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Oriental Foods Series;Angkak(red rice) Uses and Health Benefits
Angkak is traditional food made from microbial transformation.it is red purple, a color it gets from the Monascus species of molds .It has many names depending on the oriental region, Japan ,China, Taiwan all have different names for this “red rice” .In the market, it exists in many forms; whole grain, powder ,red cake or as wet paste.
It is made by growing Monascus purpureus on rice, of which the husk and the outer layers have been removed. The rice is steeped until it is drenching wet, to the wet rice a culture of the mold or the spores are introduced. The rice is then mixed and left for 3 to 6 days at room temperature. After the incubation period is over the color of the rice is usually red-purple. The red rice is then prepared for packaging depending to the desired form.
Angkak or red rice is incorporated into the Chinese cuisine and tit is prepared and served as the normal white would. In addition to the nutrient contained in white rice, Angkak contains the secondary metabolites of the monascus purpureus which are namely lovastatin, monacolin k which reduce the amounts of lipids in blood.
It is also used as a red coloring agent especially to rice wines.
Initially, it was used traditionally by herbalists to help in inflammation, indigestion, blood vessel blockages, stomachaches, delirium tremens (drunkenness).
In contemporary medicine, red rice is used in the regulation of “bad fat” due to its high amount of natural statin called lovastatin which is a HMG CoA reductase inhibitor-don’t worry about the science. Statins interfere with the body’s enzymes which have the capacity to make cholesterol. Reducing the amount of cholesterol in blood promotes blood circulation subsequently decreasing the chances of heart diseases.
It is a diet supplement sold over the counter approved by the Food and Drug Administration though its use is still controversial.