December 1, 2023 9:01 AM

Health Myths And FactsIs Black Rice As Healthy As The Claims Are? Is It Worth Consuming Despite Its Cost? See What Experts Say

Black rice, also known as ‘forbidden rice,’ has long remained a hidden treasure in the world of culinary delights. This ancient grain is gaining popularity for its unique flavour, impressive health benefits, and striking dark hue. But, is black rice as healthy as the claims are? Additionally, black rice is quite expensive, so is it worth purchasing it?

In this regard, ABP Live sought the opinion of experts who explained the benefits of black rice and suggested if we should still have it despite its costs. In addition to that, they also went on to bust some myths regarding black rice.

But before that, let’s know what black rice is.

What Is Black Rice And Its Nutrient Content?

Moupiya Patra, who is a Consultant Clinical Dietitian, M.Sc, CDE, at Apollo Clinic, Nigdi, Pune
“Black rice is a wholegrain rice with a dark purple colour determined by its high level of antioxidants. As black rice is not refined on its way to you, it retains its natural minerals and vitamins, including Vitamin E, high levels of fibre, and 9.9g of protein per 100g serving, higher than many other rice and grains. We Know as an antioxidant – anthocyanin helps to reduce CVD and helps to reduce inflammation. Black rice has historically been prized for its association with health and vitality in Italy and China. In India, although rice is a staple food, black rice is not commonly included in our diet.

Health Benefits Of Black Rice:

Dr Neeti Sharma, who is a Sr. consultant- Nutrition& Dietitics at Marengo Asia Hospitals, Gurugram listed down the health benefit of black rice or forbidden rice:-

  • It is very healthy and controls your weight. Additionally, black rice boosts your eye health and protects against cancer, diabetes, heart disease and reduce inflammation in your body. It also improves digestion and your immunity and it is low in carbs. It is also low in sugar, fat and salt which is also important to improve our diet and maintain health.
  • Black rice contains a boost of nutrients that help your body work properly such as Vitamin E, calcium and potassium. It has more protein, fibre and iron than other types of rice and contains high levels of amino acids, antioxidants and fatty acids . For example, one cup of black rice around 100gms contains a good source of iron, calcium, fibre and antioxidants.
  • Carotenoids are a type of antioxidants which is found in black rice and help protect the healthy cells in your eye especially your retina and also helps to reduce harmful effects of ultra violet radiation, thereby preventing the growth of cancerous cells.
  • Black rice contains plant based chemicals and antioxidants that can improve your body sensitivity to insulin. This process helps you to use glucose better and so this is very friendly with diabetic patients.
  • Black rice is naturally free of gluten, so people with sleep disease and gluten intolerance can safely eat black rice.

Taste Of Black Rice:

Dr. Sheela Joseph, who is a Nutrition Consultant, at SPARSH Hospital, Bangalore said, “It may not be as tasty as white or brown rice, but integrating black rice into the diet is beneficial for health. Rice is the primary diet for many people, so replacing some of the ordinary rice with black rice can be a wise decision, providing a distinct flavour and superior nutrition. Though it’s not very popular in South India and few people also experience diarrhoea and discomfort. Investing in long-term health is always an intelligent move, even if it comes with a somewhat higher price tag and an acquired taste.”

Some Myths And Facts About Black Rice:

Garima Dev Verman, who is a Certified Nutritionist and Medical Content Analyst with The Healthy Indian Project (THIP), a Health Literacy Platform debunked myths related to black rice:

Myth 1: Black rice is genetically modified.   

Fact: Black rice is not genetically modified. Its dark colour is a result of natural pigments called anthocyanins, which are also found in foods like blueberries and purple cabbage.

Myth 2: Black rice is a recent discovery in India. 

Fact: Black rice has been grown in India for centuries, particularly in the northeastern states like Manipur and Assam. It is a traditional crop and has historical significance in certain regional cuisines.

Myth 3: Black rice is not as nutritious as white rice. 

Fact: Black rice is often considered more nutritious than white rice. It is rich in antioxidants, fibre, vitamins, and minerals. It has a lower glycemic index, making it a healthier option for those watching their blood sugar levels.

Myth 4: Black rice is difficult to cook. 

Fact: Cooking black rice may take slightly longer than white rice, but it is not particularly difficult. It can be steamed, boiled, or cooked in a rice cooker just like other varieties of rice.

Myth 5: Black rice is hard to digest.

Fact: Black rice is not inherently difficult to digest. Like other rice varieties, the digestibility of black rice largely depends on how it is prepared and cooked. When cooked correctly, it should not pose any digestive issues. 

[Disclaimer: The information provided in the article, including treatment suggestions shared by doctors, is intended for general informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.]

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