Black rice, commonly called forbidden rice or purple rice, is one of a variety of rice type (Oryza sativa) grown in very few countries. It got its “forbidden” name due to the fact that it was once restricted/reserved for consumption only to royalty due to its apparent scarcity.
However, nowadays, black rice is available in Europe, Australia, as well as the United States of America.
Below are various health benefits of black rice;
1. Completely Gluten-Free
Black rice ranks higher, health-wise, than numerous other sources of fiber and protein owing to its gluten-free properties. This makes it especially beneficial for people who are allergic to gluten or have been medically advised against its consumption. With major fiber sources like barley and wheat containing gluten, black rice is a safe option. Consuming black rice keeps away the possible side-effects of gluten, including bloating, indigestion, diarrhea, and gut-related problems.
2. Heals Inflammation
A group of Korean experts conducted a study with black rice and discovered that it can play a pivotal role in reducing inflammation of the skin. Scientists are also exploring the remedial properties of forbidden rice in treating patients with severe cases of inflammation. A test by some Korean researchers was conducted on mice, and it revealed that certain proportions of concentrated extract, of black rice, were able to control dermatitis, edema and other allergy-related skin problems.
3. Packed With Antioxidants
Forbidden rice contains a high proportion of anthocyanins, which are vital antioxidants that improve the overall immunity of the body, and fights various infections effectively. The rice bran is packed with more anthocyanins than those of quinoa, red rice or brown rice. The antioxidant-rich nutrients are also known to inhibit a host of cardiovascular illnesses.
4. Keeps The Heart Healthy
Studies have shown that forbidden rice regulates the level of cholesterol, which in excess, is the most prominent cause of cardiovascular problems. For a healthier lifestyle and as a shield against the clogging of arteries, the kidney, and strokes, it is often recommended that white rice should be replaced with black rice. Doing this enables the body to benefit from the antioxidants and maintain cholesterol at a sustainable and healthy level.
5. Anti-Cancer Properties
The Third Military University in China conducted ground-breaking research on black rice on model mice, which proved that black rice has the potential to not only prevent cancer but reduce the growth of existing cancer drastically. The antioxidants found in black rice were discovered to be particularly effective in curbing the spread of breast cancer.
6. Cleanses The Liver
The liver is one of the most adversely-affected organs when it comes to a sedentary lifestyle or unhealthy eating habits. The deposit of unprocessed fat can prove to be fatal. The antioxidants found in forbidden rice have delivered great results in reducing the risk of a fatty liver. A test conducted on mice revealed that black rice extract was instrumental in optimizing the metabolism of fat and fatty acids. This brought down the triglyceride level as well as the cholesterol level, ultimately preventing the formation of a fatty liver.
7. Helps In Weight Loss
For people who wish to lose a few pounds, infusing a healthy portion of black rice in their diet can go a long way in achieving that goal. Although black rice is not suitable for a paleo diet, it is rich in fiber and has a low calorie and carbohydrate count. Consuming black rice keeps the stomach satiated and reduces cravings considerably.
8. Optimizes The Functioning Of The Brain
The cognitive functions of the brain can be negatively impacted as a result of excessive oxidation within the body, and can eventually cause cognitive disabilities. Yet again, antioxidants can regulate this process and can ensure that the brain functions healthily. The Medical University in Bulgaria conducted research on a sample set of mice and found that the anthocyanin-content of black rice extract assisted in enhancing the brain’s ability to grasp new information, learn and memorize.
9. Regulates Blood Pressure
Apart from ensuring the health of the heart, the fiber-rich nutrients of black rice also keep blood pressure under control. Beyond maintaining it at a normal level, making black rice a part of your everyday diet can enhance the metabolism of glucose, offer relief from severe inflammation and bring down lipid levels. All these properties protect the blood pressure from rising to abnormally high levels, thus protecting the heart from cardiovascular incapacitation.
10. Relief From Asthma
Anthocyanins have curative and preventive properties that are effective against asthma. These antioxidants work at the ground-level, inhibiting internal respiratory inflammations or infections that could obstruct the circulation of air. It also prevents the excessive secretion of mucus which puts the individual at risk of breathing problems. These observations were made by a research group in Korea, based on an extensive study conducted on mice.
11. Reduces The Risk Of Diabetes
The fiber-rich contents of black rice take longer than other fiber sources to be completely digested by the body. This means that the sugar from the grains is processed at a steady, gradual pace, which helps in keeping the level of blood sugar normalized. The gradual process prevents the sudden spike of insulin, which is often the cause of type-2 diabetes. Studies have shown that the remedial effects of certain varieties of black rice are as strong as metformin, a drug used to treat diabetes.
12 Prevents The Buildup Of Arterial Plaque
Arteries are shielded against blockages that can hamper the healthy pumping of blood. Arterial plaque is one such blockage, which was discovered to be the result of excess cholesterol. The plaque-like deposits on arterial walls make them thick and hard, until it obstructs the proper flow of blood, causing high blood pressure. This condition makes the body prone to fatal cardiovascular diseases like strokes or cardiac arrests. Research has proven that the antioxidant contents of black rice can absorb cholesterol effectively, prevent the plaque layers from forming on the arterial walls, and thus, maintain optimal blood flow.
13. Improves Digestion
Fiber is known for its ability to ease digestive issues such as constipation, bloating and more serious disorders like gastrointestinal diseases. Black rice is rich in fiber, which translates into the regularization of metabolism and a clear digestive system. This helps in treating illnesses like hemorrhoids, duodenal ulcers, gastroesophageal reflux disorder, and similar digestive problems.
14. Prevents Celiac Disease
Extreme sensitivity to gluten often leads to celiac disease. Since black rice is completely devoid of gluten, its consumption can have healing effects on people who are prone to severe symptoms and effects of celiac disease such as impaired absorption of nutrients, leaky gut syndrome and severe diarrhea.
15. Improves Eyesight
The antioxidants that are found in black rice protect the retina of the eye from being damaged. Apart from being preventive, the anthocyanins are also known to heal retinal damages. This plays a significant role in maintaining healthy eyes and enhancing eyesight. These findings were the result of a study conducted on mice, where they were first exposed to harmful fluorescent light and then treated with anthocyanin.
16. Is A Safe Source Of Carbohydrates
In comparison to refined carbohydrates like white rice, consuming black rice provides healthier carbohydrates. This, combined with black rice’s gradual digestion process and reduced sugar absorption help in fighting inflammations and infections. Another notable factor is that white rice is consumed without the bran, while black rice has an outer layer of bran. The bran is also rich in fiber, which eases digestion, makes the body feel full and assists in portion control.
17. Lowers Chances Of Dementia And Alzheimer’s
The brain relies on the combative and regulatory properties of antioxidants to function effectively. While the lack of antioxidants can result in the weakening of the brain’s cognitive ability, it can also lead to brain diseases like dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. Anthocyanins work fiercely against excessive oxidation, helping the brain to carry out its functions without impairment. A six-year study also resulted in the finding that people who consumed black rice as a regular part of their diet were likely to delay cognitive decline by up to 2.5 years.
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