Black rice was cultivated in China since last 10,000 years. But consumption of black rice was limited to only royal families or enlightened group. There was a belief that black rice gives ‘long & healthy life’. It contains essential nutrients responsible for keeping vital body organs (like liver, brain and kidneys) healthy. Consumption of this black rice was forbidden for common people by the rulers. The other name of this rice was ‘Emperor’s rice’. Now a day’s lots of research work are going on at different parts of world on this black rice. Today it is no longer forbidden rice. Interest is increasing day by day all over the world after knowing the health benefits of this rice.
Assamese people cultivate a variety of perfumed rice known as black Joha rice. Similar to Joha rice black rice also possesses a nice flavor. On washing the black rice water becomes black coloured. Cooking takes longer time for black rice. It is advised to keep the rice soaked overnight before cooking. A chemical substance known as Anthocyanin is present in black rice which is responsible for the colour of black rice.
Botanical name of black rice is Oryza sativa L. indica .
In 2011 Mr. Upendra Rabha , a young cultivator of Dudhnoi, Assam started cultivating black rice in Assam under guidance of agro-scientist Dr. Uttam Kumar Barua. Since then Mr. Brahma has been successfully producing tons of black rice year after year. In recognition Assam agricultural department has renamed this brand of rice as ‘Upendra rice’. Now a day’s black rice is cultivated in other parts of Assam also. District agricultural offices of Assam have stared distributing seeds of black rice for cultivation by the farmers
Manipur has been cultivating black rice since last several years. They call it ‘Chakhau amubi’ which means tasty black rice. Sources say that Maiety people of Manipur brought the seeds of balck rice from neighboring countries of South east Asia. Manipur produces 2.5 tons of black rice per hector of land. In Assam it is sold as ‘black rice from Manipur’. In United States of America cultivation of black rice started since 1995. Highest production of black rice is in China. Indonesia and Thailand also cultivate black rice. These two countries sell in international market under the brand name of ‘Indonesian black rice’ and ‘Thai Jasmine rice’. In Japan where lots of research work on black rice is going on, scientist declare that in world 21 varieties of black rice are available. Recently it is known that some countries of Africa have also started cultivating black rice. Market value of black rice is variable and towards higher side since still production is low compared to market demand.
HOW TO CONSUME BLACK RICE ?
Black rice is sticky in nature. It may be consumed as boiled rice, pulao, byriani, custard, soup. Cakes and various types of Assamese sweets & pithas can be made after crushing it into powder. Noodles and bread also can be made from black rice. Wine or other beverages can be prepared from black rice. Black rice is available for sale online stores also. In some restaurants of South East Asia items prepared with black rice is included in their menu.
ESSENTIAL ELEMENTS PRESENT IN BLACK RICE :
Anthocyanin is the name of name of antioxidant present in black rice. It is an unique substance present on the outer coating of rice. Any rice produced in rice mill is deprived of Anthocyanin due to partial loss of the outer coating. Thus such rice loses food value as well as market value.
Black rice contains 18 varieties of essential amino acid, minerals, vitamins, pigment carotene and many other antioxidants. Minerals are iron, zinc, selenium, potassium, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus and molebdnam. Vitamins present in it are vtamin – E, vitamin B1, , vitamin B2, , vitamin B9 (Folic acid). Black rice contains more fiberes and fewer calories. Compared to coloured fruits and vegetables (strawberry, blueberry, plum, cherry, beet) black rice contains antioxidents in higher quantities.
Black rice is free from a protein called Gluten. Wheat and other varieties of rice contain Gluten. Gluten is responsible for producing Gluten allergy and Coeliac disease. This is an added advantage with black rice compared to other rice or wheat products.
Look at a comparative food value: 100 gm black rice contains 8.5 gm protein, where as brown rice contains 8 gm protein. Red rice contains 7 gm protein. Milled-rice contains 6.5 gm protein.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF BLACK RICE :
Diabetic care – Black rice is low in carbohydrates but rich in fibre. Glycemic index of black rice is also low. Sugar absorption in stomach is low and hence black rice is good for diabetic patients.
Protection from heart diseases – Regular consumption of black rice lowers cholesterol, triglyceride and VLDL levels in blood. Thus by lowering the level of bad cholesterols if prevents atheroscelorosis. It also regulates heart rate.
Useful in Liver disorders – Black rice is helpful in preventing liver diseases particularly useful in fatty liver due to presence of antioxidants.
Reduction of obesity – Obese persons are advised to take black rice. It helps in weight reduction. After taking black rice person fills his belly full for a longer period. 100 gm boiled black rice contains only 300 calories.
Helpful in Gastrointestinal disorders – Black rice is useful in constipation, indigestion, diarrhoea, itrritable bowel sybdrome etc.
Cancer protection – Black rice increases body immunity. Antioxidant present in it fights with free radicals and thus gives protection against cancer.
Blood purification – Antioxidants present in black rice gives strength to liver and kidneys, thus helps in blood purification.
Eye protection – Black rice prevents cataract and glaucoma.
Good for skin and hair – Black rice is useful in maintain health of skin and hair due to presence of vitamin E. Black rice paste may be used as face musk also.
Asthma prevention and useful in respiratory diseases – Anthocyanin possesses the property of fighting against harmful free radicals and thus it gives protection from various respiratory ailments.
Protection against infection- Black rice gives protection form Dengue, Chikengunia, arthritis,allergy and various infections.
Maintains mental health – Black rice is useful in Alzheimer’s disease. It increases memory and brain function.