So I was chatting with a friend the other day and she asked me if I have ever heard of…”forbidden rice“.
At first I thought she was joking, but as I was chuckling she proceeded to ask if I have ever tried it at home cooking for the kids or if I ever incorporated it into my diet.
Needless to say I haven’t, and as she proceeded to tell me that I absolutely need to buy some, I thought I would do a little more research to see what this “forbidden rice” was all about, so lets take a closer look!
What Is Forbidden Rice?
Forbidden rice is nothing more than black rice, and to be completely honest with you, I never even knew black rice was a thing. When it came to rice I was only familiar with a few…White, Aborio, Jasmine, Wild and Brown to be specific.
What separates black rice from the pack? Well, like brown rice, black rice is unpolished, meaning that the hull of the grain (which is also a fantastic source of insoluble fiber) is still intact. Black rice provides a whopping 3 grams of fiber per half of scoop.
Even better than the high fiber content, only black rice contains anthocyanins, the same antioxidant compounds that make blueberries and blackberries such valuable additions to our diets. These compounds are what turn the rice a deep purple as it cooks.
Black Rice And Heart Health:
As diabetics we all know how important it is to eat a healthy lifestyle and even incorporate exercise to not only help our blood sugars, but to keep our heart healthy and in peak performance.
Per the Center of Disease Control and Prevention, heart disease is the leading cause of death in the US for both men and women, accounting for one in every four deaths.
So how does black rice help in this area?
Well, per a study by the Journal of Nutrition:
Black rice has been show to decrease atherosclerotic plaque in the arteries. When this plaque builds up, it causes the arteries to harden and become blocked.
It’s a major risk factor for both heart attack and stroke. In this particular study, male rabbits were injected with high levels of cholesterol in order to cause this plaque formation. They were then divided into five groups, four of which were fed high cholesterol diets, one without rice and the others with various types of rice, including black.
The plaque was 50% lower in rabbits fed black rice (or red rice) than in those fed with white rice. Researchers conclude that the antioxidants in black rice may play a role in reducing atherosclerosis.
You can read about the entire study here
Black Rice and Weight loss:
Now, we all know that there are a TON of products out there that make claims (typically false) when it comes to losing weight. That being said, one of the best ways to shed those unwanted pounds is diet modification and transitioning to healthier food choices and black rice is certainly a fantastic option.
Granted this is just one study and both a mix of brown and black rice was used, but per a 2008 study by the Department of Food and Nutrition at Hanyang University in Korea:
Researchers divided 40 overweight adult women into two groups for a six week study.
One group ate meals containing white rice, while the others ate almost identical meals – the only difference being the white rice was replaced by a mix of black and brown.
Even though both groups had significant reductions in weight, BMI and body fat, the brown/black group enjoyed greater reductions in all three areas, when compared with the white rice group.
It should also be noted that black (as well as brown) rice have much higher fiber contents. Foods that are higher in fiber tend to keep us feeling fuller for a longer period of time, so could it just be the fiber that is causing the weight loss? Absolutely. Certainly more studies would need to be done, but you can check out the study right here.
Black Rice And Protein:
As diabetics, we all know how important it is to keep our blood sugars in a normal range so we don’t continually ride that roller coaster. One of the best ways to do that (outside of insulin) is with foods that are higher in protein as well as fiber.
The reason your doctor or nutritionist has been advising you to cut down on your rice consumption (or all high glycemic foods for that matter) is because of its high carbohydrate vs protein content which can very easily (and quickly) send your blood sugars into the stratosphere.
By now most of us are aware that protein is a vital component when it comes to building muscle, cutting down on blood sugar spikes and helping cut down on those unwanted pounds. Black rice is a perfect food choice to help in all three areas.
When it comes to this little superfood, black rice offers an increased amount of protein content when compared to other food sources.
Most notably, it contains 8.5 grams of protein in a 100 gram serving. While brown and red rice contain 8 grams and 7 grams of protein respectively for the same serving.
On the other hand, white rice contains only 4.2 grams of protein, not to mention, with white rice, you’ll see your blood sugars take off like a rocket ship, definitely not something we want to be seeing or dealing with.
All in all, after researching this little powerhouse, I’m extremely impressed. Between the high protein content, coupled with the high fiber content this is absolutely looks like a fantastic food choice to help minimize blood sugar spikes when it comes to sitting around the dinner table. When I head out food shopping this week, I’m going to see if I can pick some up and I’ll report back to give everyone my thoughts, so until then, stay tuned!
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