Haven’t heard of purple rice yet? Well, it is not surprising really as this type of rice is rare to find compared to its white and brown relatives. But, by all means, it’s a cut above all the rest, especially when it comes to health and nutritional benefits.
History of Purple Rice
Also known as the “forbidden rice”, purple rice traces its history back to the ancient times, when it was cultivated by the Chinese in small amounts and then offered as a tribute to emperors in royal courts. During that time, the common people were not allowed to consume it, something that led to its unique name of “forbidden rice.”
According to the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, purple rice contains some chemical compounds with antioxidant properties. These include anthocyanins, flavonoids and phenolics. A single serving (50g or ¼ cup) also contains a cool 160 calories, 2g or fibre, 5g or protein, and 1g of iron.
What are Its Health Benefits?
The popularity of purple rice is growing tremendously simply because of its many health benefits. There are more than enough convincing reasons why you should include it in your dinner plate every so often.
Here are some of the benefits that purple rice has in store for you:
1. Contains Large Amounts of Antioxidants
That’s right. The outermost layer of this rice, which is known as the bran hull, contains huge amounts of anthocyanin – an antioxidant linked to protecting our bodies against certain cancers and cardiovascular diseases, as well as reducing inflammation and improving brain function. This component can be easily observed through the deep purple color, just like that found in cranberries, raspberries and blue berries.
2. Prevents Obesity
Refined grains are great for getting rid of some extra fat from the body, but this rice goes beyond what any refined grain can do. Various studies indicate that the nutrients and fibres found in purple rice help by shutting off hunger signals, therefore preventing overeating. Better yet, the fibres prevent insulin resistance related to obesity. If you are suffering from any kind of metabolic syndrome then this rice could be a great type of food to add to your diet. You will not regret it!
3. Protects the Heart
How? Well, it’s pretty simple. According to various studies, this rice works by decreasing some of the most dangerous atherosclerotic plaque formations in our arteries, helping keep them as clear as possible. This in turn prevents stroke and heart attacks.
To be specific, the anthocyanin photochemicals that are found in purple rice help in maintaining healthy levels of cholesterol by reducing LDL (bad cholesterol) and tricylglycerol concentrations. This is an important factor in preventing many cardiovascular diseases. So, just to be on the safe side, do not wait until it’s too late; consume purple rice regularly and your body will thank you later!
4. Helps Prevent Diabetes
Let’s face it: diabetes has been a real menace in these recent times. Millions of people are affected globally, and the number of deaths due to this disease continues to rise significantly. According to studies, consuming 100% whole grains is important for keeping diabetes at bay, and that’s where the purple rice come in handy. Compared to eating refined and processed carbohydrates, most of which are stripped off their antioxidant and fibres, this rice is packed of nutrients, helping your body slow down sugar absorption into the blood stream. Substituting purple rice in place of pasta, white bread, sweetened cereals and white rice will surely work to lower your risk of suffering from type 2 diabetes, as well as keeping your energy levels well balanced and weight in check. Amazing, right?
5. Helps Detoxify the Body
Cleansing your body of harmful substances is paramount to good health. Instead of going for the costly supplements to achieve this, why not have purple rice in your dinner plate more often? That’s tight. This kind of rice is known as a good detoxification agent, and it help you cleanse the liver of any toxic build-up. Studies conducted recently show that those who fed on this rice had reduced plaque in their arteries and their blood contained more oxidants thanks to the phytonutrients contained in the rice.
6. It’s an All-natural Gluten-free Gain
Recent statistics indicate that about 1 person in every 7 people is likely to be sensitive to gluten – a protein found in barley products, rye and wheat. Some are away or it, some are not. After consuming a product with gluten, one suffers an allergy, showing symptoms such as nutrient deficiency, diarrhoea, constipation and bloating. Now, just like other varieties of rice, this kind doesn’t have any gluten yet it is packed with nutrients and minerals. It helps eliminate a great deal of digestive problems related to gluten.
7. Reduces Inflammation
According to studies conducted on the anti-inflammatory effects associated with purple rice, it was discovered that the rice actually contains a number of compounds that work to help to prevent swelling. In fact, further studies showed that the rice ban can suppress some inflammatory skin conditions such as dermatitis, helping to treat symptoms associated with it.
8. Improves Brain Function
Although more studies are still underway to help understand the benefits of this rice in regards to improving brain function, researchers agree that the antioxidant effects by anthocyanin can greatly improve memory impairment, reducing the risk of conditions such as depression, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Simply put, with this rice, your cognitive function will get better and better.
There’s a good reason why the popularity of purple rice is growing these days, with nutritionists and other health practitioners recommending it for people suffering from diabetes and cardio vascular disease. As you can see, the rice comes with many health benefits, which are reasons enough to convince you to add it to your diet. Not only will you keep your weight in check, you will also lead a healthy life without worrying about common digestive or cardiovascular problems.