Home » Black Rice is Back in Style: Sweeping in the Superfood World

Black Rice is Back in Style: Sweeping in the Superfood World

Black rice, an Oryza sativa L. species, is consumed as a functional food due to its health benefits and is regarded as a superfood. It has several positive traits. Compared to regular white rice, black rice has higher levels of proteins, vitamins, and minerals. It is a variety of rice with high levels of certain antioxidants, which gives the rice its distinctive black color. Black rice is a better option than white rice and is consumed both as food and as medication.

Purple rice, Forbidden rice, Heaven rice, Imperial rice, and Prized rice are other names for black rice. In ancient China, it was known as Black Pearl or Medicine Rice, or Longevity Rice, due to its effects on cancer, hyperlipidemia, hypoglycemia, atherosclerosis, inflammation, and oxidative stress.

A nutrient-rich kind of rice, it is mostly grown in Asian countries. The high anthocyanin pigment on the outer layer of the rice kernel is what gives rice bran its purplish-black color. According to Japanese researchers who discovered the mutation occurred in a subspecies of rice that happened in a strain of rice, the gene that regulates anthocyanin was altered. Since then, the rice has been replicated and transferred to other rice species through cross-breeding. Other than for food and cattle feed, and has been utilized in the realm of medicine.


The most prominent and beneficial antioxidant found in it is anthocyanin. A significant source of anthocyanin is in its bran. Only 5% of the total anthocyanin content is found in the embryo, relative to around 95% in the bran layer. Having anthocyanin as its primary component, high in antioxidants and has both anti-oxidative and antimicrobial properties.

CAROTENOIDS- Lutein and zeaxanthin, found in this rice, are in charge of maintaining and developing eye health. They guard the eyes against harmful blue light wavelengths and stop free radical damage.

FLAVONOIDS- Lowers risk of developing heart disease.

ANTHOCYANINS- Anthocyanins in this rice activate genes in the body that regulate the generation of cell-protective agents, which control the production of cell-protective agents.


1) Black glutinous rice, also known as Black sticky rice

Short-grain rice with a sticky texture, and sweet flavor. The grains are unevenly colored and are often used to make sweet dishes in Asia.

2) Italian black rice

Long-grain rice has a rich battery Aroma, a combination of Chinese black rice with Italian rice. 

3) Black japonica rice

Asian black short-grain rice and medium-grain mahogany rice are combined to create Black Japonica rice that is both grown in the same field. It has an earthy flavor with a mild, sweet spiciness.

4) Thai black Jasmine rice: 

This medium-grain rice was created in Thailand as a fusion of Chinese black rice and Jasmine rice. Jasmine rice has a floral aroma. 


1) Manipuri black rice 

Locally named Chak-hao Ambui, ‘Chakho’ means delicious while ‘Ambui’ means black. Aromatic black rice is primarily produced and consumed in Manipur.

2) Kalanamak is also referred to as “Buddha rice.”

Kalanamak (‘kala’ is black and ‘namak’ is salt) is scented rice from Nepal and India. This variety has been cultivated since the early Buddhist era (600 BC). It is well-liked in eastern Uttar Pradesh and Nepal’s Himalayan Tarai, where it is referred to as the black pearl. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization featured it in the book Speciality Rice of the World.

3) Kalabhat

The Black rice Kalabati is a locally cultivated variety in Odisha grown once a year during the Kharif season.

4) This nutrient-rich rice is also cultivated in Assam, West Bengal, Jharkhand, and Karnataka now.


Nutritionally superior to all other types of rice (Serving size: 100 g)


  • BR provides more proteins, vitamins, and minerals than WR.
  • Has a low glycemic index, which is beneficial for individuals who have diabetes.
  • WR contains 6.3 grams of protein per 100 grams, compared to 9.1 grams in BR.
  • Contains a healthy amount of carotene, vitamin E, the initial 18 amino acids, iron, zinc, and copper.
  • The arsenic level is more than that of white rice,
  • Also helps the body produce more adiponectin.
  • reduce levels of the hormone leptin, which controls appetite.
  • High in various antioxidants. Antioxidants are substances that safeguard our cells from oxidative stress caused by free radical molecules.
  • In addition to anthocyanin, variety of flavonoids, carotenoids, and over 23 phytochemicals with good antioxidant properties.


Although black rice and brown rice are both significantly healthier than their white counterparts, there are still some significant differences between the two types of rice.

  • Raw brown rice has 226 calories per third cup, compared to 200 calories in the same amount of black rice.
  • It is healthier than brown rice in terms of carbohydrates, fiber, protein, and fat. This is because it has more fiber and protein and fewer carbohydrates. In fact, it outperforms polished white rice, red rice, and purple rice in terms of these nutrients.
  • Although the levels of zinc and phosphorus in black and brown rice are the same, it has a higher iron content. Instead of brown rice’s 5% of the daily requirement (DV) for iron, it provides 6% of that amount.
  • The anthocyanin pigments found in black rice are potent antioxidants that protect against heart disease and cancer.

Well, when it comes to its nutritional qualities, it certainly does sound too wonderful. This rice is, therefore, more expensive than white or brown rice.


• A plentiful source of antioxidants

Black rice’s rich antioxidant qualities are indicated by its dark purple color. Vitamin E, an essential antioxidant that supports healthy eyes, skin, and immunological function, is also present.

• Anti-inflammatory qualities

It exhibits a wide range of pharmacological activity and is effective in the management of chronic inflammatory disorders. Its bran is rich in cyanidin-3-O-glucoside, which aids in the treatment of chronic intestinal inflammation.

• Implications for Obesity

It is said to assist with weight management if consumed consistently. This is due to being unpolished, which accounts for its high fiber content. Thus, foods high in fiber are easily absorbed. As it has less fat and few calories, it also aids in calorie management in the diet. Additionally, it aids in body detoxification. 

• Prevents cardiovascular disease and safeguards heart health

It reduces the risky atherosclerotic plaque buildup in the arteries. This is crucial for maintaining healthy arteries and avoiding heart attacks and strokes.

• Facilitates liver detoxification

It can assist with liver cleansing and detoxification by removing harmful toxins from the body. BR extract’s antioxidant activity controlled fatty acid metabolism, decreased triglyceride and total cholesterol levels and decreased the risk of fatty liver disease.

• Black Rice’s Anti-Diabetic Effects

Because the fiber in it takes longer to digest, the sugar in the grain is absorbed over a longer period of time, helping to maintain normal blood sugar levels. As a result, it can aid in the prevention of type 2 diabetes by preventing the spike in insulin levels.

• Prevents high Blood Pressure

The dietary fiber that we obtain from BR (or any whole grains in general) has been found to preserve cardiovascular health by lowering cholesterol levels, controlling body weight, enhancing glucose metabolism, and minimizing chronic inflammation in addition to maintaining normal blood pressure.

• Good for the liver

It has been demonstrated that consuming BR lowers the risk factors that contribute to fatty liver disease. BR’s antioxidant qualities aid in liver detoxification and enhance liver performance. It improves fatty acid metabolism and decreases the risk of excess cholesterol and blood sugar levels.

• Has anti-cancer properties: 

It has anti-cancer properties due to its anthocyanin content. In an experiment conducted, the Third Military University in China discovered that a BR extract, rich in anthocyanin, effectively prevented the spread of breast cancer cells in mice and inhibited the growth of tumors.


a) Cake’s inclusion

Although using black rice powder in the cake is a brilliant concept, there is a slight variation in the texture of the black rice cake, and it was found that making the cake was difficult. The cakes have a problem with crust formation on the top, and it was discovered that they have less sponginess than regular cakes, but despite these drawbacks, the cakes’ high antioxidant protein content and anthocyanin content make them healthier and more palatable than the customary cakes made from wheat flour.

b) Bread with black rice powder

Although it was observed that these cookies were darker due to anthocyanin, there was no obvious change in the texture of the cookies. It has a high fiber content, which allows for holding higher quantity of moisture in the cookies.

c) Utilization in fast food

Everyone is aware of how healthy fast food is nowadays and our dependence on it. If we can’t replace fast food, we can make it nutrient-rich and turn it into nutritious food. Noodles and pasta are prepared easily and consumed frequently. We can use its flour blended with conventional flour to boost the digestibility of these fast meals without much change in flavor and texture. Moreover, the use of this flour to manufacture products takes longer to digest, absorbs less water, and has poor nutrient value.

d) In traditional food

Payasam is a popular south Indian rice and a sweet dish, created by cooking rice with milk, sugar, and cardamom powder. The payasam prepared from pigment red rice has a hue that is blackish purple and is very popular with consumers; it may be able to achieve the same results.

Pongal is a south Indian festival dish made from broken rice with retained kernels of certain particular types. These days, black rice pongal is rather well-known among people due to its numerous health advantages.

Shiny black grains of rice when cooked turn purple that not only is a treat to the eyes but also to the taste buds. Due to its impressive nutritional profile and high quantities of antioxidants, black rice has emerged as a trendy superfood. According to studies, growing black rice has advantages in terms of agronomy, including stable crop output on marginal soils, stress tolerance, and pest and disease resistance.

GI tag for Chakho

In 2012, the Indian government granted Kalanamak rice the Geographical Indication (GI) Tag. Chakhao (black rice) received the GI tag in May 2020. This is good news for India’s indigenous black rice farmers, as it increases their exportability. The Manipur Organic Mission Agency is also considering a variety of value-added goods to further market the crop, including rice powder, suji (flour), syrup, chocolate, beer, wine, cake, bread, flattened rice, paratha, ladoo, and cosmetics.

So just be prepared to see black rice being used in products in the near future. Would you be interested in giving these products a try?


Indugu Priya

Pursuing BSc hons in Food Processing and Technology, 2nd year At MS Ramaiah University of Applied Sciences, Bangalore

More Reading

Post navigation

Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *