Is Black Rice Really Healthier Than Brown Rice?

Bowl of Black Rice

Black rice has an ancient history, and was once nicknamed “forbidden rice” in China, because it was limited to the emperor and members of the royal family. Like brown and red rice, geneticists have determined that black rice has its genetic origins in a single crop in China about 10,000 years ago. Although black rice may look a little like wild rice, which has black grains, wild rice is actually a grass and is not related to rice at all.

Did You Know White Rice Is Processed?

Rice has many different characteristics. It may be short or long grain or may have high levels of amylopectin, which makes the rice very sticky when cooked (glutinous rice). Brown and white rice are not different varieties, by the way. White rice has simply been processed to remove the brown coating (and some of the vitamins!). Black rice also comes in different forms. There is a glutinous version and there are also black jasmine rice varieties.

Anthocyanins Are Powerful Antioxidants

Few foods are really the deep purple-black color found in black rice (eggplants are one). The dark color is an indication of high anthocyanin concentrations. Anthocyanins are powerful antioxidants, similar to those found in blueberries, which are noted for their health properties. Black rice is extremely high in anthocyanin and in China is revered for its perceived health-promoting qualities. It's lower in yields than other kinds of rice, which is another reason why it's not been widely available.

Cook black rice as you would any other kind of rice (it will turn the water a deep purple color). Its nutty flavor is more intense than that of brown rice, but it can be used as you would any kind of rice. You should be able to find black rice in large gourmet supermarkets; make this “forbidden” food a part of your real food weight loss diet.


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