While you have probably heard of white rice, which is a common food staple in Asian cuisine and in fact many households all over the world, you may not be as familiar with black rice. Black rice is a range of rice types that fall under the species Oryza sativa L. While the grains you would get from a rice supplier or supermarket are indeed black in colour, black rice usually turns purplish when cooked.
Let us find out a bit more about black rice.
What is black rice?
Black rice was very valuable in ancient China as it was grown in limited quantities. Therefore, only the upper classes of Chinese nobility and royalty could afford to eat it, while it was banned among the common folk. This is why black rice was also known as “forbidden rice”.
These days, black rice can be found growing in tropical areas such as Myanmar, North India, Korea, and other countries. There are several types of black rice types available such as the Indonesian black rice, Philippine balatinaw rice, and Thai jasmine black rice.
Now that you know more about this special kind of rice, it is time to see what are the reasons you should add black rice to your diet.
1) Rich source of antioxidants
One of the main advantages of black rice is its high antioxidant content. In fact, other foods would find it difficult to compete with black rice for antioxidant benefits, given how high its anthocyanin levels are. In this aspect, black rice wins out over other grains like brown rice, red rice, and red quinoa too. Antioxidants scavenge free radicals from the body cells and prevent or reduce the damage caused by oxidation, which in turn can reduce the risk of many diseases.
2) Good for weight loss
If you are on a weight loss diet for health purposes, you should consider adding black rice to your staple foods. Black rice is low in calories, low in carbohydrates, and high in protein and dietary fibre. Eating black rice is a good way to manage your appetite as it makes you feel full quite quickly, helping you prevent the urge to overeat. A half cup of cooked black rice only contains about 160 calories.
3) Can help prevent diabetes
Of course, black rice does not provide a surefire way to avoid diabetes altogether. However, it does have certain properties that help regulate your blood sugar levels. Because black rice has its bran intact, it has high levels of dietary fibre – which take a longer time for our bodies to digest. Thus, the sugar contained in the grain is absorbed by our bodies over a longer period, making it easier to maintain normal blood sugar levels. Thus, insulin levels are prevented from spiking up and this can help prevent Type 2 diabetes.
4) Improves digestion
On top of that, the high levels of dietary fibre in black rice mean that it is very good for digestion. Having good digestive health allows you to maintain regular bowel movements, preventing constipation, diarrhoea, and bloating. The fibre in black rice also helps bind toxins and waste from within the digestive tract and flush it out of your system during each cycle of digestion. It can also help prevent other types of gastrointestinal conditions like haemorrhoids.
5) Naturally gluten-free
Black rice is a great option for those who have Coeliac disease or suffer from any sort of sensitivity to gluten. This is because black rice is naturally free of gluten. Therefore, if you are not a fan of normal white rice and are looking for another grain to add to your gluten-free diet, you can opt for black rice instead – and enjoy all the benefits that we have listed out above.
As you can see, there are many solid reasons why you should try black rice. Besides that, it is also just interesting to add a different kind of grain to your daily diet – so go ahead and give it a try!