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Health Benefits and Properties of Black (not Glutinous or Sticky) Rice

Updated on January 3, 2011

Black Rice

Black Rice has gained more popularity in recent years. While Asian people have been consuming this unique breed of rice for long time, Westeners has just realized its potential health benefits recently. Some studies have found that black rice has some superiorities over other rice breeds or foods. One of such studies was done at the Department of Food Science, Louisiana State University. Zhimin Xu, the scientists leader at the Department states that anthocyanin antioxidant which causes black or deep purple color in black rice is found to be higher than in blueberries or blackberries, the well known sources of the antioxidant. Because black rice is cheaper than blueberries or blackberries, so people may turn to black rice as a source of anthocyanin in the future.

Moreover, black rice is also found to contain less sugar, more fibre and vitamin E. Vitamin E is also an antioxidant, so its presence in black rice with anthocyanin enhances black rice antioxidative properties. Antioxidants have been always been known for its roles in fighting heart disease, cancer, and other major diseases. With less carbohydrate sugar but high carbohydrate fiber , black rice is a potential energy source for people with diabetes. Consuming black rice will prevent a rapid increase in blood sugar level, because the carbohydrate it contains is digested and absorbed from the digestive tract more slowly than ordinary white rice.

Claims have been made that because of high antioxidant contents of black rice, as well as its other superior nutritional properties, black rice may be our next superfood.

What is Black Rice?

There is some confusing information over the internet about black rice in which it mixed up with back gluten or sticky rice. Black rice and black sticky rice are two different things. Black sticky rice is the glutinous breed of black rice, but black rice itself is not glutinous. The main difference between non glutinous and glutinous rice lays in its starch (a carbohydrate) contents. There are two different starch: amylosa and amylopectin. In non glutinous rice, including black rice, most of the starch presents as amylosa. In glutinous rice, amylopectin dominates the starch component. The amylopectin has a sticky properties, that is why cooked glutinous rice is sticky.

In history, black rice had higher socio cultural values than ordinary white rice. While white rice has been the staple food in Asia since earliest time and consumed by everyone everyday until today, this is not the case for black rice. In China history, Black rice was known as 'forbidden rice', because it was not allowable for the common people to consume it. Black rice was only for the noble people. The main reason for this was because black rice was used in many ritual ceremonies. To maintain and respect the sacredness and holyness of these ritual ceremonies, the black rice was forbidden to be consumed everyday by common people. In that time, black rice consumption by ordinary people was thought to lower the sacred values of ritual ceremony. And everyone was in that believe and so obeyed the rule.

Now, in modern era, black rice has been available in the market. It is now available for everyone to choose as part of their healthy meal. So why not try to explore it?


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    • pinkhawk profile image


      6 years ago from Pearl of the Orient black rice was added in my dictionary of curiosity. I remember a variety called "perurutong", can it be considered as black/purple type because of its color? Thanks! ^_^

    • profile image

      sam rice 

      7 years ago

      black rice has been in the tradition of many Asians. black rice is a type of rice that has more health benefits than the regular white rice. check this site out for other health benefits of black rice:


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