Is Black Rice the Next Super Food?

By , SparkPeople Blogger
There are many cost effective and nutrient rich foods. Brown rice is one choice frequently selected as a side dish or to stretch a casserole. We have known for a while that fruits such blueberries and blackberries are high in antioxidants. New research presented at the American Chemical Society meeting has found that black rice might top them both in the cost effective nutritious super food category.

In China, black rice is known as "Forbidden Rice." This term was coined for the common person since it was primarily used only by the nobles. Today, there are many varieties of black rice used in Asia in favorites like sushi, pudding, as well as the emerging area of food decoration. The unmilled dark husks color the grain during cooking and give it a purplish color that cause some to refer to it as purple rice. Add to that the fact that black rice is categorized as a brown rice, and you can see why it can be a very confusing grain.

Here are some helpful quick facts about black rice.

  • It provides a fragrant aroma and a nutty taste and is lower in gluten compared to other rice. It is naturally high in iron (which leads to its color), as well as being high in fiber because of the bran.
  • It is rich in anthiocyanin antioxidants which assist in reducing risks of heart disease, cancer and other diseases. The new research suggests black rice bran extract will be used as additives in cereals, beverages, and baked goods. Be on the lookout for marketing hype touting these products as a good source of antioxidants.
  • The bran contains vitamin E compounds (same as in brown rice) that serve as antioxidants that reduce low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL) and may help fight heart disease.
  • Their bran extracts produce a variety of colors which could provide a healthier option for manufactures use in foods and beverages in place of artificial colorants.
  • Important to allow a slightly longer cooking time with slightly more water (quarter cup) during cooking due to the bran husk. Soaking the rice in water for at least an hour before cooking will help produce a tender product.
  • Has a short shelf life. It is best to store black rice in a cool cellar or under refrigeration and use within three months.
Recent research by a professor at Louisiana State University Agricultural Center found that black rice grown in Louisiana provides similar antioxidant properties to blueberries. Since the benefits are in the bran, it is important to be certain you are selecting varieties that have the bran intact. With farms in Louisiana showing interest in growing black rice, I'm sure we will see this grain more in the future.

Have you ever heard of or tried black rice? What do you find most interesting about this potential new super food?

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I would like to try it Report
I had black rice at a benefit dinner once... It had been precooked then steamed with pineapple inside a banana leaf. I just saw some at a local store for the first time last week and have been thinking about making some myself. Report
I love it, too. The only problem is the price. It's quite expensive. Report
No,Had not heard about it or seen it. Report
I'm not sure...I go to a couple of Asian stores and a couple of MIddle Eastern stores and I've gotten Basmati and Jasmine rices before. Not sure I've seen the black rice there, but will look for it However, at the health food store, they have rices in bulk, and last time I was there, I saw one called "Purple Rice" which looked more black - but when it was cooked, it looked purple. (Being from Kansas, I took it to potluck at church, but instead of calling it "Black Rice" I called it "K-State PowerCat Rice" and it was a hit!!

So ... if the purple rice is the same thing as black rice, I'm on it already! If not, I'll just keep looking. I love different types of rices!! Report
I recently purchased "all Natural Minnesota Cultivated Wild Rice. It is black in color. What is the nutritional difference?? Report
I don't understand the info regarding black rice having less gluten than regular rice. Rice doesn't contain gluten.
Wheat, barley, rye and triticale contain gluten. There is some debate whether oats contain gluten, but most research suggests that the gluten comes from cross-contamination and is not inherent in the grain itself. Report
you inspired me. i bought some, and we had it for dinner. yummy! i even put a quarter cup in my veggie omelet this morning. thank you! Report
Do you have to find it in health food stores? It sounds like it would be good for dirty rice.. Report
I've never heard of it, but if it's purple, I'll love it! LOL I love just about anything that is purple! LOL Just kidding! I'd like to try it out. Report
No, I am not familiar with black rice. But I have cooked red rice, but can't find it in stores. Can't even remember where I purchased it. Also had a hard time finding nutritional content of it. Report
I'm intrigued. I am a rice lover and with food allergies/sensitivities, it tends to be a handy staple and base for my meals. Thanks for the info! Report
I love black rice although it is hard to find here in the UK. It tastes great and looks really stylish. Wonderful as part of an oriental flavoured rice salad. Report
We like brown rice quite a bit so I would definitely try the black variety. Report
I blogged about black rice earlier in the year and I love the stuff. Eat it 4-5 times a week! Here is the link to my blog about it on SP:
Is this the same as wild rice? Report
If this lives up to what is stated here, it could be very worthwhile adding it to a diet plan. I am interested in anything that is minimally processed and as close to a "whole food" as possible. This has very intriguing possibilities, if this information is correct, and I will be watching with great interest. Thanks much for the heads-up! Report
I would love to try this. I'll just have to wait and find it at one of the local health food stores. Report
i've never heard of it and it isn't stocked by my local huge supermarket. Strange. Does it have another name? Report
I love it! I buy it at Asian markets. Report
I enjoy black rice, but it is so expensive, I only buy it rarely. Report
I ate black rice once from a Korean restaurant in NYC, but haven't seen it ever since. It was delicious and looked purplish. Since its becoming more popular, maybe I'll get to find it soon enough. Report
I've never heard of black rice before either. Once it's selling in the grocery stores, I'll purchase it then as I'll try anything once. I like that it has a nutty flavor as it will be a change of pace and change is good! Thanx for the recipe! Report
I looked at Amazon - 20.00 for shipping? Must be a mistake, when Ihave more time I'll figure it out. donna Report
I love black rice, it has a lovely nutty flavour, but sometimes it is difficult to get in the UK.
I will try Amazon to see if they have it here. Report
I have never heard of BLACK RICE before. Were would you get it? I can't wait to try it. Report
I love black rice -- it is the absolute best even on it's own. I don't eat white rice nor do I even eat brown rice now that I have black rice. It is nutty in flavor and has lots of substance, so, if you can find it, try it and I think you will really like it. :-) Report
we LOVE black rice after discovering it at World Market when we were stationed in Corpus Christi - it's got a nutty flavor and is a good change from brown rice. definitely a must try if you can find it! Report
I have never heard of black rice. Would like more information on this super food. Report
I've never heard of black rice until now. I'm going to have to keep my eyes open for it. Report
LOVE black sticky rice, but don't eat it because black, brown or white, sticky rice is a sugar storm. Report
I have never heard of it but I will be looking for it now that I know about it. Report
Sometimes the guest house we stayed at in Bangkok would serve black rice for breakfast. It was good, but I haven't cooked it at home. Report
I hadn't realized this product had a shorter shelf life. I have 2 varieties of black rice at home, a short grain sticky rice and a long grained rice. I also have long grain red rice which cooks up a darker mahogany color that I really like. Sometimes I let these soak all day. Put them in water in the morning and cook them late afternoon. It shortens the cooking time a little. They are all three really slow cooking. I have been able to get them at an Asian Market and also at Whole Foods Report
SHERRY822, I loved your comment! Tricking the family is sometimes necessary to get them to eat healthy, so I totally get it! I love, love, love rice, but as a post-op gastric bypass patient, I eat very little of it (it fills me up too quickly). I would try black rice in a heartbeat. I haven't met a rice I haven't liked yet! Thanks for the suggestion, as I had never heard of black rice. Report
I have not tried black rice, but do love brown rice, wild rice, and basmati. I will have to try the black. Report
At my local Ralph's, I've gotten "black pearl" rice in single serving containers that you microwave for one minute. It was tasty and very convenient. I'll have to look for it again. It was in the Asian foods section. Report
Ive been eating this for years. Yes it's a tad spendy, but then, I consider myself a 'rice snob' and will only eat basmati, jasmine, black, red rice. It's a taste, nutrition, and aesthetic choice. Truth be told; I am sorely disappointed when I eat at a Thai or Indian restaurant and they serve plain, short grain, lower quality rice. That makes my decision never to eat there again. Report
Love the aroma while it is cookingI just received a 12 box shipment from Amazon. my favorite recipe i s this
Forbidden Black Rice Salad
Recipe by Mitch Madoff, Whole Foods NYC Commissary/Deli
This is Whole Foods Market, NYC best selling salad!
2 cups Forbidden Rice
3 1/2 cups water
2 Tbls Tamari
3 Tbls Sesame Oil
1 pound roasted diced sweet potatoes
3/4 cup diced red peppers
3/4 cup diced yellow peppers
1/2 bunch sliced scallions
Bring rice, water and pinch of salt to a quick bowl, cover and lower heat to a simmer for 30 minutes. Let rice sit while you whisk together sesame oil and tamari. While rice is still warm toss in the sesame oil and tamari mixture. Let cool, then add sweet potatoes, red peppers, yellow peppers, scallions, and salt, pepper to taste.

I went to an asian market looking for red rice which I was told helped with lowering LDL levels. I found the red rice & discovered the black rice and bought both. The black rice tastes the best of the two in my opinion, but I select the red sometimes due to color balance with other foods I am serving at a specific meal. Both are actually very good. Report
I've made forbidden rice; it's delicious. Report
I have not hear of it and doubt that I would be able to find it locally. The only Store in town is a Walmart and since they remodeled they have apparently been thinking: If we don't have it, you don't need it" They dropped a lot of items from their shelves. Report
I have not heard of it before but will be looking for it now. Report
I have never heard of it, but would like to try it. I wonder where you buy it? Report
I believe Black Rice could become the rice to use. Report
never heard of it till now Report
I have a Thai friend who used to make rice pudding with it. I had looked a year ago at our whole foods, but didn't see it. Now I'm going on a serious hunt for it. Report
I've noticed black rice at my local Asian grocery and have been curious about it. At the mention of additional health benefits I am definitely going to have to give it a try! Report
I'll be on the lookout for it. If I can put it into my rice steamer, preparation hopefully won't be too much of an issue. Report
I've seen this before at local organic grocery stores and whole foods, but I've never tried it.
I've seen it in bulk bins, and in packages from LotusFoods: / .

I'd like to try it at some point, but right now we have a few different varieties of rice to enjoy.
When I cook, it's just for the two of us - my husband and myself. I have to keep in mind the shelf life of products - we don't want to waste. Report
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