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As you would have imagined, black sticky rice is a dark colored rice that changes to a mellow purple once cooked. The first glance at it shouts out exotic, rare and unique, adding to the numerous benefits of black sticky rice! In fact, the Chinese emperors so treasured this rice that it was decreed a grain meant to be consumed only by royalty. And this led to the rice being known as the “forbidden rice”.
What’s so special about black sticky rice?
Getting back to the current scenario where you can have a nice meal of black sticky rice (without worrying about breaking a royal decree!). Through extensive research over time, the mystery behind black sticky rice is finally revealed. Firstly, the color of black sticky rice is derived from a pigment called anthocyanins, which is a pigment found in fruits such as blueberries. Adding to that, the rice appears to be black also due to high melanin (a natural pigment) content in the bran.
According to Wikipedia,
Black and purple sticky rice are distinct strains from white sticky rice.
Black sticky rice is a rich source of antioxidants due to the bran and germ layer found in the outer coating. It is considered a superfood due to its high nutritive value and like other rice varieties, it is gluten free!
Health benefits of black sticky rice
Research has shown that black sticky rice has a higher antioxidant content and higher content of valuable phytochemicals than blueberries. It is exceptional as it contains a mixture of both water soluble and fat soluble classes of antioxidants, which is rare even among the best pulses and grains, like quinoa and millets.
But what are the benefits of black sticky rice and how will it help meet your health demands? As mentioned earlier, black sticky rice was a prized grain only to be served to royalty! Here’s 5 reasons why:
- Antioxidant boost
Black sticky rice is loaded with antioxidants. Anthocyanin content found in black sticky rice is said to be highest among all the grains. It is also believed that anthocyanin helps in preventing heart diseases and cancer.
- Rich in fiber
Due to a high fiber content black sticky rice is believed to help lower bad cholesterol levels and control blood sugar levels. It is said to have double the amount of fiber as compared to brown rice.
- Anti-inflammatory properties
Black sticky rice is said to help reduce inflammatory compounds in your body and increase the anti-inflammatory compounds. The increase in the anti-inflammatory compounds helps in reducing inflammation in various ailment like cancer, arthritis and allergies.
- Lower the risk of diabetes
Regular consumption of whole grains like black sticky rice helps lower the risk of Type 2 Diabetes and also helps boost your energy levels.
- Promotes heart health
Black sticky Rice is said to help improve heart health by reducing the formation of atherosclerotic plaque in the arteries.
You would have noticed that the primary element making black sticky rice an exquisite variety is the pigment and the bran layer. However, the milling process destroys many of the necessary vitamins and minerals from colored rice. So why is rice milled? On milling, rice weighs lesser and has a longer shelf life than the un-milled rice. This made milled rice more favorable with traders, making it a preferable grain for commercial purpose. This led to the global acceptance of white or milled rice over un-milled rice.
Northeast India Black Sticky Rice
Northeast India with its diverse culture has distinct and unique food habits. Here black sticky rice is prepared by simply boiling it like the normal polished rice and used as a tea time snack or a pudding.
“In Manipur, the use of black sticky rice is reserved only for special occasions and family gatherings where it is simply boiled and served after meals as a dessert or pudding with some sugar”, said Moirangthem Suresh Singh, Manager (Presentation & Design Services) Chillibreeze.
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