Black rice gets its signature black-purple colour from a pigment called anthocyanin, which has potent antioxidant properties. Picture: Wikimedia Commons
Black rice gets its signature black-purple colour from a pigment called anthocyanin, which has potent antioxidant properties. Picture: Wikimedia Commons

The health benefits of black rice

By Viwe Ndongeni-Ntlebi Time of article published Apr 14, 2020

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We all know that rice has been a staple food in South Africa for many years. But when we say that, we’re mostly referring to the more common white rice.

However, over the years and during lockdown, we have seen a growing trend of black rice.

It may be attributed to the fact that black rice is loaded with enormous health benefits, which makes it a perfect healthy option to go for.

Black rice gets its signature black-purple colour from a pigment called anthocyanin, which has potent antioxidant properties.

In ancient China, it’s said that black rice was considered so unique and nutritious that it was forbidden for all but royalty.

Here are some of the health benefits of black rice: 

Heart health 

Research on black rice’s effects on heart health is limited. However, many of its antioxidants have been shown to help protect against heart disease.

Flavonoids like those found in black rice have been associated with a decreased risk of developing and dying from heart disease.

Another study analyzing the effects of a high cholesterol diet on plaque accumulation in rabbits found that adding black rice to the high cholesterol diet resulted in 50 percent less plaque buildup, compared with diets containing white rice.

Reduces inflammation

What makes black rice so unique is its high level of anthocyanin content, which lends it its powerful antioxidant property that helps to reduce chronic inflammation.

Researchers at Ajou University in Korea have found that black rice works wonders in reducing inflammation. The study found that an extract of black rice helped reduce edema and significantly suppressed allergic contact dermatitis on the skin of mice. This is a great indicator of the potential of black rice in treating diseases that are associated with chronic inflammation.

Gluten-free

Black rice is naturally gluten-free and can be a good option for those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity.

People with celiac disease need to avoid gluten, as it triggers an immune response in the body that damages the small intestine.

Gluten can also cause negative gastrointestinal side effects, such as bloating and abdominal pain, in individuals with gluten sensitivity

High in fibre 

This dietary fibre ensures that you have regular bowel movements and prevents bloating and constipation.

Black rice also contains lots of fiber that is good for maintaining our digestive health. It is also a great source of plant-based protein which is great news for vegetarians and vegans, and provides minerals like iron and copper. 

One cup of black rice has approx 6 grams of fiber, which helps the body to stay satiated and makes you feel full even if you consume small quantities of it.

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