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3 Reasons to Try Black Rice

Not a brown rice fan? Black rice may make a whole grain lover out of you yet.

By
Monica Reinagel, MS, LD/N, CNS,
April 4, 2017
Episode #424

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I have a confession to make. Although I know that brown rice is more nutritious than refined white rice, I actually prefer the softer texture and milder flavor of white rice … especially white basmati rice.  Because I don’t eat rice all that often or in large quantities, I often choose white rice instead of the more virtuous whole grain brown stuff.  (In truth, the nutritional differences are not as big as you might think.)

But my discovery of black rice (sometimes called Forbidden Rice) has changed everything. Like brown rice, black rice is a whole grain, with all of the fiber-rich bran and nutritious germ intact.  In fact, black rice has even more fiber (and protein!) than brown rice.

But where black rice really shines is in its antioxidant content. The deep pigmentation of black rice (which is actually a very dark purple) comes from anthocyanins, the same compounds that give blueberries their color—and health benefits. 

Anthocyanins help protect your heart and brain, lower your cholesterol, and may even guard against cancer and dementia. In fact, anthocyanins may be responsible for many of the health benefits attributed to diets high in fruits and vegetables.

Black rice is (by far) the richest source of anthocyanins of any grain. Take that, brown rice.

How Does Black Rice Taste?

Like brown rice, black rice is chewier and denser than white rice. But it really doesn’t taste like either white or brown rice.  It’s plumper, almost juicy. And its flavor is more robust and complex. If you can imagine it, it’s almost like a cross between brown rice, black beans, and huckleberries. (Black beans and berries are both good sources of anthocyanins, come to think of it.)

OK, that might not sound all that appealing but trust me on this: While choosing brown rice over white rice always feels like a bit of a sacrifice to me, black rice feels like a big upgrade!

Keep reading to learn how to cook black rice ...

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