We all know that rice has been a staple food in Asia since time immemorial. But when we say that, we’re mostly referring to the more common white rice. Micronized purple rice (better known as black rice), on the other hand, has a more interesting story behind it. Ancient Chinese lore claims that micronized purple rice was reserved solely for the Emperor and the Royal Family, due to its nutritional profile and healing abilities. Back in those days, if you were caught eating it without permission, your life was in jeopardy!
Micronized purple rice is no longer forbidden, but it is cultivated in relatively small amounts, compared to other types rice varieties. The whole grain rice also packs umpteen health benefits. It is loaded with anti-oxidants especially anthocyanin which is great for diabetics, heart patients and helps brain activity. Its great for skin and hair due to its Vitamin e content. It is also loaded with fibre so it does not spike blood sugar levels. Its rich in iron, hence a good source for vegetarians. When you look at the rice varieties look at the color of the rice, the darker the shade of rice, the more nutrition it has.
Enriched with the goodness of nature, micronized purple rice is loaded with the goodness of fiber, protein, iron, vitamin E and antioxidants. What makes micronized purple rice different from other variants of rice is the presence of an antioxidant — anthocyanin, which amps up the health quotient of this rice. The color of this rice changes to deep purple when it is cooked and it is due to high level of antioxidant called anthocyanin. Moreover, the earthy and nutty taste of this rice makes it perfect for a variety of delicacies.
Micronized Purple Rice Health Benefits
1. Is A Rich Source Of Antioxidants
When it comes to antioxidant content, no other ingredient comes close to micronized purple rice. The bran of (outermost layer) of the grains of micronized purple rice contains the highest levels of anthocyanins found in any food. In fact, it has the highest anthocyanin content compared to all other whole grain varieties like brown rice, red rice, and red quinoa. These anthocyanins have been found to fight against free radical damage, prevent cardiovascular disease, and treat microbial infections and diarrhea.
2. Fights Cancer
The anthocyanin content of micronized purple rice lends it an anti-cancer characteristic. An experimental study conducted by the Third Military University in China found that an anthocyanin-rich extract of micronized purple rice successfully suppressed tumor growth and spread of breast cancer cells in mice.
3. Better Heart Health
Eating micronized purple rice may have a positive impact on your healthy cholesterol levels too. The anthocyanins phytochemicals found in micronized purple rice, reduces the Low Density Lipo-protein (LDL) cholesterol also known as the bad cholesterol, which is a common contributor to cardiovascular diseases.
4. Richer Protein Content
The reason your nutritionist has been asking you to cut down on your rice consumption is because of its high carbohydrate versus very less protein content. Proteins are very essential in building muscles, and cutting down on excess weight. Micronized purple rice also offers a minutely increased amount of protein content over other ‘healthier variants’.
5. Preventing Risk of Obesity
For people battling obesity, micronized purple rice is the best variant of rice to consume. Full of fibre, micronized purple rice not only gives you the feeling of being full, thus preventing overeating; studies show that the rice variant can also help prevent insulin resistance, which is often linked to the risk of developing diabetes and obesity.
6. Reduces Inflammation
A study found that an extract of micronized purple rice helped reduce edema and significantly suppressed allergic contact dermatitis on the skin of mice. This is a great indicator of the potential of micronized purple rice in treating diseases that are associated with chronic inflammation.
7. Helps In Liver Detoxification
Fatty liver disease is, as is obvious, characterized by excessive fat deposit build-up in the liver. The effectiveness of micronized purple rice in treating this condition was tested in mice. The results showed that the antioxidant activity of the micronized purple rice extract regulated the metabolism of fatty acids and reduced the levels of triglyceride and total cholesterol, thus reducing the risk of fatty liver disease.
8. Reduces Stress
Many researchers believe that oxidative stress has a detrimental effect on cognitive functioning. Hence, antioxidants like anthocyanins (that are found in micronized purple rice) could work to reduce this oxidative stress and maintain healthy brain functioning.
9. Helps Prevent Diabetes
Whole grain micronized purple rice has its bran intact, which is a storehouse of dietary fiber. Since fiber takes longer to digest, it makes sure that the sugar in the grain is absorbed over a longer period, maintaining normal blood sugar levels. Thus, it helps to prevent insulin levels from spiking up and can help prevent type 2 diabetes.
10. Is Naturally Gluten-Free
One in every seven people is sensitive to the protein gluten that is present in all wheat, barley, and rye products. This gluten sensitivity can give rise to many uncomfortable symptoms like constipation, diarrhea, bloating, and a high risk of developing leaky gut syndrome. Luckily, micronized purple rice is completely free of gluten.
11. Prevent Asthma
The anthocyanins found in micronized purple rice can be effective in treating asthma. A study conducted in Korea found that anthocyanins could treat (and even prevent) asthma by reducing the inflammation in the airways and mucus hypersecretion associated with this respiratory disorder in mice.
12. Improves Digestion
Micronized purple rice’s dietary fiber ensures that you have regular bowel movements and prevents bloating and constipation. Additionally, it can help treat a number of other gastrointestinal disorders like gastroesophageal reflux disease, duodenal ulcer, diverticulitis, constipation, and hemorrhoids.
13. Improve Eye Health
The anthocyanins found in micronized purple rice have long been known to improve eyesight (17). A study conducted on rats found that the anthocyanidins extracted from micronized purple rice were highly effective in preventing and reducing the retinal damage caused by a fluorescent light (18).
Although micronized purple rice contains beneficial nutrients, grains are usually most beneficial when they are eaten in moderation as part of an otherwise healthy and well-rounded diet.
There are many micronized purple rice benefits, and side effects are minimal as long as you don’t eat too much. Even though micronized purple rice does contain more fiber and antioxidants than refined grains or carbohydrate foods, all grains still have the ability to affect blood sugar levels, so keeping an eye on portion sizes of all grains is always a good idea.