Top 10 Health Benefits of Black Rice / Forbidden Rice

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Black Rice - Why is it Special?

Black or purple rice in the past was considered as 'forbidden rice' and was consumed only by the royality in China. The rice is now more widely cultivated and easily available and is packed with nutrients that includes - iron, vitamin E  and antioxidant.

The Chinese royalty considered that it could improve their longevity and hence it was served as a staple diet in their palace.

Compared to the white rice, black rice or purple rice has  not only higher concentration of nutrients but is also rich in protein and dietary fiber.

100 grams of black rice contains approximately:
  • 4.9 grams of dietary fiber
  • 8.5 grams of protein
  • 3.5 milligrams of iron
Black rice contains two times more dietary fiber and the highest amount of protein among white, brown and red rice.

Black Rice

Health Benefits of Black Rice

Black rice is deep black or purple in color, which indicates the presence of antioxidants in it. Studies have observed that the amount of antioxidants found in black rice far exceeds that which is present in blueberres.

The black rice gets its beautiful color from "anthocyanin", a nourishing pigment present in it. Major antioxidant compounds present in black rice include:
  • Flavonoids
  • Phenolic acid
  • Anthocyanins
  • Proanthocyanins
  • Phytic acid
  • Tocopherol
  • Tocotrienols
Anthocyanin is a dominant compound in the black rice bran, which contributes to its antioxidant activity. A comparative study found that the anthocyanin content of black rice is higher than other grains, which include red quinoa, brown rice, red rice and other whole grains that have a deep color.

Anthocyanin antioxidants protect the cells of the body against free radical damage and reduce oxidative stress.

Antioxidant Properties of Black Rice

The top ten benefits of 'Black Rice' includes -

1. Prevents Diabetes

Black rice exhibits blood glucose-reducing property in individuals with hyperglycemia (excess glucose in the blood stream). It enhances the activity of glucose transporters, that push the glucose into the cells and muscles rather than being present in the blood. This improves insulin sensitivity and helps in the better control of blood glucose levels.

Anthocyanins present in black rice bran inhibit the starch digesting enzymes. This suppresses glucose absorption and prevents spikes in the blood glucose level. Hence, individuals with diabetes mellitus can opt for black rice combined with salad and a good source of protein.

2. Improves Lipid Profile

Black rice has the ability to reduce high cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the blood. The presence of tocopherols and tocotrienols exhibit a protective action on the blood lipid profile. Tocotrienols present in black rice suppress the action of an enzyme involved in the production of cholesterol.

3. Heart Health

A regular consumption of black rice retards the formation of atherosclerotic plaque in the arteries. This helps in keeping the arteries clear, allows smooth blood flow and prevents stroke and heart attack.

Hyperglycemia and altered lipid profile increase the risk for heart diseases. Anthocyanins and other nourishing compounds present in black rice maintain a healthy blood glucose, cholesterol and triglyceride level. Hence, it reduces the chances of cardiovascular disease.

Regular Consumption of Black Rice Prevents Stroke and Heart Attack

4. Fights Inflammation

Studies have reported that anthocyanin compounds have anti-inflammatory effect. It reduces the induction of pro-inflammatory compounds and increases the production of anti-inflammatory compounds. This indicates that black rice has an amazing potential to treat diseases associated with chronic inflammation.

5. Reduces Weight

A diet containing black rice is protective against obesity and metabolic disorders associated with it. Black rice is a rich source of dietary fiber, which keeps you full and delays hunger pangs.

Because it decreases the quantity of food you eat, the entry of calories into the body is also reduced. This makes black rice beneficial for those who want to lose weight. Besides this, the caloric content of black rice is lower than other rice varieties.

Make sure you combine black rice with other healthy, low fat and unprocessed ingredients for successful weight loss results.

Diet Containing Black Rice can Reduce the Risk for Obesity

6. Fights Cancer

Researchers have studied that anthocyanins in black rice play an important role in cancer therapy. Anthocyanins inhibit the growth and multiplication of cancer cells. It further prevents the spread of cancer cells to other organs of the body. Anthocyanins suppress the growth of tumor by blocking the supply of blood towards the tumor for its growth and spread.

7. Liver Health

Excess intake of high-fat diet causes accumulation of fat in the liver, leading to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Anthocyanins in black rice reduce the storage of fat in the liver. They assist healthy liver cell regeneration and restore the normal structure and function of the liver.

A high fat diet induces oxidative stress and inflammation, which worsens the health of the liver. Anthocyanins, being an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent in nature ameliorate hepatic steatosis (fatty liver) and reduce the weight of the liver too.

8. Improves Digestive Health

Black rice is a good source of dietary fiber, which helps in regulating bowel movements. It prevents constipation and bloating, and helps in relieving digestive problems.

On digestion, dietary fiber swells, absorbs water and binds to the toxins and other wastes. It gives bulk to the stools and help in the removal of wastes from the body easily.

Black Rice is Loaded with Dietary Fiber Which Helps in Relieving Digestive Problems

9. Detoxifies The Body

Black rice is a natural detoxifier. The high antioxidant content of black rice helps the liver to get rid of disease-causing toxins. It improves detoxification in the liver and prevents build-up of toxins.

Phytonutrients present in black rice pull out the dangerous substances from the body and flushes them out of the system. Hence, black rice prevents the onset of several diseases.

10. Healthy Brain Function

Studies have demonstrated that anthocyanins present in black rice improve memory and learning. Eating black rice improves the antioxidant status of the body. Such an improvement protects the brain cells against damage and destruction. Thus, it helps in preserving cognitive performance as well as reversing or limiting the deleterious effects of brain ageing.

Side-Effects of Black Rice

Studies have not yet observed any side-effects of black rice on health. But, it is very well known that anything in excess is not good. Moderate consumption of black rice is recommended.

How to Cook Black Rice

Black rice can be cooked like any other variety of rice. Because, it is unrefined and it has the outer bran intact, it takes longer time to cook. Soaking the rice for at least 3 hours hour prior to cooking may cut down on the amount of cooking time.

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