice naturally does not contain gluten. This is not only beneficial to people with Celiac Disease but also for anyone with IBS or a sensitive digestive system.
Our bodies do not contain the proper enzymes to digest Gluten, thus many people are gluten-sensitive, without even knowing it. If you are experiencing digestive problems after eating something with gluten in it, like bloating, constipation, diarrhea, try to include more black rice in your diet.
Reduces risk of Diabetes
According to new studies, eating whole grain carbohydrates reduces the risk of developing type 2 Diabetes very efficiently. Many people with risk of Diabetes think they need to cut out all carbohydrates. In fact, to prevent Diabetes, it is crucial to keep Insulin and blood Glucose levels stable. Thus, you can eat complex carbohydrates like black rice, as they do not induce such a high spike of Insulin like white bread or rice do.
The additional fiber in whole grains, especially in black rice, slows down absorption. This is another reason of the reduced release of Insulin when consuming this type of carbohydrates.
Black rice compared to other rice types
Polished white rice – contains 6.8 protein, 1.2 iron, 0.5 zinc and 0.6 fiber.
Brown rice – contains 7.9 protein, 2.2 iron, 0.5 zinc and 2.8 fiber
Purple rice – 8.3 protein, 3.9 iron, 2.2 zinc and 1.4 fiber.
Red rice – 7.0 protein, 5.5 iron, 3.3 zinc and 2.0 fiber.
Black rice – 8.5 protein, 3.5 iron, zero zinc and 4.9 fiber.
One serving of black rice, about half a cup, contains only 160 calories.
- 160 calories
- 1.5 grams of fat
- 34 grams of carbohydrates
- 2 grams of fiber
- 5 grams of protein
- 4% DV for iron
Tips for Cooking Black Rice
Black rice is unrefined and denser than white rice, thus it takes longer to cook.
Let it soak for at least one hour before cooking it, preferably for several hours. Before soaking the rice, make sure to rinse it. I put my rice into hot water the night before and then cook it in the morning.
However, you should not rinse the rice again! The water contains many antioxidants being released out of the bran of black rice. Thus, I rinse my rice before I let them soak.
Do not cook the rice on high heat. It should boil for at least half an hour on medium heat. Then, turn off the heat and let it stand for one more hour. The rice should be chewy and cooked through. If that is not the case, you need to cook it a little bit longer.
It takes a while to get it right but once you have tasted this type of rice, you will not want to eat the others anymore!
Have you tried Black rice before?
I hope you enjoyed today’s article.
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Wish you all a wonderful day!