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Good for diabetes, weight loss, and more

benefits of black rice
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If you have ever consumed black rice, then you can appreciate its nutty, slightly sweet taste, chewy texture and exotic purple-black hue. However more than being just delicious, due to the multiple health benefits of black rice it is being considered to be a “superfood”. It first originated in China and then spread to other parts of Asia around 10,000 years ago.

Traditionally, black rice was used in Chinese medications and reserved for the aristocracy. Earlier, it was reserved for Chinese emperors to ensure their longevity and was forbidden for others. That is how they came to be known as emperor’s rice or forbidden rice.

The low yield compared to other rice makes it rare. It consists of more than 20 varieties of rice that have a high quantity of pigment, anthocyanin. This pigment is responsible for deep color and is also found in eggplant and blueberries. When cooked or soaked, the grains turn purple.

Most of the back rice varieties have a nutty flavor except for Chinese black rice, which is fruity and mildly sweet. The texture of black rice is chewy, so often used to prepare porridges, cakes, and puddings. The best thing about it is that black rice benefits people with gluten intolerance and celiac diseases as it is naturally gluten-free.

Nutritional benefits of black rice

Compared with other types of rice, black rice is one of the highest in protein. Per 3.5 ounces (100 grams), black rice contains 9 grams of protein, compared with 7 grams for brown rice. It’s also a good source of iron — a mineral that’s essential for carrying oxygen throughout your body.

A 1/4 cup (45 grams) of uncooked black rice provides:

  • calories: 160
  • Fat: 1.5 grams
  • protein: 4 grams
  • Carbs: 34 grams
  • fiber: 1 gram
  • Iron: 6% of the Daily Value (DV)

Health benefits of black rice

Black rice is loaded with anti-oxidants especially anthocyanin which is great for diabetics, heart patients and helps brain activity. It is also great for skin and hair due to its Vitamin E content. It is loaded with fiber which helps avoid spikes in blood sugar levels. It is rich in iron and a good source of it for vegetarians.

Rich source of antioxidants: When it comes to antioxidant content, no other ingredient comes close to black rice. The bran of (outermost layer) of the grains of black rice contains the highest levels of anthocyanins found in any food. In fact, it has the highest anthocyanin content compared to all other whole grain varieties like brown rice, red rice, and red quinoa. These anthocyanins have been found to fight against free radical damage, prevent cardiovascular disease, and treat microbial infections and diarrhea

Helps fight cancer: The anthocyanin content of black rice lends it an anti-cancer characteristic. An experimental study conducted by the Third Military University in China found that an anthocyanin-rich extract of black rice successfully suppressed tumor growth and spread of breast cancer cells in mice.

Reduces inflammation: Researchers at Ajou University in Korea have found that black rice works wonders in reducing inflammation. The study found that an extract of black rice helped reduce edema and significantly suppressed allergic contact dermatitis on the skin of mice. This is a great indicator of the potential of black rice in treating diseases that are associated with chronic inflammation

Aids in weight loss: Black rice has characteristics that are essential for weight management and weight loss – it is low in calories, low in carbohydrates, and high in dietary fiber. Thus, it makes you feel full and keeps hunger pangs at bay. In fact, a study conducted in Korea tested the difference in weight loss brought about by white rice and a mix of brown rice and black rice in 40 overweight women in 6 weeks. At the end of the study, they found that the brown/black rice group showed significantly higher weight loss and lower body mass index (BMI) and body fat percentage than the group that consumed white rice. This just goes to show that both brown and black rice can work exceptionally well in diet therapy especially for obese women.

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Helps prevent diabetes: Whole grain black rice has its bran intact, which is a storehouse of dietary fiber. Since fiber takes longer to digest, it makes sure that the sugar in the grain is absorbed over a longer period, maintaining normal blood sugar levels. Thus, it helps to prevent insulin levels from spikeing up and can help prevent type 2 diabetes. In fact, in a study conducted on rats, the extract of germinated Thai black rice performed much like the diabetes drug metformin and also prevented and managed the consequences of diabetes mellitus.

High in fiber: The black rice has about 1- 3 grams of fiber per half cup serving. This rich fiber content helps regulate the bowel movements, prevent constipation, diarrhea and bloating. The fiber helps bind the toxins and waste within the digestive tract, and flush it all out of the system on completion of the cycle of digestion. Fiber also gives your body a satiated feeling after consumption which prevents you from binging into other fatty food, thus helping weight loss.

Works as a detoxifier: The phytonutrients present in black rice help cleanse the body of disease causing toxins (caused by free radicals). Black rice helps the liver (one of the most significant detoxifiers of the body) eliminate unwanted substances through its antioxidant activity.

Improves heart health: Eating black rice may have a positive impact on your healthy cholesterol levels too. The anthocyanins phytochemicals found in black rice, reduces the Low Density Lipo-protein (LDL) cholesterol also known as the bad cholesterol, which is a common contributor to cardiovascular diseases. It also brings down the total cholesterol levels. Black rice has been proven to actively reduce atheroschlerosis (hardening of the arteries) as well.

Black rice is a nutritious, tasty and gluten-free alternative to other types of whole grains. Its fiber, protein, iron and high levels of antioxidants make it a smart choice for incorporating into both special and everyday meals.

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