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The Forbidden Rice – What is Black Rice

Posted by TTN Palawan on

The Name

An intriguing name for rice, but this is how Black rice is also called. This name dates back to Ancient China, where it was considered a very valuable commodity. The production of this grain was very limited so it was banned for common folks' consumption and was only reserved for Chinese royalty and nobility.

Rice In Asia

Black RiceRice is generally a staple in Asian countries for the longest time. Black rice is considered either special, like in China, or can be associated with lower status, like brown sugar. In the Philippines, white rice can be more favored than the other colored rice such as Black, Brown, and Red rice because white rice is associated with higher status (as is fairer skin tone, white bread, and white sugar, etc.). The Philippine island of Mindanao has started creating cooperatives that encouraged local rice farmers to plant black rice having 500 hectares (1235.53 acres) of land dedicated to producing Black rice. The province of Cotabato in the island of Mindanao do not only produce Black rice for Philippine consumption but also for other neighboring countries such as United Arab Emirates (Dubai), Macao, and in the West such as the Netherlands and other European countries. Because of the growing clientele, mainly outside the Philippines, farmers are becoming more eager in planting colored rice such as Black to export.

Health Benefits

Food Matters Let Food Be Thy Medicine Hippocrates

Today, Black rice is not only a trendy superfood in the Western countries but it is also popular for its amazing nutrient profile. Take a look of the tables below showing it's nutritional value and the comparison between the types of rice in terms of their nutritional value.


 Calories 160 gms
 Total fat  2 gms
 Cholesterol  0 mg
 Sodium  4 mg
 Potassium  268 gms
 Total Carbs  34 gms
 Dietary fiber  3 gms
 Sugar   0 gms
 Protein  5 gms
 Iron  6% (of daily value)


  Polished White Rice Red Rice Brown Rice Black Rice
Protein 6.8g 7.0g 7.9g 8.5g
Iron 1.2g 5.5g 2.2g 3.5g
Fiber 0.6g 2.0g 2.8g 4.9g


As shown above, Black rice is lower in calories than white rice -- 160 versus 204. So for those who want to lose weight without having to give up eating rice, you might want to give black rice a try. Aside from being low in calories, black rice is also rich with flavonoid phytonutrients which protect us from diseases and also maintains a healthy brain function. Black rice is also rich in fibers which are good for our digestive health. For vegetarians and vegans, Black rice is a great source of plant-based protein.

What makes Black rice a lot more superior than the other rice colors is that it contains high levels of anthocyanin antioxidant which helps to prevent chronic inflammation.

It is also observed that a spoonful of Black rice has more antioxidant properties Black Rice Mealthan a spoonful of blueberries or blackberries. “Just a spoonful of black rice bran contains more health promoting anthocyanin 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 in Baton Rouge, La. USA

Just as fruits are rich in this antioxidant anthocyanin, Black rice also has high levels of this which is very promising in fighting heart disease, cancer, and other diseases. The black pigment in black rice extract can also be used as a healthy alternative for food colorants. It' can produce colors from pink to black. Studies have connected artificial coloring to diseases such as cancer and even to behavioral problems in children and other health problems.

As Black Rice becomes easier to access or is becoming more available not only in the Philippines but all over the world, and as it's impressive nutritional benefits are going out in the public, I don't think that what happened in Ancient China will happen again. This rice should never be forbidden again from the general public. Never...

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