Although rare, black rice is known as the healing food which used to be reserved only for the ancient Chinese emperors and royalty, while being forbidden for the poor. Today, this so called “forbidden rice” is available for everyone, but it’s produced in considerably less amounts than brown and white rice.
Nutritionally Superior to Black and Brown Rice
Black rice is the most nutritious type of rice, being high in fiber, iron, copper, proteins, and 6 times the amount of antioxidants in the other types of rice. It’s gluten-free, and prevents many diseases.
In fact, white rice causes quick rise and fall of blood sugar, leaving the person irritated, hungry, and tired. Brown sugar is a better option, but it still can’t beat the nutritional value of the black one.
Black rice contains more protein, and less carbs and calories than both, brown and white rice.
1. Rich Source of Antioxidants
As we mentioned, this food contains 6 times the amount of antioxidants found in both brown and white rice. Moreover, it even rivals the number one food rich in antioxidants, blueberries.
In 2010, the American Chemical Society presented a study which showed that the amount of anthocyanins in a spoonful of black rice bran, equals with the amount in a spoonful of fresh blueberries.
It contains more fiber, and less sugar than blueberries, as well as higher amount of vitamin E, which protects the eye cells from free radical damage, cataract, and other vision problems. Therefore it’s extremely beneficial for the vision.
2. Fights Inflammation
The South Korean researchers from the University of Suwon tested the effectiveness of both, black and brown rice bran against skin inflammation on animals. The results showed that only the black rice bran managed to suppress the inflammation, which made the researches think that it can be a useful therapeutic agent in the prevention and treatment of conditions related to chronic inflammation.
The Journal of International Immunopharmacology has published a study which discovered that C3G, the main constituent of black rice, is extremely effective at suppressing body inflammation, and should be added in the conventional treatment of chronic inflammation.
3. Weight Management
The Department of Food and Nutrition at the University of Hanyang in South Korea has conducted a 6-week study in 2008, involving 40 overweight older women.
The participants were divided into 2 groups, one of which was given white rice meals, and the other the exact meals but instead of white rice, a combination of brown and black. The participants from both groups showed reduction in BMI, weight, and body fat, but the group which consumed black and brown rice showed greater reductions in these 3 areas. However, more studies are needed to prove the black rice effectiveness in terms of weight loss, although the rich fiber content keep us fuller for longer time, preventing cravings and hunger.
4. Heart Health
The Journal of Nutrition has published a study according to which this type of rice reduces the atherosclerotic plaque in arteries. The arteries will harden and block if this plaque accumulates on their inner walls.
One research conducted on rabbits showed that the group which received black or red rice had 50% lower amount of plaque than the one which was given white rice. According to researchers, black rice can decrease atherosclerosis thanks to the antioxidants it contains.
5. Liver Health
The Nutrition & Metabolism journal has published a 2012 study which investigated the effects of black rice extract on mice with NAFLD (non-alcoholic fatty liver disease).
The first group was given a high fat diet, the second a normal fat diet, and the third a high fat diet supplemented with black rice extract in a period of 7 weeks. The results showed that the mice from the third group (those who consumed black rice), had improved levels of blood lipid, and drastically lower cholesterol and triglycerides levels than those from the other two groups. These results made researchers think that black rice can help prevent fatty liver disease.
Another study was conducted by the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences which analyzed the effects of black rice extract rich in anthocyanins on rats with chronic alcohol-induced liver damage.
6. Cognitive Function
The anthocyanin antioxidants are associated with the brain function. Since oxidative stress causes impairment in the memory, it’s logical that antioxidants will counteract this.
According to one study which involved 16,000 patients, consuming foods high in anthocyanins can postpone mental aging up to 2 ½ years, and another one in 2009 conducted on rats showed that it can improve the memory and learning abilities. This 6-year study showed that even greater amounts of anthocyanins and other flavonoids are linked to even slower decline of the cognitive functions.
7. Anti-Cancer Effects
A study published by the Journal Chemico-Biological Interactions showed that anthocyanins extracted from black rice drastically inhibit the spread of specific cancer cells.
Another 2014 study, suggested that anthocyanins from black rice are able to stop tumor metastasis in breast cancer cells. Their ability to kill breast cancer cells is shown by many other studies, although this doesn’t mean that black rice is a cure for breast cancer.
8. Black Rice Facial Mask
Due to its rich content, you can even use black rice to prepare a facial mask.
Boil half a cup of black rice in 2 cups of water for about 10 minutes. Let it cool, and strain it. Soak paper towels in the strained water and place them on your face. Let them stay for half an hour, and then rinse your ace with fresh water.
Comparison with Other Types of Rice
As you can see, black rice has exceptional content which can help in the prevention and treatment of various health conditions and diseases. Besides, it has unique nutty flavor which you will probably like.
Here’s a list of its nutritional value compared with that of other types of rice, in hope that you will start using black rice more than the other types.
- Black rice: 9 fiber, 3.5 iron, 8.5 protein, 0 zinc;
- Brown rice: 8 fiber, 2.2 iron, 7.9 protein, 0.5 zinc;
- Polished white rice: 6 fiber, 1.2 iron, 6.8 protein, 0.5 zinc;
- Red rice: 0 fiber, 5.5 iron, 7.0 protein, 3.3 zinc;
- Purple rice: 4 fiber, 3.9 iron, 8.3 protein, 2.2 zinc.