Health Benefits of Black Rice

bag of black rice I purchased from a mall
Black rice used to be known as the “forbidden rice.” It was rice that was only for royalty.  Ancient emperors in China hoarded black rice for the reason that they believe it would lengthen their lives and secure their thrones longer.  They may have been right, as research now shows that black rice is one of the world’s “super foods.” 
Thankfully, this royal rice is now available for peasants like me.  In fact, I am happy to see black rice in the rice aisle in one of my city’s malls.  It’s produced by Fresh Start Organic, a company of social entrepreneurs in the Philippines.
Elsewhere, I featured red rice as one of the colored rice varieties which far exceeds white rice in terms of nutritional composition.  Today, let’s discover the merits of black rice. 

Rich in Fiber
Like other colored rice types, black rice is only partially milled so that some of the fibrous parts remain.  We know fiber as the broom which sweeps our colon clean of toxins, sludge, cholesterol, etc.  It also helps us feel full faster and longer.

In many ways, inflammation is a helpful defensive, protective and reparative mechanism.  When microbes, foreign substances or toxins enter the body, the body responds by triggering inflammation.  Blood rushes to the site of injury, delivering more nutrients, white blood cells and oxygen in an effort to bring healing.  Redness, swelling, heat and pain then set in, symptoms which promptly disappear when the cause is resolved. 
However, there are abnormal cases when inflammation becomes persistent or chronic, and comes even when there is no “valid” need for it.  Chronic inflammation is now found to be the cause of many diseases such arthritis, diabetes, heart disease and even cancer.  Drugs which control chronic inflammation are often expensive and come with numerous side effects, especially since they are usually to be taken for life.  This may be the reason why anti-inflammatory foods and herbs are the health craze today.  Spices and herbs such as turmeric and ginger, fish oils like omega-3s—these are just some of the safer, natural anti-inflammatory supplements currently being studied.
Now you can add black rice to the list of super foods with excellent anti-inflammatory activity.

Rich in Anti-oxidants
Black rice is black because of the concentrated pigments it contains.  Like most plant pigments, these purplish-blackish pigments are also antioxidants which are known as anthocyanins—the same ones which are in blueberries (said to be one of the richest sources of antioxidants).  It now appears that black rice is even a richer source of antioxidants compared to blueberries.  Antioxidants destroy free radicals which cause cellular abnormalities, including cancer. According to the American Chemical Society, a spoonful of black rice bran has more antioxidants than a spoonful of blueberries.  What’s more, the anthocyanins in black rice are water-soluble and therefore more readily absorbed by the body than the oil-soluble ones which are found in brown rice.

Other Benefits
Black rice is lower in sugar, higher in Vitamin E (another super antioxidant and anti-ager) and higher in iron.
Black rice is now next in my list of colored rice to try.  I will simply add in black rice to my white rice in a 1:10 proportion, just like what I did with red rice, as described here.

(Update: I have tried black rice and it rocks! Just a little mixed in gives my rice an appetizing purplish color.)

(Another update: This post has been cited as one of the sources of– one of the top sites on natural health in the WORLD! I really had to say that, haha. Thank you,, I’m one of your readers actually. See the article with the link to this blog here. My stat counter tells me that I have been receiving referral visits from this post.)

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