As there are many varieties of rice as a whole grain food, black rice seems to be much intriguing. Why? As already known, in ancient China history black rice was labeled as the “forbidden” food.
Namely, only Chinese Emperors and members of the Royalty were entitle to it. It was forbidden for common Chinese people and it wasn’t free rice to sell.
Emperors believed it can prolong their lives and they certainly weren’t that far from the truth. They also believed that it possess some kind of aphrodisiac qualities(knowing they had many concubines at the time).
According to a genetic research, rice cultivation originates from one single crop in China 10.000 years ago. Throughout centuries, we’ve gained much species of this precious grain , and black rice seems to have more impressive health benefits than other types of rice there are.
Today, it is gaining much popularity not only in USA, but in other continents as well, as populations are starting to switch to healthier food approach.
1/4 cup uncooked black rice contains:
- 160 calories
- 1.5- 2 grams of fat
- 34 grams of carbohydrates
- 2 grams of fiber
- 5 grams of protein
- 4% iron
Compared to other varieties, it contains the highest amount of antioxidants, protein and dietary fiber, plus it is also a good source of iron which is usually hard to get for plant-based eaters.
As rice might contain some arsenic levels – you can avoid them using simple tricks, for example: cooking it like pasta (with 7-10 cups of water with 1 cup of rice).
The Health Benefits
There are many health benefits of black rice and we are mentioning following:
High Antioxidant Levels
The outer layer of black rice contains anthocyanin which is one of the most powerful antioxidants. It has a deep blue purple color which is usually an indication of high level of antioxidants.
The anthocyanin levels in black rice are higher than any other grain such as brown rice, red rice, red quinoa or many other colored whole grain varieties.
Many nutrients are lost when removing the outer layer of the whole grain where all the good stuff is. That is why white rice lose these beneficial contents while milling.
Black Rice As Heart Health Keeper
Some studies have shown that consuming black rice can unclog the arteries from built plaque, which is highly important in avoidance of heart failure and strokes.
If you have high cholesterol issues, this rice along with red rice, can decrease them significantly, and along with it the risk of having possible heart attack.
Help The Detoxification Process
Recent animal studies have shown that by consuming it, it promotes detox process by cleaning the liver from toxins. The studies were performed on rabbits fed with black and white rice.
The outcome was that the ones fed with the black rice contained more antioxidants in their blood, liver detoxification and less plaque in arteries.
Improves Digestive Health
Whole grains have similar amounts of fiber , but the black rice has them even more. The amounts of fiber in black rice are good for eliminating bloating and constipation problems. Fibers are needed in our everyday menu to eliminate food waste from our bowels and help us eliminating toxins.
Some studies have shown that including dietary fiber in our everyday meal plan can protect us from obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and other digestive problems.
Great Prevention From Diabetes
Many studies have shown that whole grains lower the risk of diabetes and obesity. The antioxidants, as well as many other nutrients, slower down the absorption of sugar in the blood stream helping to maintain it at safe mode.
Good For Dieting
Fiber and nutrients in whole grain rice varieties helps to cut off hunger signals and prevents overeating.
It Is Gluten Free
Black rice naturally contains no gluten and it makes it suitable for gluten allergic people. Gluten sensitive people after consuming food that causes allergic reaction, might suffer from bloating, diarrhea, constipation and might develop a leaky gut syndrome. That is why their nutrients must be carefully chosen.
Where To Find Black Rice
You can find it in many health stores, Asian grocery shops, or at many gourmet foods markets. When purchasing it, try to find 100% black rice. Always check the labels prior buying it to make sure you are buying quality product.
How To Cook It
Black rice have a mild, nutty taste which is similar to the taste of brown rice. You need to soak it first for at least one hour before cooking it, but preferably for several hours.
After soaking your rice, rinse it and place it on the stove top with 2 cups of water for every one cup of rice. If you you have soaked the rice boil it 1/2h, and if you didn’t the boil it for 1h.
During boiling, check the texture and see if it is chewy and cooked enough. If not, keep boiling until it reaches the texture you’re looking for.
Hopefully, black rice will become new best used super-food…
Black Rice Coconut Pudding
Makes 4-6 servings
- 2 – 2 1/2 cups water
- 1 cup light coconut milk
- 1 cup Thai black rice
- 1/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar
- In a medium saucepan, mix 2 cups water, rice and coconut milk, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat
- Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 45 minutes or until rice is tender, stirring occasionally
- During the last 10 minutes of cooking, make sure to keep a closer look if you need to add some more water, 1/4 cup at a time,in case the rice gets too dry
- When the rice is tender, add the sugar and salt
- Simmer for a couple more minutes, or until pudding is desired texture
- You can add a little more water for a looser pudding or you can cook several more minutes for a drier pudding
- Taste and adjust the seasoning
- Put into individual bowls, top with whatever you prefer and serve
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