Black Rice: Health Benefits, Nutrition, and Uses
Rice is one of the common staple foods as almost all households have some brown rice, jasmine rice, and white rice in their pantry at this very moment. While all these rice varieties have unique flavors, scents, and a bunch of nutritional perks, people often miss the opportunity to try black rice as it is an underrated rice variety. A few people call it ‘purple rice’ or ‘forbidden rice’, the term’ black rice’ literally includes a wide range of rice that has various health benefits and culinary uses.
What is Black Rice?
Black rice is basically a variety of rice that has Indonesian rice, Pirurutong black glutinous rice, Thai jasmine rice, and Philippine Balatinaw rice. Moreover, this is a medium-grain rice that was found in China and other parts of Asia about 10,000 years ago.
The widely popular name ‘forbidden rice’ is given to black rice because it was once reserved only for the Chinese emperor to ensure his health and longevity. Thus, making it absolutely forbidden to other people. Due to its exceptional and highly healing attributes, the consumption of black rice led to a longer life expectancy and was only eaten by high-class members of society.
Black rice looks raw, but it literally adopts a deeper purple share once it’s cooked. This unique shade comes from anthocyanins present in the grain’s bran hull, or outermost layer. Such chemical mixtures, which are the same pigments responsible for the color of eggplants, blueberries, and concord grapes, may seem purple, red, black, or blue, based on their pH.
When it comes to taste, this rice is known for its mild and nutty flavor, the same as brown rice. Moreover, it has a chewy texture, so it’s usually added to puddings, porridge, and rice cakes. People who want to avoid eating gluten-based food can opt for black rice as it is naturally gluten-free.
What is the Nutritional Value of Black Rice?
Black rice is basically a key source of nutrients that are necessary for your body. Here is the nutritional value of ½ cup of cooked rice:
- 173 calories
- 5 grams of protein
- 2 grams of fat
- 1 mg of iron
- 38 grams of carbs
- 1 gram of sugar
- 4 mg of sodium
Moreover, black rice does not have any cholesterol but has more protein than white and brown rice. Thus, it makes an excellent choice for people who are planning to gain muscles. Besides, one serving of this rice can meet about 60% of your daily required iron intake and 4% of your fibre intake.
How to Cook Black Rice?
Even though it has a different hue, black rice is cooked similarly to how you cook other rice varieties. Most importantly, you don’t have to rinse the rice first, as doing so may wash off some essential nutrients.
To prepare rice in a cooker:
- Use about 2 cups of water per 1 cup of rice.
- For chewy rice, remember to add slightly less water and add a bit more water for a soft texture.
- After the water boils, add the rice, cover the cooker, and let it simmer on the stove. You will know the rice is cooked when it has a tender texture and the water has been completely absorbed.
It generally takes around 30 to 35 minutes, roughly 10 minutes longer than other rice types.
Once the rice is finished cooking, move the cooker from the heat, let it stand, and cover it for about 10 minutes. Lastly, fluff the rice and serve with your favourite curry/dal.
- High In Antioxidants
Black rice is highly rich in antioxidants compared to other rice varieties. Bran is the outermost layer of the rice, which is filled with anthocyanins. Moreover, this rice helps treat diarrhea and microbial infections. It further helps fight free radical damage and avoid anti-cardiovascular diseases.
- Naturally Gluten Free
This rice is naturally gluten-free and a highly nutritious choice of rice. That’s why individuals with gluten intolerance can consume black rice daily instead of white or brown rice. Moreover, gluten can lead to adverse gastrointestinal side effects like bloating and abdominal pain, especially in people with gluten sensitivity.
- Promotes Heart Health
Black rice is known to give your heart a healthy boost. Based on a recent study, flavonoids, which are antioxidants found in this rice, may reduce your risk of developing and dying from heart-related diseases.
Furthermore, there is little early research to show that anthocyanins may help improve cholesterol and triglyceride levels, which is good for heart health.
- Improves Visual Health
This rice has a lot of lutein and zeaxanthin. These two carotenoids are majorly known for their role in boosting visual health. It also lowers the effects of harmful radiation and UV rays on the retina.
How Long Does Black Rice Stay Good For?
Based on expert’s research, dry goods, like uncooked rice, should be stored in airtight packaging or boxes and kept in a cool, dry, and dark place to avoid mold. However, if you want to keep your rice in the same packaging, be sure to check it frequently for holes, which could bring in moisture or bugs. For extra protection, put the rice in a plastic bag or glass storage container. Besides, uncooked rice will stay fresh in your kitchen for about six months and in the freezer for about a year.
Precautions to Take with Black Rice
There are some precautions that you must consider while cooking black rice. Currently, there is not much information in favor of using this rice for pregnant women. Thus, ensure you consult a medical staff member before eating this rice.
As it’s high in fiber, black rice might result in problems such as gas and abdominal pain if eaten in excess. That’s why the elderly should consume food items in moderation, while children should eat black rice only if recommended.
All in all, due to its mild, nutty flavor, fluffy texture, and numerous nutritional benefits, black rice is consumed and used in different cuisines worldwide. Therefore, it is a nutritious grain that you can add to your everyday diet and enjoy the fantastic health benefits of rice.