Cultivated rice is different from wild rice. They are the ones that we grow for food. Genetic research shows that all types of cultivated rice originate from China about 100 centuries ago. Two species came out of that batch. We have African rice and Asian rice. These two species have now turned into many hundreds of various cultivars. The cultivars differ in many ways. Some of them have long grains, while some have short ones. And the levels of their amylopectin differ too. Those with high levels turn out to be very sticky upon cooking them. We call these types of glutinous rice. And then, there are different colors too. The different colors are pink, red, brown, and black. So then, what is forbidden rice? It is the variant of rice that is also called black rice.
Japanese researchers carried out a study recently to analyze the genomes of 21 forbidden rice varieties. They also compared these variants with some similar red and white types. They wanted to know more about why and how these variants turned out black. Their finding was amazing. The realized that all the variants originate from Japan. They also found the exact gene in Japanese rice that was mutated. This genetic mutation triggers forbidden rice to produce anthocyanin (an antioxidant) in large amounts. This antioxidant is responsible for the black color of the rice.
So What Is Forbidden Rice?
Forbidden rice is somewhat odd-looking. It has a deep and very dark color. Some will refer to this color as purplish black. It’s rare to find this color is natural food products. More so, it comes in various ways but it’s often glutinous. There are, however, black jasmine varieties also.
Let’s clear this once and for all. This rice variety’s color is black. But that is not a reason to think that its odd color means it’s a sinister food. That something is black naturally in no way implies that it’s bad. It’s just the same way white color doesn’t always mean something is good or favorable.
That dark/black color of forbidden rice is as a result of excess anthocyanin. Forget about the black color. Anthocyanin is a very powerful antioxidant. You will find it in most dark-colored plants. Talk about those blueberries, dark-purple eggplants, concord grapes, and so on.
In places like China, black rice is highly revered because of its spectacularly high anthocyanin levels. They consider it to be very healthy food. But it’s quite delicate to grow. When it comes to its yield, you should expect just about 10 percent, compared to other varieties.
Another name for forbidden rice is black rice or “the emperor’s rice”. Why is it called “the emperor’s rice”? We learned from oral history that the richest people in China were the only ones who could afford this delicacy in those days. The common man was forbidden from growing it, talk less of consuming it. That was why they labeled it “forbidden rice.”
These days, however, you can find black in many large gourmet supermarkets. And it’s very delicious. It has some form of an earthy and nutty taste. It’s like a stronger brown rice flavor. But it has a texture closer to that of white rice (glutinous varieties to be precise).
Benefits of Forbidden Rice
1. Lots of antioxidants
The deep-black color or purple hue that characterizes black rice comes from its abundant antioxidants. No other grain in this world has the level of abundant anthocyanin that you will find in Black rice. When we say none, this includes red quinoa, red rice, brown rice, and other colored grains, including whole grains.
Anthocyanin can lend to the prevention of cardiovascular disease. It also restricts free radicals. That, in turn, helps prevent diseases like cancer, diabetes, and others. It would also help reduce inflammation and improve your brain function.
2. Amazing fiber source
Black rice varieties have about 3g fiber in each half-cup serving. What’s the value of its rich fiber content? It helps to prevent constipation, bloating, and diarrhea, as well as regulate your bowel movements.
Fibers also help to bind up waste and toxins within your digestive tract, which assists your body in flushing it out easily from your system. Fibers also give you a feeling of satiety after eating. That prevents over-eating and, in turn, adding excess weight.
3. Natural Detoxifier
Forbidden rice contains phytonutrients. These help to cleanse your body of toxins that may cause diseases. These phytonutrients also help your liver function better.
Your liver is the major organ that eliminates unwanted substances from your body.
4. Lesser Obesity Risks
If you are battling obesity, you had better start consuming black rice. It’s full of fiber and helps prevent (or manage) insulin resistance. That helps reduce the risks of both obesity and diabetes.
5. Lesser Diabetes Risks
Whole grains are generally better than refined carbs for preventing obesity and diabetes. The grain’s entire bran is where you’ll find great amounts of fiber. Fiber aids the absorption of glucose by your body over time. As your body maintains consistent glucose levels, the risk of having diabetes lessens.
6. Better Cardiovascular Health
Eating forbidden rice might positively impact your cholesterol levels. Anthocyanins reduce LDL cholesterol, which mainly contributes to heart diseases. Aside from that, it reduces your total cholesterol profile.
Cooking Forbidden Rice
Cooking forbidden rice is just like cooking rice types. You should use a 1 to 2 ratio of rice to water. Heat the water till it starts boiling before you add your rice. Let it simmer while covered until water is fully absorbed, and your rice becomes tender.
Note, however, that cooking forbidden rice would take about ten minutes longer than white rice and other types. But that’s not too long to wait for the delicious, nutritious, and satisfying meal that you would get.
Now that you know what is forbidden rice and all of its benefits, as well as how you can cook it, shouldn’t you try it out? We think you should. You are surely going to love it.