7 min


Rice is the staple food of India. Our traditional way of rice cultivation is very popular. Rice is a universal food. It is the staple food that supplies nearly two-thirds of the world. Besides, we are a country well known for rice production. This is our tradition, it’s a part of the world’s heritage. In this way, one of the unique rice varieties is black rice.


Firstly, there are more than 40,000 rice varieties. Likewise, each country has its unique variety. The outermost layer in rice referred to as the aleurone layer. And below it subaleurone layer undergoes a refining process. To get the rice grains, these layer gets milled off in this process. In addition, this layer also has various health benefits.


Firstly, the different types of rice are arborio, basmati, black, brown, jasmine, red cargo, parboiled, sticky, sushi, valencia, long-grain white, wild, calrose, etc. Further, each type has its own benefits.


This is a variety of pigmented rice that belongs to the species Oryza sativa. The pigmented component called anthocyanin is present in black rice, and hence the name black rice. There is various research about this rice and its various nutritional benefits. Besides, most people are unaware of the various health benefits of this rice.


This rice originated from China. There was a very interesting ancient history, this rice was stored for the Chinese emperor, this was the ancient Chinese practice. It was used as a tribute food for the emperor. So, the rich meal was given to the Chinese emperor to celebrate their victory, so the name ‘Emperor’s rice’ or ‘Forbidden rice’. It is very popular in various parts of China. This is cultivated in various parts of Asia. 


The other names include forbidden rice, emperor’s rice or purple rice. Black rice is diverse in colour due to the component Anthocyanin. It was prized in ancient times for its colour and high level of anti-oxidants. It is known as Chak-hao in Manipur. Where desserts made from this are very delicious and served at many feasts. In Tamil Nadu, called karuppu kowni rice or kowni rice. It has been known for its various medicinal purposes.


Black rice is rich in amino acids, fatty acids, antioxidants, flavonoids, anthocyanin, and other phenolic compounds. There are a total of 18 types of amino acids rich in black rice. These amino acids are rich in proteins which is very essential to our body. This helps our body to repair skin and improves digestion.


In addition, it is rich in other nutrients such as :

  • Vitamin E
  • Riboflavin (vitamin B2)
  • Niacin (vitamin B3)
  • Beta- carotene
  • Lutein
  • Zeaxanthin
  • Calcium
  • Chromium
  • Phosphorous
  • Iron
  • Manganese
  • Potassium
  • Zinc 
  • Copper 
  • Magnesium


Half cup of boiled black rice contains,

Calories: 173 calories

Proteins: 5 grams

Fat: 2 grams

Fiber: 3 grams

Carbohydrates: 3 grams

Sugar: 1 gram

Cholesterol: 0 mg

Sodium: 4 mg



Black rice is rich in anti-oxidants. Importantly, it appears deep in colour. Antioxidants inhibit free radicals produced in the body. The free radicals are produced as a result of molecular metabolism. In addition, they also prevent cell damage. The compounds present in black rice such as amino acids, flavonoids inhibit free radicals reaction. 

The outer layer of rice made up of two layers bran and hull. The component called anthocyanin is present in abundance in black rice, brown rice, etc. This component acts as an antioxidant to prevent diseases like diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and even cancer. This component improves brain function as well. There is abundant vitamin E present in this rice which is very essential for our skin. Usually, all types of rice undergo a refining process where the outer layer gets milled off to produce rice. This rice doesn’t undergo any refining process and rich in nutrients.


Firstly, roughage are nothing but dietry fibres. These substances break down carbohydrates, proteins, fats into simpler substances and improve our bowel movements. Improves digestion makes it an easier way.

Black rice is rich in 3 grams of fibre, this improves our bowel movements, breaks down the carbohydrates, proteins, and fats into simpler substances. This prevents constipation and aids in weight loss. Above all, this is a very good diet for weight loss.


Diabetes is a metabolic disorder. To clarify, the blood glucose level is increased. There are two types of diabetes, diabetes mellitus type 1 and type 2.

It is higher in antioxidants than other types of rice. It has a low glycemic index (GI of 42.3) compared to white rice (GI of 55) and brown rice (GI of 50). This can reduce the blood glucose level. The fibre present in this rice absorbs glucose. This whole grain rice is a storehouse of fibre. This fibre takes a longer time to digest, the sugar present in this rice will maintain normal blood glucose levels. Studies have proven that it has shown very good results in type 2 diabetes patients. Adding black rice to diabetic patients’ diet consequently reduces diabetes.


More than two-thirds of the population is overweight. Staying fit is very important for us to maintain good health. Weight loss helps us to boosts our confidence level, improves our energy level.

Black rice is an excellent source of protein and fibre which aids in weight loss. Moreover, it reduces the appetite and has the feeling of fullness after consumption thus prevents overeating. In a recent study, they have found that in a group of people it showed excellent results for weight loss.


The components such as lutein and zeaxanthin present in black rice are rich in carotenoids. These carotenoids prevent macular damage that is eye damage. these are rich in vitamin A which supplies nutrients to the eye


A gluten-free diet prevents vitamin deficiencies like vitamin B12, calcium, iron, zinc, vitamins like A, D, E, K. This type of diet also prevents celiac disease.

Celiac disease an autoimmune disorder, also called celiac sprue, non-tropical sprue, gluten sensitivity disease, it is characterized by diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, constipation, etc. Consumption of a gluten-free diet prevents celiac disease. Above all, black rice is naturally gluten-free rice, so people who are sensitive to gluten, suffering from celiac disease can add black rice to their daily diet.


Fatty liver also called hepatic steatosis, occurs due to the deposition of fat in the liver. On the other hand, occurs due to the consumption of a high-fat diet. Importantly, this black rice is an excellent liver detoxifier due to the presence of pigmented component anthocyanin in it. It has shown beneficial results in recent studies.


Firstly, the risk of cardiac diseases increases when the arteries start building up lipids which lead to plaque accumulation. Moreover, the consumption of black rice prevents the deposition of lipids in the arteries and also prevents the risk of stroke, atherosclerosis, peripheral arterial disease, etc. Interestingly they have found that it prevents atherosclerosis in cardiac patients. Moreover, not only diabetic patients, but cardiac patients can also add black rice to their diet.


The fibre that we get from black rice, prevents heart disease, reduces blood pressure, prevents the accumulation of lipids, thus helps to manage hypertension. Besides, it regulates weight loss, maintains lipid level in the body.


Inflammation is a sign of infection. To put in simple words, referred to as swelling or oedema. Most commonly oedema is a sign of kidney disease. In a recent study, they have found that black rice reduces inflammation. Moreover, they have found that its extract prevents chronic inflammation, cures various kinds of disease.


Similarly, it is rich in pigmented component anthocyanin, and in addition to its anti-inflammatory property, suppresses the undifferentiated tumour cell growth in cancer. Further, In recent research, they have found that black rice extract prevents cancer. However, this concept is under study.


Firstly, oxidative stress occurs as a result of an imbalance between production and accumulation of oxygen reactive cells. Further, they have found that black rice reduces oxidative stress and improves our brain function. However, it also maintains oxygen levels in the brain.


Asthma also known as bronchitis is a respiratory condition that narrows the airway and causes inflammation. Importantly, the component anthocyanin is known to prevent asthma.


To sum up, the pigmented component anthocyanin is deep black in colour, so it gives a purple hue. When soaked in water the colour of the rice changes to purple (hence the name purple rice). Further, various studies are being done about its beneficial effect in preventing various diseases. Currently, there are researches going on to study its benefits in treating Alzheimer’s disease. In addition, this forbidden rice can give us lead to a healthy lifestyle.

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Dr Shalini S.G
I am a dental surgeon. I love travelling and listening to music and a passionate person in research and doing lots of presentation. My area of interest is pathology, diagnosis and forensics.