Popular in Asia, black rice is a powerhouse grain with many health benefits including antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
If you’re looking for a good source of antioxidants, try your luck in the rice aisle, where you can find black rice. A agrain that, centuries ago, was forbidden for commoners to eat by emperors in ancient China because it was so good.
Black rice is popular in Asia in noodles, sushi, and pudding, and may be on its way to becoming more popular with Americans. In fact, according to new research by the American Chemical Society, a spoonful of black rice is better for you because it has less sugar and more fiber and vitamin E antioxidants than the same amount of blueberries.
Black rice is one of the over 7,000 varieties of rice in the world and has a rich, nutty flavor. It is a deep purple color (think eggplant) and is rich in iron and has a soft texture. It does not stick togethere when cooking because black bran layers are not removed from the rice during processing.
But the best news is that it’s full of a particular mix of anthocyanin antioxidants that shows promise for neutralizing free radical damage to the collagen matrix of cells and tissues that can lead to cataracts, glaucoma, varicose veins, hemorrhoids, peptic ulcers, heart disease, and cancer.
Another potential benefit of black rice bran is that research published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry shows oral feeding of a standard mouse diet supplemented with 10% black rice bran significantly suppressed chemically-induced inflammation of the skin. Why is this important to us? Because prolonged inflammation has been associated with the development of allergies, atherosclerosis, cancer, heart problems, and infectious diseases.
Another advantage of black rice is that it ranges in colors from pink to purples, all the way to black. This is important because initial research shows that it may be used as an alternative to provide coloring for some of the products that use artificial coloring, typically derived from petroleum. These artificial coloring agents are linked to behavior disorders, increased risk for cancer, growth and developmental delays, and even lead poisoning. Also, black rice’s mild flavor and interesting, dark color may appeal to young or picky eaters.
In the future, don’t be surprised if you start seeing black rice bran or bran extracts in cereals, oatmeal, and other products. Louisiana, California, and Arkansas rice farmers are adding black varieties to their fields, so start checking for it on your natural food store shelves and plan now to incorporate this “forbidden” powerhouse into your diet!
To learn more about dietary supplements and vitamins for a healthy immune system here.