We all know that the love Singaporeans have for rice runs deep — we could even say it is like a national treasure in Singapore! As much as we love the common white or brown rice, we find that it is time to shine the spotlight on the hidden gem of rice — black rice.

Below, Beauty Insider lets you in on the ultimate guide to black rice and why you should start adding it into your daily meals! 

What is Black Rice?

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Coined as the ‘forbidden rice’, black rice was known to be an exclusive commodity reserved for the Chinese emperor during the ancient times. In present day, black rice has cemented its place amongst rice lovers for being a healthier alternative for other forms of rice.

They are touted for their high antioxidant levels, which is often associated with reducing the risk of cancer and cardiovascular diseases. Plus, they are known to contain high levels of fiber, which makes it great for maintaining one’s digestive health. Although one might expect that black rice would appear, well, black, it turns into a deep purple after it is cooked. Varieties of black rice include the Thai jasmine black rice as well as the Indonesian black rice.

How is Black Rice Any Different from White Rice?

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We are all too familiar with white rice. After all, it is almost like an unspoken rule that Asians have to incorporate rice into our daily meals! White rice is essentially milled rice grains, or otherwise known as processed rice. The hull (hard protective coating), bran (outer layer) and germ (nutrient-rich core) of white rice grains are stripped away, which explains its polished, shiny white appearance. As a result, white rice lacks the necessary vitamins, minerals and fibres needed.

On top of that, white rice is known to rank higher on the glycemic index. The Glycemic Index indicates the rate of how quickly the foods can cause an increase in glucose levels. As white rice is known to cause a spike in an increase of blood sugar levels at a faster rate, this can result in a higher likelihood of increased fat. For this reason, many fitness junkies tend to steer clear from white rice.

When compared to black rice, it is easy to see the major differences between white rice and black rice. Firstly, while white rice has 225 calories, black rice has a much lower calorie rate of 200. In addition, black rice is known to have a lower glycemic index as compared to white rice, which means that it is absorbed into the bloodstream at a slower rate.

What About Brown Rice?

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The wholegrain counterpart of white rice, brown rice has garnered a reputation for being the healthier version of white rice. In contrary to white rice, brown rice grains retain their bran layer and germ. For this reason, brown rice has more fibrous content, as well as vitamins and minerals.

While black rice and brown rice are known to be the healthier alternatives to white rice, there are many distinguishing differences between the two. Firstly, black rice is known to have lower carbohydrate content than brown rice. So it looks like working those carbs off will not be such an arduous task. Furthermore, black rice has higher levels of fiber and protein as compared to brown rice. To top it off, black rice is also known to rank lower than brown rice on the glycemic index. Talk about eating healthy!

Benefits of Black Rice

Loaded with Antioxidants

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When it comes to antioxidant levels, black rice is unmatched against its other rice counterparts. Black rice is known to contain the highest levels of anthocyanins, which is known for a myriad of health benefits, including fighting off cardiovascular diseases and treat microbial infections. What’s more, anthocyanins are known to protect the skin from any UV damage and stimulates cell regrowth. Healthy body AND clear skin? Count us in.

Helps with Weight Loss

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Do away with the crash diets and lose weight the healthy way! To kickstart your healthy diet plan, try incorporating black rice into your meals. As black rice is high in dietary fibres, consuming it allows you to feel full in an instant. Plus, it is low in carbohydrates and calories too! So you do not have to put in extra effort to work off that cheat meal.

Improves Heart Health

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Feeding your body with the good stuff is key to protecting the health of your heart! Studies show that the anthocyanins in black rice help to improve cholesterol levels, which is the main culprit of various heart-related diseases. Moreover, anthocyanin helps to reduce the risk of clogged arteries by preventing any plaque-build in the arteries.

Detoxifies the Liver

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By consuming high fat foods on the daily, we put ourselves at risk of fatty liver disease, which is characterised as excessive fat build-up in the liver. With that said, you might want to try switching out your bowl of white rice for black rice instead! The anthocyanins in black rice help regulate the metabolism of fatty acids. In turn, this reduces the total cholesterol levels in the liver, thus reducing the risk of fatty liver disease.

Improves Eye Health

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If you are a desk-bound worker who always has their eyes glued to the screen, you may be no stranger to poor vision. With that said, munching on black rice has proven to be beneficial to your eye health! Studies have also shown that anthocyanins work wonders in reducing retinal damaged caused by fluorescent light. As a result, this improves overall eyesight!