Rice is the main food of South Asia the Indian sub-continent. Similar to India, China, Japan, the Philippines, and other adjacent South and South-East Asian populations also favour rice to wheat. Indians used to have the common tendency for white Rice, not only for their usual preference but also due to some sort of a view of the better look of the refined grain. That is why it is not shocking that ‘Black rice’ is comparatively under-preferred rather unknown to most Indians. Black rice is indigenous to North-East India and is widely cultivated in Odisha, West Bengal, and Jharkhand. It is frequently eaten in Manipur because of its various medicinal values. In their native language, it is called ‘chak-hao’, (‘chak’ meaning rice, ‘ahaoba’ meaning delicious), which is eaten during traditional feasts. In imperial China, black rice (OrayzasativaL.) was banned, not because it looked toxic because of its black colour, but as of its high nutritional value, which meant it could only be consumed by the Emperor.
In recent times, rice researchers have begun to study the sticky varieties of black rice, revived and re-explored its several medicinal and nutritional assets. Black rice is a range of rice types of the species Oryza sativa L. some of which are glutinous rice. Numerous types of black rice are available in the market today. It is gradually gaining consumer preference and getting popularized particularly among the health-aware people of the world because of its high nutritious value as well as other medicinal properties, including better antioxidant activity and anti-carcinogenic properties.
Health Benefits of Black Rice
The major element of black rice that offers almost all of its health advantages is anthocyanin. This protein works as a potent antioxidant and serves a amount of functions like fighting cancer, preventing cardiovascular diseases etc
1. Rich Source of Antioxidants: The fibre of the grains of black rice includes the greatest levels of anthocyanins found in any food. In fact, it has the highest anthocyanin content compared to all other rice varieties
2. Fights against Cancer: The anthocyanin content of black rice gives it an anti-cancer characteristic. It can effectively restrain tumour growth and the spread of breast cancer
3. Improves heart health: High cholesterol is a leading cause of a number of cardiovascular diseases. But the anthocyanin content of black rice has been found to have a significant effect in reducing cholesterol.
4. Helps in liver detoxification: Fatty liver disease is, as is obvious, characterized by excessive fat deposit build-up in the liver. The effectiveness of black rice in treating this condition was tested in mice.
5. Prevents diabetes: Whole grain black rice has its bran intact, which is a storehouse of dietary fibre. Since fibre takes a longer time to digest, it makes sure that the sugar in the grain is absorbed over a longer period, keeping normal blood sugar levels.
A hopeful possibility of Black rice can be expected in the near future as it may receive much more net returns and achieve a lasting benefit-cost ratio as compared to high yielding rice varieties. Further financial benefit, the nutritional and medicinal advantages of black rice over normal white rice makes its cultivation popular in recent times all over India.