1. Full of Antioxidants
The bran hull of black rice, which is the outermost layer of the rice grain, contains one of the highest levels of the antioxidant anthocyanin found in any known food.
Black rice has a deep black or purple color, which is an indication of its high antioxidant properties, similarly to how deeply colored antioxidant berries like blueberries, raspberries, and cranberries appear.
Sources show that the anthocyanin content of black rice is higher than any other grain, including brown rice, red rice, red quinoa, or other colored whole grain varieties.
Anthocryanin has the ability to help prevent a myriad of common but serious illnesses according to numerous studies that have looked at the benefits of this antioxidant.
Anthocyanin antioxidants have been correlated with: helping to prevent cardiovascular disease, protecting against cancer that can be caused by free radical damage, improving brain function, reducing inflammation and more .
Nutrients are lost from whole grains when the outer layer, the hull and bran, are removed. Only whole grains which include all of their naturally occurring parts retain their antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. White rice, in addition to other refined grains, lose these beneficial properties during the milling process.
While whole grain brown rice and red rice also contain beneficial antioxidants, only black rice contains anthocyanin. Additionally, black rice also contains important antioxidant Vitamin E, which is useful in maintaining eye, skin, and immune health in addition to other important functions.
Human Heart Anatomy virtual illustration
2. Protects Heart Health
Studies have shown that black rice decreases dangerous atherosclerotic plaque formation in the arteries, which is very important for keeping arteries clear and preventing heart attacks and stroke .
The specific anthocyanins phytochemicals found in black rice help to maintain healthy cholesterol levels by reducing total cholesterol, LDL “bad” cholesterol, and total triacylglycerol concentrations. These are 3 factors commonly involved in cardiovascular disease .
Considering how common heart disease is in almost every western developed nation today, this is one reason why consuming healing foods like black rice is so important.
Human Internal Anatomy Virtual Illustration
3. Can Help Detoxify the Body
Studies have demonstrated that consuming black rice can help to detox the body and cleanse the liver of harmful toxic build-up thanks to the rice’s high antioxidant content.
In a recent animal study, the antioxidant status of blood, the liver, and one of the main arteries, the aorta, were evaluated in rabbits that were either fed refined white rice or black rice.
Results showed that the rabbits fed black rice experienced less oxidative stress (also called free radical damage), contained more antioxidants in their blood, experienced detoxification in the liver, and also had reduced plaque build-up in the arteries .
The phytonutrients found in black rice help the body to reduce inflammation and to cleanse the body of harmful substances that can contribute to a wide range of conditions.
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4. Good Source of Fiber Which Improves Digestive Health
Black rice and other whole grain rice varieties- like wild, red, or brown rices- have a similar amount of fiber, with about 2-3 grams per half cup serving. The fiber in black rice helps to prevent constipation, bloating, and other unwanted digestive symptoms. Fiber binds to waste and toxins within the digestive tract, helping to pull them out and to contribute to regular bowel function.
The dietary fiber found in black rice can also importantly help you to feel full after eating and to stay satisfied for a longer period of time between meals, potentially aiding in weight loss.
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) . This is because fiber has the important job of clearing the body of toxins, helping to reduce inflammation and to clear the arteries as it removes waste and plague from the body . Black rice can also help prevent or cure cases of diarrhea, since fiber adds bulk to your stool.
Gluten free Road Sign
5. A Naturally Gluten Free Grain
Like other rice varieties, black rice naturally contains no gluten, the protein found in all wheat, rye, and barley products. It’s estimated that 1 in 7 people are sensitive to gluten- whether they are aware of it or not- but still test negative for Celiac Disease.
After eating something with gluten in it, those with a gluten sensitivity suffer many of the same symptoms as those with Celiac Disease (a confirmed allergy to gluten), including bloating, constipation, diarrhea, nutrient deficiencies, and an increased risk for developing leaky gut syndrome. Consuming black rice in place of not only refined grains and processed flour products, but also all wheat, barley, and rye containing foods- even those that are whole grain- can help eliminate digestive problems associated with eating gluten for many people.
Red Blood Cells
6. Helps Slow Down Absorption of Sugar in the Blood, Helping to Prevent Diabetes
Studies have shown that when it comes to the risk of developing diabetes and even obesity, consuming whole grains is much more beneficial and preventative than consuming refined carbohydrates
Compared to eating processed carbohydrates which are stripped of their fiber, antioxidants, and other nutrients that help to slow down the absorption of sugar in the blood stream, black rice is a much healthier option.
Black rice contains the entire bran of the grain where the fiber is stored, and fiber is able to help glucose (sugar) from the grain to be absorbed by the body over a longer period of time.
When researchers examined white and brown rice consumption in relation to type 2 diabetes risk, they found that white rice was more likely to contribute to insulin resistance and diabetes risk
The substitution of whole grains, including brown or black rice, in place of white rice, white bread, pasta, and sweetened cereals may lower the risk of type 2 diabetes and other complications, in addition to keeping your weight in check and your energy levels balanced.
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7. Better at Preventing Obesity than Refined Grains
It is very important for those with pre-diabetes, diabetes, or other forms of metabolic syndrome and insulin resistance to consume 100% whole grains, as opposed to processed “white” types that lack fiber.
The same can be said for those who struggle with losing weight, since the fiber and nutrients in whole grain rice helps to shut off hunger signals and prevents overeating. Research has shown that whole grain rice varieties can help prevent insulin resistance that is related to an increased risk for obesity
The History of Forbidden Rice
Black rice is commonly referred to as “forbidden rice” because of its long and interesting history. As you probably know, all rice varieties are a substantial and important crop in the diet of nearly every Asian population, and have been for thousands of years. In China, black rice has been known for being good for the kidneys, stomach and liver since ancient times.
Thousands of years ago in ancient China, noble Chinese men took possession of every grain of the black forbidden rice, banning its consumption among anyone who was not royalty or very wealthy.
The crop was only grown in very limited quantities, closely monitored, and reserved for only the highest elite class.The common Chinese people were not allowed to grow or consume this black forbidden rice, which led to its unique name that it still carries with it today.
Black rice was actually only first introduced to the United States in the 1990’s, although it’s been enjoyed in other parts of the world for many more years. Today it is no longer forbidden, but still is grown in relatively small amounts especially compared to other types of widely available rice varieties.