Black Rice: A Superfood With Many Health Benefits

Black Rice: A Superfood With Many Health Benefits

Although not very common on supermarket shelves, black rice is one of the healthiest foods that you can buy. In the past, black rice was deemed as “forbidden rice” by emperors in China and it was only produced for their consumption. Therefore, yields of black rice as a crop were much lower in ancient times and this is still true today. For the record, black rice has higher protein, iron and fiber content when compared to its white and brown counterparts. Let’s compare the three rice types in terms of nutritional values for a 100-gram portion:

  • White rice contains 7 grams of protein, 1.2 grams of iron and 0.6 grams of fiber
  • Brown rice contains 8 grams of protein, 2.2 grams of iron and 2.8 grams of fiber
  • Black rice contains 8.5 grams of protein, 3.5 grams of iron and 5 grams of fiber and it has a higher amount of antioxidants than any other variety of rice.

What is black rice?

Black rice is actually more purple than black, and in its raw state is has a very dark appearance. Its dark color indicates that the black rice is high in anthocyanin, which is also found in blueberries and blackberries. However, a spoonful of black rice contains more anthocyanin, fiber, vitamin E, and less sugar than blueberries.

Major health benefits

As mentioned previously, black rice is very high in antioxidants and these are important compounds for flushing waste out of your body and for mopping up the free radicals, which are detrimental to your health.  Some studies have shown that due to its high very high anthocyanin content, black rice can lower the risk of heart attacks because it prevents plaque build-up and improves circulation in your arteries. This build-up of plaque is called atherosclerosis and this is a major factor in heart attacks and disease. Anthocyanin can also lower ‘bad’ cholesterol levels, which are a major factor in the blockage of your arteries and is detrimental for your health.

Nutrition breakdown

The tough outer shell of the black rice is the component that is saturated with all of the health benefits. This makes cooking black rice difficult and time consuming. It can take over one hour to cook properly. However, a quarter of a cup of black rice will provide you with 160 calories, 1.5 grams of healthy fats, 34 grams of carbs, 2 grams of fiber and 5 grams of protein.

Low on the GI scale

All of these nutritional profiles are very important for heath maintenance and disease prevention. Having a low glycemic index is very beneficial to weight loss and maintenance as this provides a substantial amount of energy which is released relatively slowly. This stops the massive spike in insulin that occurs when eating simple carbs. Having better control of insulin levels enables the body to use fat as a fuel from its stores.

100% whole grain

Research has indicated that when it comes to the risk of developing diabetes, eating whole grains is far more beneficial and preventative than eating refined carbs. Refined carbs have been stripped of the majority of their fiber and antioxidant properties, which aid in the slower absorption of glucose in the blood. Black rice is high in fiber and this slows down the absorption of the glucose into the blood stream and this improves your insulin sensitivity, keeps your weight in check and your energy balanced. The high fiber content in black rice also shuts off your hunger signals and stops you from overeating, which can help with long-term weight loss.

Let’s review some of the major disease prevention properties of black rice:

  • It helps in the prevention of diabetes
  • It helps in the prevention of heart disease
  • It helps to prevent heart attacks
  • It helps to prevent certain cancers.