Black Rice is lesser known even among the Asians whose staple diet is rice. This is because for a long time, the rice was consumed only by the Chinese royalty and was hidden from the rest of the world, hence, its other name, “the forbidden rice”. This rice variety comes under the species of Oryza sativa L. So, what is so special about this rice and why is it a better alternative? This rice species have a number of benefits than you can imagine!
Health Benefits of Black Rice
- Low calories and high fiber content: Want to have rice and still lose weight? Black rice is the answer. It is also rich in flavonoid phytonutrients that protect us from various diseases. High fibre content keeps our digestive tract healthy.
- An abundance of Antioxidants: The outer black layer which contains anthocyanin fights like a soldier against enemies like microbial infections, diarrhea, and cardiovascular diseases.
- Fights Cancer: That one disease whose name brings desperation to the victim and sympathy in others is cancer. The anthocyanin helps suppress the growth of cancer and prevents the spread of cancer. This was clinically tested as well.
- Reduces Inflammation: A research conducted at Ajou University suggest that the extract from black rice reduces allergic contact dermatitis.
- Weight loss: You have gained so much weight! You look so unhealthy! These are one of the most humiliating comments one needs to hear at some point of time in his or her life. As the rice is rich in fiber and low in calories, it keeps your stomach satisfied, full and, does not beg for more food throughout the day. Research conducted suggests that brown and black rice consumers have lesser body mass index and higher weight loss.
- Protects the precious heart: Cholesterol is a problem that is prevalent in most youngsters in the world today. That fat, in turn, hurts the heart and leads to cardiovascular diseases. Black rice reduces cholesterol and has been scientifically tested in rats.Black rice also comes to the rescue when atherosclerosis attacks! This health condition further leads to a series of diseases like stroke, artery and kidney problems. It is found that black rice reduces atherosclerosis by 50 percent. That is an amazing statistic!
- Detoxifies the Liver: With the present lifestyle of running behind time and eating junk food in the little time squeezed in for lunch in a day, fatty liver and cholesterol is a common ailment. Black rice reduces the level of triglycerides and cholesterol, therefore, reducing the chances of high cholesterol in the body.
- Improves Brain Functioning: Brain is an important part of our body and its working power slows down after the age of 30 to 40 years. Research conducted on both, animals and humans suggests that anthocyanin-rich food helps reduce the rate of cognitive decline by a few years.
- Helps control diabetes: Does diabetes prevent you from having your favourite sweet or candy from your favourite shop across the street? Black rice comes to the rescue. Its rich fiber content makes digestion slower and keeps you full.Through this process, the sugar is absorbed for over a longer period, thus, not allowing the blood sugar levels to rise. This can help us avoid the more dangerous type of diabetes which is called type two diabetes. It also works wonders with diabetes mellitus.
- Fights digestive disorders: In addition to keeping you full and not hungry for a long time, black rice can also fight digestive diseases. It helps you have a proper excretion cycle by preventing constipation and bloating. It also fights ulcers, hemorrhoids, diverticulitis and reflux diseases.
- Gluten Free: Ever had this embarrassing situation of constant diarrhea or constipation due to gluten-containing food like wheat or barley? Black rice is devoid of it and is safe to eat.
- Reduces Blood Pressure: The high fiber content keeps the lipid level in place, keeps body weight in check and in turn, keeps blood pressure levels normal.
- Battles with Asthma: A study conducted suggest that anthocyanin fights asthma by reducing inflammation in the nasal area and hyper mucus secretion.
- Good eye care: Black rice helps to fight retinal damage in a long run.
Though black rice was eaten only by the Chinese royalty at one point of time, it is now available around the world, except in Antarctica. Black rice is now being researched for the cure of diabetes and Alzheimer’s. Brown rice is also known to be famous for its health benefits, so is black rice better?
Black rice is definitely better in terms of calorie content, fiber richness and iron content. Though there seems to be only mild differences, black rice will help in the long run. It can be purchased from Asian markets and gourmet stores. It is even available online in Amazon.
Cooking and Storing Black Rice
Since black rice is dense, it is best soaked overnight before cooking. Remove the water and clean the rice. Add two cups of water for one cup of rice and cook till whatever time necessary (half an hour or one hour). Uncooked rice stays up to three months and cooked rice is similar to any other rice and stays up to two days if refrigerated. The rice should not be reheated more than once. Black rice can be a substitute for any type of rice and can be eaten with steak, roasted vegetables, marinade or salad.
A Delightful Recipe to end With!
- To make this dish, you need 1 cup black rice, 3 cups of water, half a cup of sugar, unsweetened coconut milk and salt. Add rice, water and ¼ teaspoon salt and boil
- Turn down the heat, cover and simmer for 45 minutes.
- Turn the heat up, add same amount of salt and coconut milk and boil
- Cook till the rice is chewy and let it cool
- Garnish with coconut milk if needed
There are no side effects as such for including black rice in your diet. So what are you waiting for? Choose black rice and get healthy. All it takes is a tiny change!