I get so excited whenever I stumble upon a new super food. Just days ago, I was reflecting on how much rice I eat. As a person of Haitian decent, rice is everything. I can eat rice for breakfast, lunch, dinner if I had to. When I gave up wheat, I began to eat even more rice since rice flour is used in many traditional gluten free products like bread, pasta, cookies, etc. I felt like I needed to do something. Eating all that white rice couldn't be my best option.
Then I started searching. Looking for alternative that could address my desire for a healthy grain. The answer came in the form of rice. But not just any rice, black rice. Some of you may remember a previous post where I showed an image of what appeared to be black rice. That dish was a traditional Haitian recipe where the rice derives it's color from a dark mushroom. So pretty much, it's white rice dyed black. But this, my friends, this is the real deal.
Also, known as the "forbidden rice." This grain has been enjoyed in Asia for centuries. The reason why it was considered forbidden was due its rare appearance. Black rice was considered the finest grain and served only to the Emperor. Which is why it was deemed forbidden to the common folks.
Lucky for us, we live in a time when we can now have direct access to this precious delicacy. Why do we want to shift away from eating white rice and transition to its black counterpart? Because white rice doesn't hold a candle to this black beauty.
First off, the reason why this grain is so dark is because it's loaded with anthocyanin, an antioxidant that gives super foods their deep red, blue and purple colors. Blueberries, acai , and other nutritious foods get their rich hue from their anthocyanin content. But did you know that black rice has more anthocyanin than any other food source? So you are getting more antioxidants in this rice than in blueberries, but without the sugar. Could black rice be any more perfect? What if I told you that it also contains 18 amino acids, vitamin E, iron, zinc, copper, carotene and fiber? Then would you understand how amazing this grain is?
Wait, I'm not done yet. I also learned that black rice is anti inflammatory. White rice, on the other hand, can promote inflammation. The aging process is accelerated when inflammation is persistent in our bodies. Many of the illnesses were hear about nowadays are linked to chronic inflammation. Do you know what else can occur? Skin issues. There was a study conducted where 10% black rice bran was added to the diet of mice. Turns out that this simple shift in diet significantly suppressed allergic contact dermatitis of the skin of the mice.
If you are still not convinced, I'd like to tell you about why I've fallen in love with this ebony rice. It tastes so freakin' good! Seriously, I have no desire to eat white rice ever again because this stuff is so delicious. The flavor is described as nutty but I'm not sure "nutty" is the best way to describe it. It's just so tasty and flavorful. I've cooked mine in broth so I'm sure that added to the flavor profile. Normally, when I eat white rice, I need some sort of gravy or a meat protein to help round out the dish and boost flavor. The other night, I decided to eat a small amount of black rice mixed with a ripe hass avocado and had a blast.
Two days later, I had black rice again as a side with my Ahi poke. Amazing. Here's the thing, I picked up some sushi yesterday at my favorite spot. After eating two rolls, I felt a little different. I was feeling bloated and lethargic. For some reason, I didn't experience that same heaviness feeling after eating black rice. Not sure why.
Seriously, I now shun all of the half filled bags of white rice sitting in my kitchen cabinet. I have gone to the dark side and I ain't coming back. I understand that it's a bit more expensive than white rice but so are blueberries. I don't have to worry so much about shelf life as I do with healthy fruits, plus I'm getting even more benefits than blueberries pound for pound.
p.s. I found a 22 lb bag online which I will probably get to share with my mother who professed to eating white rice every day last week. Not too long ago, her doctor told her that she suffered from chronic inflammation. I can not wait to give her something to enjoy that can actually bring benefits to her body.