The best way to improve your physical and mental wellbeing is by incorporating healthier foods into your diet. The easiest way to do this is by making small healthy food swaps. The best way to do that, is by substituting better options with the foods you’re already eating.
One simple swap you can make is substituting white rice for black rice. According to Healthline, white rice is highly processed and lacks a lot of vitamins and minerals because it’s been stripped of its outer coating.
With the lack of nutrients present in white rice, it’s mainly composed of empty cabs in the form of starch. As a result, the carbs in white rice also have a higher glucose level of 64 and can spike your blood sugar.
Black rice, otherwise known as “forbidden rice” due to its dark purple color, has a vast amount of health benefits. By substituting white rice for black rice, you’re regaining all of those lost nutrients in white rice and you can use black rice in any dish you’d use white rice for.
There are six main nutritional benefits in black rice that are not found in white rice. The experts weighed in and here’s what they found.
Jason Priest, registered nurse, personal trainer, and fitness nutrition specialist refers to black rice as a superfood that’s extremely nutrient dense. He explains that:
“Black rice is 100% whole grain with 2 grams of fiber per serving.”
This extra fiber comes from the outer layer, otherwise referred to as bran which is still intact as opposed to white rice.
Fiber not only keeps you fuller longer, but it’s also important to your gut health. Fiber helps keep your digestive system on track and foods that are high in fiber also absorb sugar slower, which keeps your glucose levels from rising too fast.
Black rice is also a great source of protein and contains 5 grams per 1/4 cup. Your body uses protein to repair and build tissue. Protein is also the building block of bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood.
According to WebMD your total daily serving of protein should be six ounces to support a healthy system. Working more protein into your diet will help you better function throughout the day, and can assist in building muscle and healthy bones.
3. Complex Carbohydrates
Jasmine Shirley, Nutrition Coordinator agrees that rice is high in protein and fiber, which makes it a complex carb. These complex carbs pack more nutrients than the simple carbs that come from white rice. Complex carbs can also be more filling, which can help with weight loss.
Shirley also explains that:
“complex carbs are slowly digested and slowly absorbed into your body and the sugars are slowly absorbed into the bloodstream, which means that you will have energy that lasts longer and negligible spikes in insulin levels.”
Controlling insulin spikes with complex carbs is also ideal for people with type 2 diabetes.
Shirley also adds that black rice also has vitamin E, which is good for your immune health, skin and eyes–protecting cells from damage.
According to Medical News Today, Vitamin E also prevents inflammation and has anti-aging benefits. This powerful vitamin may even reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer.
Black rice also contains a small amount of vitamin B and about 4% of iron per serving. Adding these vitamins to your diet can help with your immune health and protect you from disease.
5. Lower Calories
Shani Bachar RD, LD explains that black rice is lower in calories than white rice. Black rice contains fewer calories because it has less carbs and more fiber and protein than white rice. The carbs from white rice are what makes up the bulk of its calories, so with fewer carbs, comes fewer calories.
The calories that do come from black rice are also more beneficial to your body and can help with digestion. The complex carbs found in black rice are digested slowly, and when your body works harder to digest food, it can contribute to weight loss.
The intense color of black rice contains anthocyanin which has a list of its own health benefits. Deborah K. Orosz, MS, CNS explains:
“the purple black color comes from the anti-oxidant class, anthocyanins. Black rice is loaded with anthocyanins that promote cardiovascular health, improve brain function, and reduce inflammation.”
There have also been several studies that provide insight into the benefits of anthocyanins in black rice.
In a recent study, Orosz explains that the anthocyanins in black rice “were shown to reduce liver damage due to obesity by alleviating both oxidative stress and inflammation.”
Another study from Louisiana State also indicates that just a spoonful of black rice contains more anthocyanins than in a spoonful of blueberries. In addition, there is also less sugar, more fiber, and vitamin E antioxidants.
Certified Culinary Nutritionist Trudy Stone also adds that anthocyanins contain compounds which help to improve cognitive function and also promote healthy aging for more youthful skin while offering skin protection.
One serving size of black rice is ¼ cup and contains 1.5 grams of fat, 34 grams of carbohydrates, and 2 grams of fiber and 5 grams of protein.
Black rice is also nutrient rich and contains Iron, Magnesium, and Zinc, just to name a few. In addition to the nutritional value associated with black rice, it can also assist in preventing many diseases including diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and heart attacks.
Give the “Forbidden Rice” a Try!
Even making small swaps between white rice and black rice can have numerous health benefits. This is one of the many small food swaps you can incorporate into your meals to eat healthier.
The nutritional value in black rice far surpasses white rice and can be mixed with any dish white rice can be found in. Making these changes in your diet will also help your physical and mental wellbeing and can help in preventing disease and illness.