Is Black Rice More Nutritious Than Brown Rice?

Move over brown rice - there's a new superfood in town. Nutrition Diva explains the nutritional advantages of black rice.

Monica Reinagel, MS, LD/N, CNS
1-minute read

Q. Could you shed some light on the benefits of black rice?

A. Like brown rice, black rice (which is actually more purple than black) retains the outer bran layer that has been removed from white rice. As a result, both brown and black rice are higher in fiber and some nutrients, and are also heartier and chewier. Although both black and brown rice qualify as whole grains, black rice probably wins the nutrition derby.

The pigments that give black rice its dramatic hue are actually anthocyanins - the same antioxidant compounds that give blueberries, purple grapes, and goji berries their royal coloring. Anthocyanins have been linked to a number of health benefits, from a reduced risk of heart disease and cancer to enhanced cognitive function. A serving of black rice gives you the same amount of anthocyanins as a serving of blueberries. 

It'll also set you back a bit. Once reserved only for emperoros, black rice still commands a princely price. 

Just one last note: Don't confuse black rice with wild rice. Although wild rice is also black (and also rich in anthocyanins) it's not rice at all, but a species of grass. Wild rice is about twice as high in protein and fiber as black rice. 

Isn't it fun to have so many nutritious options to choose from?

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

About the Author

Monica Reinagel, MS, LD/N, CNS

Monica Reinagel is a board-certified licensed nutritionist, author, and the creator of one of iTunes' most highly ranked health and fitness podcasts. Her advice is regularly featured on the TODAY show, Dr. Oz, NPR, and in the nation's leading newspapers, magazines, and websites. Do you have a nutrition question? Call the Nutrition Diva listener line at 443-961-6206. Your question could be featured on the show.