Superfood Highlight: Black Rice the “forbidden rice”

Black rice is so rich and tasty, I don’t think it receives enough publicity. It has quickly become known as a ‘super food’ and it’s also known as the “forbidden rice” according to the history books.

In ancient times, Emperors reserved this wonderfully nutty rice for their own consumption because it was thought that it would extend their lives; actually, it seems they weren’t that far off the mark.

Black rice does provide many health benefits, including conditions such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, and others. The Emperors were pretty smart people, it is surely a great way to extend the length and quality of your life.

Black rice natural healing power consists of antioxidants, Vitamin E, Fiber, and valuable anti-inflammatory properties, this special rice is truly extraordinary in its abilities. What’s really incredible about Black Rice is the fact that it contains even more antioxidants (per serving) than blueberries; which are famous for their anti-aging properties according to the American Chemical Society.

Vitamins, Minerals And Fiber
Black rice is a healthy source of minerals, especially iron. It contains vitamin E and is lower in sugar than berries that have similar phytochemical qualities. Black rice is fiber-rich and nutritionally similar, though not identical, to whole grain brown rice.

Brown rice and black rice are antioxidant-rich, but only black rice contains anthocyanins, the purple and dark red pigments that color and add valuable nutrients to blueberries, grapes, blackberries, dark cherries, raspberries and acai berries. Anthocyanin antioxidants are associated with health benefits, such as memory improvement and decreased risk of heart disease and cancer.

One spoonful of black rice bran provide the same amount or more anthocyanins than a spoonful of blueberries according to 2010 study examining the influence of anthyocyanins on some chronic health conditions. The results of this research were published by Zhimin Xu, Ph.D. and presented at the 240th National Meeting of American Chemical Society in Boston. The antioxidants in black rice may help fight heart disease and reduce blood levels of “bad” cholesterol, which is low-density lipoprotein or LDL.

Black rice contains a higher concentration of anthocyanins than any other food including blueberries and tart cherries. The consumption of anthocyanins can be effective in reducing inflammation. A study published in August 2004 in the “Behavioural Brain Research” journal revealed that the presence of anthocyanins were not only effective in reducing inflammation, but also effective in reducing the pain associated with inflammation. Therefore, black rice is an effective anti-inflammatory and analgesic.

The anthocyanins contained in black rice have anti-oxidant properties and anti-inflammatory properties. Research shows that anthocyanins also have chemotherapeutic properties. A study published in December 2009 in the “International Journal of Oncology” revealed that the presence of anthocyanins inhibited growth and, in some cases, destroyed human colon cancer cells. This research is encouraging for the use of anthocyanins and substances that contain anthocyanins as effective chemotherapeutic agents.

Current research has also revealed that anthocyanins can also be an effective treatment for asthma. A study published in August 2007 in the “Food and Chemical Toxicology” journal showed that anthocyanins effectively counteracted several free radicals that induce airway inflammation and mucous secretion, which decreased the symptoms associated with asthma. This research proves that black rice, with its rich anthocyanin concentration, would effective at treating the symptoms associated with asthma.


  1. Induction of Apoptosis in Human Colon Cancer HCT-116 Cells by Anthocyanins Through Suppression of Akt and Activation of p38-MAPK
  2. Linus Pauling Institue at Oregon State University: The Possible Health Benefits of Anthocyanin Pigments and Polyphenolics
  3. Anthocyanins Inhibit Airway Inflammation and Hyperresponsiveness in a Murine Asthma Model

9 thoughts on “Superfood Highlight: Black Rice the “forbidden rice”

    1. I’m not surprised! Many people don’t know that it exists and it’s very healthy for you as you can see. It’s also very easy to prepare. Once it’s cooked it has a purplish color. I like mines served cold mixed with butternut squash, cherry tomatoes, red bell pepper, carrots and cranberries. Let me know if you like black rice.

  1. I just stumbled upon this article. I LOVE black rice. I cook it and cool it, then add tomatoes, cucumbers, herbs with a light dressing. It makes a great salad. I’ve seen, multiple times, black rice from China should be avoided. It can contain higher levels of arsenic.

    1. Yes it does! Some other grains like Amaranth. buckwheat, Miller and polenta has little to no levels of arsenic. Some grains like brown rice has higher levels of arsenic. I suggest rinsing any grain thoroughly under cook water before cooking it. That helps to get some out. Then rinsing again after it’s cooked also reduce arsenic levels. I hope this was helpful. Rice shouldn’t be your main starch source. Look into root vegetables like yams, yuca, sweet potato and even regular potatoes.

      1. I am primarily vegan, so very aware of all this, but others may not be. Having a Filipino husband, we always rinse rice. I also soak my black rice and then rinse it.

      2. That’s good and you are right! Many people are not aware. My family is Jamaican/Cuban plus more LOL, so I grew up with a lot of rice. Even now I’m surrounded by it when I go to my family functions. It’s hard when it’s in your culture but everything in moderation.

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