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Black rice is a rare rice eaten these days in the United States, but it’s slowly making a comeback thanks to the benefits it contains (and likely it’s rather inexpensive cost.) Originating from China, black rice, (a.k.a  Forbidden Rice), black rice contains the bran and endosperm part of the rice grain, which is often removed during processing in options like white, basmati, and even red or yellow rice. The bran and endosperm of the rice grain are what contain the protein and fiber, not to mention high amounts of antioxidants linked to lower cholesterol and better blood sugar.

How Black Rice is Different Than Other Rices

Brown rice is great, but black rice is the only rice to contain the antioxidant known as anthocyanins, which are antioxidants found in dark-hued fruits such as acai berries, blueberries, blackberries, dark grapes, and dark cherries. This is why black rice is darker in color than other rices. Anthocyanins have been linked to better heart health, cancer prevention,  along with relieving inflammation, and increasing memory. One tablespoon of black rice has about the same or more anthocyanins than the same amount of blueberries. This makes it a stellar addition to your diet in place of other rices. In case you’re wondering, brown rice contains no anthocyanins, though it’s still a healthy option.

Rich in Iron

Black rice is also higher in iron than other rices, which is excellent for those on a plant-based diet concerned about getting enough iron on a plant-based diet. Iron is essential for healthy red blood cell production, for energy expenditure, and even for digestion.


Great news, protein fans  – black rice is also higher in protein than other sources of rice. Containing 8.5 grams of protein in one cup, it can help keep you full, and satisfy your rice craving. As you know, getting enough protein isn’t hard to do on a plant-based diet since so many plant-based foods contain high-quality protein. However, every little bit does help, especially if you’re trying to get your protein from whole foods and not supplements.


Black rice is also delicious, and much more flavorful than white rice. It has a naturally sweet flavor but does not contain sugar. The benefits of black rice compared to white rice, is that the fibers will help slow down the starches in the rice, which is much better for your blood sugar and helpful for preventing Type 2 diabetes.


If you buy black rice, you needn’t worry about it being expensive. If bought in the bulk section or from a generic brand like Whole Foods 365 brand, it’s highly affordable. You may also be able to find it at specialty Asian markets, or even superstores like Target and Wal-Mart. Though it is affordable, keep in mind that it’s much better to spend 50 cents more for a rice that will keep you full, nourished and healthy, than one that’s lower in nutrients like processed white minute rice. Avoid buying rice blends, which often contain more white and brown rice than trendy rices they’re often paired with like wild rice and black rice. Just go for plain, whole grain black rice. Read the ingredient list if you need to be sure.

Easy to Prepare

Black rice can be prepared like any other rice, so give it a try in some of our favorite recipes:

Image Source: Scented and Crunchy Black Rice Salad

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