Everyone knows that brown rice is healthier than white enriched rice, but news only three hours ago alerts nutritionists that black rice is even healthier. Black rice? Most of us in the Western world never knew that such a rice exists. We knew of course that the tiny grains of rice often vary in shapes, and that brown rice is the choice for health enthusiasts. And we knew that brown rice was brown because it had not been refined, and most of its health properties remained.
The recent news has sent many of us scurrying to the Internet to search out rice. What other varieties lay hidden? What are the most popular choice and why are some rice types healthier than others? The hidden and unheard of variety is the old time rice that is still grown in some of China’s back and little heard of country. And also in other Asian countries. The most popular choice, in the Western world, is enriched white rice that is relatively inexpensive. It is by far the least healthier of the many other types of rice.
Expert chefs, knowledgeable about rice cookery, use the type of rice in recipes that best fit their purpose. In other words, to get the best rice pudding, they use a rice that is somewhat sticky when cooked, for a side dish of rice, they use a rice with grains that stand alone when cooked. Asian cooks know this and they are more adept in rice cooking than the usual European or American cook is. That is why their rice is tastier than ours. Knowhow makes the difference. To distinguish between the differnet types of rice in general, check out rice sources online. Simply google Rice + varieties and sample the offerings.
But that is not the question here. More to the point of this discussion is what types of rice are healthier and why. Rice in general, that is lumping all rice, at least all white rice, into one large category and comparing the rougher variety, the unrefined variety to the refined variety, to get the basic answer to that question is simple. The husk that is removed has the most nutrition and that, basically, is why brown rice – rice with the outer bran still remaining – is healthier than refined rice.
Yet today’s news upsets the rice bowl. Black rice is even better than blueberries as being antioxidant, one news source proclaims. Those words are startling because we in the Western world, or some of us – have never heard of black rice. (All apologies to those who are less ignorant than we are)That shocking colored fact had us – at least one of us – scrambling to the Internet to find out where it is grown. And why, we want to know we had never heard of it. The fact of yet another super food being proclaimed from the high heavens had nothing to do with our enthusiasm and our eagerness to learn, we’ve been inoculated against such pronouncements.
The Answer: “Black rice is a heirloom variety of rice cultivated in Asia. It is typically sold as an unmilled rice, meaning the the fiber-rich black husks of the rice are not removed. The unusual color makes black rice very popular for exotic desserts, and the high nutritional value is an added benefit.”
Its the color principle. The rice is actually a deep purples which is probably near black and that fits it into the category of the antioxidant foods such as beets, blueberries and other deeply colored foods. The article did not say it was actually that much higher in content, only that as compared to the other foods it was less expensive. And as such was being offered as an overall healthy food choice for those who cannot afford the higher priced foods.