Vegetarian

Black Rice: The New Superfood?

| by Kate Wharmby Seldman

Westerners have only recently been introduced to black rice, which used to be called "forbidden rice," because only emperors were deemed special enough to consume it. Now it's showing up in gourmet dishes all over the US. Black rice has all the health benefits of brown rice, but could also have a huge advantage: it may help get rid of inflammation associated with asthma, allergies and other conditions. 

Black rice is full of fiber, and high in vitamin E and iron. It also contains anthocyanin, an antioxidant substance that shows up in purple, red and blue foods like grapes, eggplant, and blueberries. Anthocyanin helps protect the body against cancer and heart disease. One spoonful of black rice bran (equivalent to ten spoonfuls of cooked black rice) has the same amount of anthocyanin as a spoonful of blueberries, according to Zhimin Xu, an associate professor at the Department of Food Science at Louisiana State University, who was interviewed by AOL Health.

As for its anti-inflammatory powers, studies indicate that black rice may stop the release of histamine, which is a neurotransmitter that causes inflammation when you have an allergic reaction. Studies done on mice suggest that black rice is more powerful than brown rice when it comes to suppressing allergic skin reactions.

You can find black rice at Asian markets, and probably soon in your local health food store, if it's not there already. Buy the whole-grain version to reap all the benefits of this superfood.

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