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3 Health Benefits of Black Rice

Updated on February 6, 2012

Copyright 2012 - Kris Heeter, Ph.D.

Black rice a popular staple of more than a third of the world's population. It's recently been the subject of several research studies and some interesting health benefits have been identified.

Two studies in the last 18 months have found that black rice, or the bran (husk) from black rice has been:

  • shown to have anti-inflammatory properties
  • implicated in reducing the risk of some cancers
  • implicated in promoting heart health

Black rice has in interesting history - once considered "forbidden", its now making a name for itself, along with a red variant of rice (red rice has been touted for it's ability to lower cholesterol).

History of Black Rice

Black rice was once known as the "Forbidden Rice" in ancient China because emperors and nobles sequestered every grain of black rice for themselves. The common people were forbidden from eating it.

Emperors would reserve this nutty flavored rice for their own consumption because it was thought to have fountain of youth properties. They believed it would extend their lives. In addition, black rice was considered somewhat of an aphrodisiac.

As it turns out, their beliefs (at least the healing properties that were perceived to extend life) had some validity.

Health Benefits

A study out of the Department of Food Science at Louisiana State University Agricultural Center, finds that a spoonful of black rice bran contains more anthocyanin antioxidants than an equivalent spoonful of blueberries. Blueberries have been touted as a "superfood" due to their extremely high antioxidant levels.

In addition, it was found that black rice has with less sugar, more fiber, more vitamin E than blueberries.

Anthocyanin antioxidants are being studied for their role in fighting heart disease, cancer, and a number of other diseases that are linked to inflammation.

In animal studies, black rice bran is shown to reduce skin inflammation by 32 percent and can reduce swelling associated with allergic contact dermatitis.

Where Can Black Rice be Found?

In the U.S., black rice can be found in many local food co-ops.

Food co-ops (aka "food co-operatives", "food coops") are voluntary organizations owned and controlled by members with the purpose to provide low cost, healthy food primarily to co-op members and often to the public. I was able to find the variant Black Japonica™ (sold by Lundberg) at my local food co-op.

It is also sold in Whole Food marts across the country.

Have you ever had black rice before?

See results

Black Rice Recipes

Black rice can be used as a substitute for white or brown rice an almost any recipe. Instead of "Red Beans and Rice", why make it a red and black affair and go for "Red Beans and Black Rice"?

Or how about trying any of the following dishes that can be found a

  • Chinese Spicy Sesame Beef Stir-Fry with Black Rice
  • Asian Black Rice Salad
  • Eggs and Black Rice
  • Black Rice Risotto
  • Black Rice with Sweet Potato Scallions
  • Brazilian-style Calamari with Black Rice
  • Sesame Black Rice

Published Research

Choi et al., Protective Effects of Black Rice Bran against Chemically-Induced Inflammation of Mouse Skin. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 2010; 58 (18): 10007 DOI: 10.1021/jf102224b

Black Rice Rivals Pricey Blueberries as Source of Healthful Antioxidants. ScienceDaily, 2010.

Additional antioxidant and heart health articles of interest

The Health Benefit of Lignans

Hidden in some common plant foods that we eat, lignans are cancer-fighting compounds that can easily be added into a daily diet. Find out what foods contain these antioxidants.

The Benefits of Black Sesame Seeds - a little fountain of youth

Black sesame seeds have been touted as having the ability to prevent or reverse gray hair. Is it true that these little seeds have anti-aging properties?

Heart Healthy Kelp - "I'll Take That With A Little Seaweed Please"

Seaweed has been found to to be a heart healthy food that it contains bioactive peptides that act similarly to ACE inhibitor drugs and has been shown to reduce atherosclerosis and thrombosis.


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    • Kris Heeter profile imageAUTHOR

      Kris Heeter 

      6 years ago from Indiana

      @Ashraf - thanks for stopping by!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Thanks Kris!

      I can supply black rice from Bangladesh if anybody wants.


    • Kris Heeter profile imageAUTHOR

      Kris Heeter 

      6 years ago from Indiana

      @Taanishi - thanks for stopping by and adding to the conversation and hanks for sharing with us that black rice is abundant there in India too - I always love learning little extra facts like this from readers!

    • Kris Heeter profile imageAUTHOR

      Kris Heeter 

      6 years ago from Indiana

      @Bake Like a Pro - thanks for stopping by! I'm starting to find it more readily here too. I'm with you, I love the texture and taste!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      We have abundant amount of Black rice in the north east part of India, particularly in the state of Manipur ; because this part of India is not far from China !

    • Bake Like a Pro profile image

      Bake Like a Pro 

      6 years ago

      Great article Kris. I hadn't heard about black rice until my daughter told me about it a year ago. I finally found it in a specialty store after calling around. It's a delicious and very unique rice. I like its texture and taste. Nowadays regular supermarkets carry it which is great.

    • Kris Heeter profile imageAUTHOR

      Kris Heeter 

      6 years ago from Indiana

      @Jen - thanks for stopping by. I agree, using broth or stock really helps give it a nice flavor!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      It's easy to cook and has a nice nutty taste. Of course it goes well with stir fry dishes and many others. My whole family enjoys black rice. If cooked in broth or stock it tastes much better to us.

    • jojokaya profile image


      7 years ago from USA

      Great hub. I love black rice .

    • Kris Heeter profile imageAUTHOR

      Kris Heeter 

      7 years ago from Indiana

      @Rajan Jolly, Poohgramma and ExoticHippieQueen - thanks for the comments, they are much appreciated!

      Just an update on finding black rice - I was able to find it "briefly" in my local coop (the Lundberg brand that you see in the hub). But it apparently was only a specialty that they brought in and once it sold out they have not replaced it.

      On the other hand, I did found black rice mixed in with the Lundberg brand "wild rice" that is more commonly found here. That wild rice variety contains 4-5 different types of rice in it. I'll try to photograph and add a picture to the hub this weekend.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I thought I knew about all the different kinds of rices,

      but not black rice. I plan on going looking for it to try. Thanks!

    • Poohgranma profile image


      7 years ago from On the edge

      Thanks to rajan jolly for pointing me in the direction of this hub. I too, love rice and eat a great deal of it. I'll be checking our local co-ops to see if they carry this. Great hub!

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      7 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA.

      Kris, I have never heard of black rice. I wonder if its available in my country. I'm surprised to read that it has more antioxidants than blueberries on an equivalent basis. It could be called a superfood.

      Thanks for enlightening me with this hub.

      Voted up and awesome.

      Sharing this hub.

    • Kris Heeter profile imageAUTHOR

      Kris Heeter 

      7 years ago from Indiana

      @greatstuff - that's really interesting. I've tasted a white rice version of what you have described and I would imagine the black rice version would be very tasty too!

    • greatstuff profile image


      7 years ago from Malaysia

      Black rice is supposed to also assist problems like Alzheimer’s and Diabetes. In my country, the most popular form of eating the black rice is as dessert. It is like rice pudding but with coconut milk and brown sugar...I guess this recipe neutralizes the health benefits of eating black rice!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Thanks for sharing this interesting information Kris. To be honest I never knew there was such thing as 'black' rice. Now I know the benefits I would definitely love to try it out. Voted up...

    • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image

      Marcy Goodfleisch 

      7 years ago from Planet Earth

      I've always wanted to learn more about black rice! Thanks for the information here. One of my favorites is a pudding I get at Thai restaurants - it's basically black rice cooked with sugar (no milk). Heavenly. Voted up and interesting.

    • Kris Heeter profile imageAUTHOR

      Kris Heeter 

      7 years ago from Indiana

      @Rusticliving - thanks for stopping by, I'm glad this hub enabled you to learn more!

    • Rusticliving profile image

      Liz Rayen 

      7 years ago from California

      I only found out about Black Rice last year. I've wanted to learn more about it. This Hub is full of great info! Thank you! Voted up!

    • Kris Heeter profile imageAUTHOR

      Kris Heeter 

      7 years ago from Indiana

      @ debbie - glad to hear you at least have whole grain brown rice. I'm fortunate here with a large university, with such a very diverse ethnic population attending, we have some specialty stores. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts!

    • debbie roberts profile image

      Debbie Roberts 

      7 years ago from Greece

      I would love to try this rice, unfortunately we battle to get basic wholegrain brown rice here. Maybe in a few years..

      An interesting hub, it's always nice to read about other typeso of healthy foods - even if we can't get them here!!

      Thank you for sharing....

    • picklesandrufus profile image


      7 years ago from Virginia Beach, Va

      wow, who knew!? Thanks for this information. I will look for it from now on. Vote up!

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      7 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thanks for the interesting information, Kris. I love whole grain rice and have been able to buy it in several colors, including black and red as well as brown. They're all much tastier than white rice, and I know that they're healthier too!

    • randomcreative profile image

      Rose Clearfield 

      7 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      I will have to check this out sometime! Thanks for the great information.

    • Kris Heeter profile imageAUTHOR

      Kris Heeter 

      7 years ago from Indiana

      @pmccray - I'm glad your enjoyed the recipes!

      @triciajean - thanks for stopping by!

    • triciajean profile image

      Patricia Lapidus 

      7 years ago from Bantam, CT

      Great information, Kris. Thanks.

    • pmccray profile image


      7 years ago from Utah

      I'm definitely going to try this out, thanks for including the recipes. Hub was very informative, voted up, marked useful, interesting, bookmarked and shared!

    • Kris Heeter profile imageAUTHOR

      Kris Heeter 

      7 years ago from Indiana

      @dinkan53 - thanks for stopping by and I hope you found this information useful!

      @m0rd0r - I love all kinds of rice too! There is so much flavor in the wild and whole grain rices...

    • m0rd0r profile image

      Stoill Barzakov 

      7 years ago from Sofia, Bulgaria

      I love all kinds of rice. Thank you for doing this research for us.

      Voted Up and useful.

    • dinkan53 profile image


      7 years ago from India

      First time reading about black rice. Thanks for pointing out the health benefits of black rice. Rated as useful.

    • Kris Heeter profile imageAUTHOR

      Kris Heeter 

      7 years ago from Indiana

      @mljdbulley354 - I hope you can find it. I haven't seen it in a regular grocery store yet. Although some of the superstores often have a specialty section that sometimes carry it.

    • mljdgulley354 profile image


      7 years ago

      I had never heard of black rice. I will see if our grocery store has it and try it out.


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