Black Rice: The New Cancer-Fighting Super Food
By Danica Collins
Did You Know… that black rice may be the new cancer-fighting super food?
Rich in antioxidant anthocyanins, exotic black rice is a whole-grain that competes with the antioxidant potency of fresh fruits. A study presented at the 240th National Meeting of the American Chemical Council confirmed that one spoonful of black rice bran—equivalent to 10 spoonfuls of cooked black rice—contains the same amount of antioxidants as a spoonful of fresh blueberries.
Researchers at Louisiana State University analyzed bran samples from black rice grown in the southern United States and found them replete with low-sugar, high fiber plant compounds that have been proven to prevent heart disease and fight cancer.
“Just a spoonful of black rice bran contains more [specific health-promoting antioxidants] than are found in a spoonful of blueberries, but with less sugar and more fiber and vitamin E antioxidants,” said Zhimin Xu, Associate Professor at the Department of Food Science at Louisiana State University Agricultural Center.
Black rice was revered in ancient China as the most rare, nutritious and tasty of all rice. In fact, the Chinese referred to it as “forbidden rice” only to be eaten by nobility. Unfortunately, it fell out of favor through the centuries, and is now used in Asia primarily as food decoration and as a component of noodles, sushi and desserts. It’s still a complete rarity in the West, although its new status as a super food that can fight cancer and prevent heart disease may bring it out of hiding and back into favor.
Bursting with Anthocyanins
Like many other super foods—including blueberries, acai and carrots—black rice is loaded with anthocyanins, the antioxidants that give these foods their intense colors.
Anthocyanin antioxidants deliver multiple powerful health benefits, such as…
- -Eliminating harmful free radical molecules
- -Protecting arteries from plaque buildup
- -Protecting against DNA damage that causes cancer
The darker the rice the better. White rice has been stripped of the healthful anthocyanin-rich bran that makes black rice so nutritive. The bran of brown rice has been shown to contain higher concentrations of gamma-oryzanol antioxidants that lower LDL “bad” cholesterol and help prevent heart disease. Black rice has all this and much more!
Because the anthocyanins in black rice are water soluble, they can reach areas of the body that fat-soluble antioxidants cannot, which is why numerous studies have linked diets high in these antioxidants to lower risks of heart disease and cancer, as well as a host of other health benefits.
Get Creative with Black Rice
Be inspired to get creative with implementing this purple-hued super food into your diet. It has an intense, nutty flavor that unlocks a hint of fruit as you chew. If the taste is a bit too earthy, then blend the rice kernels into a powder and sprinkle on fish, meat… even pancakes! Experts advise that when purchasing black rice, you should look for “whole black rice” at the top of the ingredient list to ensure purity.