Black rice is a type of sticky rice coming from one of the black heirloom plants. Actually closer to purple in hue (and sometimes called purple rice for this reason), black rice has a nutty/earthy taste and makes a great side dish to go alongside other meals, either sweet or savoury. In China it was once known as ‘forbidden rice’ because no-one other than the emperor was allowed it.
The real reason that many people will eat black rice though (despite its slightly higher price tag) is for the many health benefits that make it currently one of the most popular ‘super foods’ on the market. Here we will look at some of them…
Inflammation: One of the greatest touted benefits of black rice is in combating inflammation which it can do aptly due to the high quantities of anthocyanins which have been shown to help combat swelling and associated pain. In fact it contains more of these anthocyanins than any other food.
Asthma: By reducing inflammation, black rice may be an effective treatment for asthma and help to prevent mucous secretion and airway inflammation thus helping to make breathing easier and reduce the chances of an attack.
Anti-Cancer: Anthocyanins as well as being great for helping to prevent swelling are also great for combating cancer causing free radicals. Yes, they’re a form of antioxidants, but they also have ‘chemotherapeutic properties’ according to some research and have been shown to help inhibit the growth of colon cancer cells and even in some cases to destroy them.
Heart Health: Anthocyanins, as though they didn’t already do enough, are also able to reduce cholesterol thereby improving heart health and reducing the risk of heart attack or stroke.
Nutrition: Black rice is high in iron, meaning that it can help the blood to carry oxygen and nutrients around the body and is great for those potentially suffering from anaemia. Meanwhile it has also been found to contain high amounts of zinc, copper, carotene and other useful vitamins.
Forbidden or not then, black rice is worth adding to your menu…