2. What is black rice?
3. How is black rice good for you
4. What are the benefits of black rice?
a) Nutrient-dense grain b) Rich in antioxidants, including purple anthocyanins
c) Heart-friendly d) Aids in weight loss e) Diabetes-friendly f) Eye, skin and hair health
5. How to choose your black rice?
6. Black rice recipe
7. Black rice side effects
Have you heard of the new colour of rice? After white and brown rice, many are exploring a new variety of rice that is beautiful to look at, as well as carries an air of mystery about it. Called black rice, its unique purplish black colour immediately attracts attention. It is but natural to wonder, is black rice healthy?
Black rice is a nutrient-dense grain with several therapeutic benefits for our health and well-being. Physicians of the past, especially in China, cherished this variant for its sterling health qualities.
So, what makes this new variety different from the other varieties of rice? Come, let’s delve deeper into what is black rice, its origin and its health benefits.
- What is Black rice?
Black rice belongs to the species Oryza sativa and though relatively unknown, has graced the Asian diet for many centuries. It is believed to have first grown in China, from where it spread to other Asian countries including Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines, Japan and India. Nowadays black rice is widely available at gourmet stores and supermarkets in many countries.
With a desire to bring new and exotic rice varieties to the fore, this variant was borne as a result of crossbreeding different rice species. Initially, it was reserved only for the Chinese royals and nobles as it was believed to ensure their long and healthy lives – earning it the name ‘forbidden rice’ or ‘Emperor’s rice’. Physicians also used this variety in ancient Chinese medicine for its therapeutic effect on the kidneys, liver, and stomach. The secrets of black rice were kept hidden from the commoners who were banned from eating it – making it a prized commodity.
Fortunately, black rice is now accessible to all. Several varieties of this rice are available including Indonesian black rice, Thai jasmine black rice, Philippine heirlooms Baratinoo black rice, and Pillutong black sticky rice.
Black rice in India has been around for a long time. It is a part of the history and culture of mainly two states – the north-eastern state of Manipur, where it is called Chak-hao and is served on special and festive occasions, and the southern state of Tamil Nadu, where it is known as Kavuni Arisi or Kavuni Rice. It also finds a place in the cuisines of Kerala and North Bengal. You can also find black rice in neighbouring Bangladesh, where it is known as Kalo Dhaner Chaal (black paddy rice) and is used to make Polao, a ghee-laden rice dessert.
Given its long and protected past, several studies have been carried out over the years to uncover the secrets of black rice and find out what the black rice benefits are.
- How is black rice good for you
Over the last few decades, the infusion of processed foods and convenient options like ordering in or eating out has replaced the warmth of home-cooked meals. And thanks to COVID-19, many of us choose to spend more time at home than outside. A sedentary lifestyle is quite the norm.
But many of us still indulge in the rich diet of our parents and grandparents – picture kebabs and biryanis, ghee-laden paranthas, and syrup-dripping gulab jamuns, increasing our risk of several lifestyle diseases.
What we need is to welcome nature back into our lives with pure, chemical-free, whole foods that nourish us deeply and restore us to optimal health.
Black rice is promising to be one of such new-age super grains. Similar to the nourishing qualities of other superfoods like green tea and berries, black rice has the potential to nourish your health and well-being boost energy and power the mind. At the same time, it helps safeguard against the harmful effects caused by a sedentary lifestyle. Many of the nutritional and bioactive components found in black rice including amino acids-rich proteins, vitamin E-producing tocopherols and tocotrienols are essential for a healthy body and mind.
Let’s examine some of these aspects in greater detail:
- What are the benefits of black rice?
Black Rice benefits include
a) Nutrient-dense grain
Black rice is considered a rich source of nutrients. It's one serving contains more iron and protein than a similar serving of white rice. Black rice also houses many other essential nutritional components that are necessary for the normal functioning of the body, including vitamins such as B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin) and B9 (folic acid), and dietary minerals such as iron, calcium, zinc, manganese, and phosphorus.
b) Rich in antioxidants, including purpleanthocyanins
Wonder where black rice got its colour from? That and other similar-coloured plants like blueberries, black grapes and purple cabbage owe their attractive purple-black colour to anthocyanin, a type of antioxidant. Antioxidants protect our body cells from free radical damage and oxidative stress, the root of several inflammatory conditions including heart disease and diabetes. Black rice is shown to have the highest level of antioxidants among all the varieties of rice.
Rich in antioxidants and complex carbohydrates, Black rice can help to reduce atherosclerotic plaque formation – which can clog arteries, thereby reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease. Black rice may also help maintain healthy cholesterol levels as it helps to reduce LDL or ‘bad’ cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
d) Aids in weight loss
Compared to white rice, Black rice has a low glycemic index and is packed with complex carbohydrates and proteins which keep you feeling full longer. Also, the naturally rich antioxidant content helps to maintain healthy blood lipid levels, thereby reducing belly fat and aiding healthy weight management efforts.
Rice is typically off the diet charts for people suffering from diabetes. So, can diabetics eat black rice? Compared to white rice, long-grained black rice has less starch and a lower glycemic index. This helps regulate blood sugar levels and prevent insulin levels from spiking, making them a healthier alternative to white rice.
f) Eye, skin and hair health
Like carrots and spinach, black rice contains high amounts of carotenoids that are good for the health of the eye, protecting them against age-related degeneration. Antioxidants in black rice may be able to nourish and repair skin and tissues, helping to prevent premature skin ageing. In short, the naturally high vitamin, mineral and antioxidant content of black rice makes them a healthy dietary addition for great skin, hair and eye health.
Looking to include black rice in your diet?
With several brands of black rice now available in the market, it’s important to consider the following factors while choosing your black rice.
- How to choose your black rice?
- Certified organic - Most conventional grains found in the market including back rice are contaminated with toxic pesticide residue. Choosing a certified organic brand ensures your black rice is completely safe and free from toxic chemical contaminants like pesticides and herbicides.
- Unpolished whole grain black rice – Several manufacturers polish the rice grain to increase its shelf life and make it appear shinier and hence more appealing to the consumer. However, the polishing process strips the rice of its nutrient layers and also reduces the fibre content significantly. Hence always look for certified organic and unpolished wholegrain black rice to get maximum nutrition for your family.
ORGANIC INDIA Black Rice is certified organic, unpolished rice that has a naturally dark purple-black colour, and chewy texture, Having the highest antioxidant content amongst all rice varieties, it is a powerhouse of antioxidants, protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals.
We source our black rice from certified organic farms that allow you to savour its natural goodness without fear of harmful pesticides, herbicides, and GMOs entering your body.
Let’s now look at some methods and ideas to cook and serve this rice and savour the black rice nutrition.
- Black rice recipe
A look at the glossy dark colour, especially when paired with bright-coloured vegetables or fruits allows one to relish the rich taste and aroma of this distinctive rice variant. Unlike white rice, black rice has a chewy texture and a slightly nutty flavour. This variety is wonderful for recipes such as rice bowls, sticky rice pudding, risotto, and sushi.
Black rice requires more water to cook than white rice and will take a lot longer to cook. Take care to read the pack instructions for the water-to-price ratio, and always pre-soak black rice for the best results. Once soaked, you can steam the rice, boil it in water, or cook it in a pressure cooker, rice cooker or Instant Pot.
You can add this rice to the varieties you already use, including white Basmati and red rice to enjoy a range of flavours, textures, and nutrition. Savour the natural aroma and organic taste of Organic India black rice with some of these easy black rice recipe ideas:
- Steam and serve this chunky rice with Thai vegetable or chicken curry for a nutritious treat.
- Add boiled black rice to your rice bowl with some mango, avocado, and berries.
- Replace the rice component in your idli and dosa batter with this rich variant for a healthy and colourful twist.
- Make a black rice risotto with mushrooms.
- Parboil this sumptuous rice and stir fry it with vegetables such as spring onion, capsicum, carrots, and cabbage to make delicious Asian-style fried rice.
- Soak black rice overnight and cook with some jaggery and mixed nuts to make a delicious payasam (black rice kheer).
- Simply add cooked black rice to salads for some texture.
With so many benefits, it’s not unreasonable to explore if there are any side effects of this rice.
- Black rice side effects
Generally, black rice is healthy and safe for most people. However, its rich fibre content can cause discomfort in some people with sensitive stomachs. Soaking the rice overnight or for a few hours before cooking can make the rice more easily digestible and also increase the bioavailability of its nutrients.
Given its naturally rich nutrient content, Black rice can prove to be a wholesome addition to our diet. Choose from Organic India’s wide range of certified organic, whole and unprocessed grains and cereals for healthy life full of natural vitality and energy.