We all know brown rice is healthier than white rice. Until recently, those were the only rice options I considered. Black rice is a less popular rice that I have only recently discovered. Black rice is a great option that is very nutritious and high in antioxidants. White rice is less nutritious for good reason. White rice that has been polished has had many valuable nutrients stripped from it. After stripping it of its nutrients, rice manufacturers then enrich white rice by adding some nutrients back to it. However, not all of the lost nutrients are added back. I prefer nutrients that are a natural part of food rather than those that have been added back as part of a manufacturing process.
Black rice has the same nutritional benefits of brown rice, with an extra benefit. Black rice is high in antioxidants. It contains anthocyanin, which is the same antioxidant found in other foods known to be rich in antioxidants, such as blueberries and cherries. In fact, anthocyanins are what give blueberries their blue pigment. Anthocyanins can have blue, red, or purple pigments. On second glance, black rice has a purplish color. This becomes more evident when black rice is cooked. On a budget? Black rice comes with a lower price tag than blueberries and cherries.
Anthocyanins reduce cholesterol and have an anti-inflammatory affect, as well as a potentially anti-viral affect. Studies have linked anthocyanins to contributing to the treatment of diabetes. Similar to blueberries, anthocyanins give black rice the ability to help your brain by protecting against neurological diseases. That means it may help lower the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Anthocyanins may also improve eye function, such as night vision, on a temporary basis. Anthocyanins are also known for improving cholesterol levels.
Next time you make a rice dish, why not give black rice a try? With a mildly nutty flavor, black rice goes well with a variety of foods, so don’t be shy. Cooking black rice is a little different then cooking its white and brown counterparts, so read the section on how to cook it to learn the method. If your local grocer doesn’t sell black rice, check a farmer’s market, Whole Foods, or Amazon. Don’t forget to check the bulk foods section, which is where I found black rice hiding at my local farmer’s market.
How to cook black rice
Use a 2:1 water/rice ratio. Therefore, if you’re cooking 1 cup of rice, use 2 cups of water.
- Rinse the rice well to remove starches.
- If you have time, soak the rice overnight.
- Place the water and rice in a pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cover. Simmer for 25-30 minutes, or until water is absorbed.
- If you did not soak the rice, the cooking time will be 60-75 minutes.