It is a rare breed compared to its white, brown, and wild siblings but there are black rice health benefits you need to know about. Plus, it has a really great taste and it’s worth a go in your kitchen.
There is something I’ve always been a sucker for – associating something with a really cool story. And as a former very picky kid when it came to food, hearing an intriguing story about any food item somehow makes me want to try it. And even makes my brain love it in a way. That’s how I got roped into trying broccoli and I’ve never looked back. But that’s a story for another time. We’re talking about black rice benefits at this time.
The thing that intrigued me about black rice is its origin and its moniker as “forbidden” black rice. This all comes from ancient Chinese lore. So why is it called forbidden? Because it is said that a long time ago, black rice was an item reserved for the Chinese Emperor and the royal family, thanks to its supposed healing abilities and its very nutritious profile. And it is said that if you were caught eating black rice without permission, you could even lose your life!
Black rice has a deep black shade that turns purple when cooked. Its texture is soft and delicious, while the taste has a nutty flavor with a touch of sweet. And modern science confirms what the Chinese emperors knew all along: black rice is also incredibly healthy and filled with nutrients.
You can make a great black rice skillet with this recipe.
5 black rice health benefits you need to take advantage of
1. It’s full of antioxidants
Black rice contains more antioxidants than brown rice. In particular, anthocyanins, the purple and dark red pigments that give it its color. You can also find those in other dark-skinned foods like blueberries, grapes, blackberries, dark cherries, raspberries and acai berries. And their purpose is this: they are associated with memory improvement and a decreased risk of heart disease and cancer.
An analysis of 12 different varieties of rice found that black rice has a six-time higher antioxidant content than brown rice or white rice, that also means ampler black rice health benefits.
2. Fighting inflammation
When inflammation gets out of control, your body suffers. That’s why it’s good to fight it by any means necessary, including with a diet with anti-inflammatory properties. And guess what? Black rice will do just the trick. A South Korean study done on animals revealed that black rice bran can be effective against skin inflammation, while brown rice cannot. So now scientists are looking into using black rice as a therapeutic agent for treating and preventing diseases associated with chronic inflammation.
Add some tuna and quinoa to a black rice bowl and enjoy the excellent meal.
3. Keeping your weight in check
Yeah, these days it would appear that almost all foods can help you lose weight. But some more than others! Another Korean study that split overweight women into two groups found that the group assigned to eat a mix of black and brown rice lost more weight than the other group, who was assigned to eating simple old bland white rice. The study was done on the course of six weeks. And the first group found greater reductions when it came to weight, BMI and body fat.
This happened most likely thanks to the high fiber content of black rice, which helps you feel satisfied a long time after a meal, thus preventing hunger and keeping those dreaded cravings away.
4. Black rice equals a healthier liver
Americans have a huge problem with fatty liver disease, about 90 million people, including children, are affected by this condition, where fat deposits on the liver. And the organ needs to function properly because its job is to process nutrients from the food you eat into elements that the body can use. It’s also responsible for regulating some hormones.
A study done on mice with fatty liver disease revealed to the researchers that eating black rice had improved the lipid levels in the blood and had lower triglycerides and cholesterol. Which in layman’s terms means that black rice could help prevent liver diseases.
5. Fighting cancer
Multiple studies have shown already that the compounds found in black rice can help protect the body from free-radical damage. So it’s good for preventing, but also for actually fighting cancer cells. A study published in The Journal “Chemico-Biological Interactions” found that black rice could stop tumor metastasis. The anthocyanins extracted from black rice inhibit the spread of certain cancer cells. Another study showed that the black rice health benefits extend to breast cancer as well. Of course, the research is ongoing.