Black Rice: Forbidden by the Chinese Empire, Why is it Trending Now?

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India can be considered the second largest producer of rice in the world. In 2020 itself, India produced 119 million metric tonnes of rice (approximately) just behind china’s 146.73 million metric tonnes of rice. They were making rice, humble food that people from all walks of life consume.

So how did such a humble and common grain turn into something forbidden by the emperors or eaten only once a month by the upper class in China?

Black rice is a type of rice of the species Oryza sativa which occurred basically as a mutation but was later cross bred and turned into a food source that could be produced easily.

A native of northeastern India, it is widely cultivated in Bengal, Orissa, and Jharkhand. A common dish in Manipur because it has medicinal properties is Chak hao, which generally translates into delicious rice.

It costs around 160rs/Kg but does come with many nutritional benefits that justify its rarity and its price.

The following are some of the nutritional benefits:

Rich in antioxidants

The black pigmentation of the black rice, which generally turns purple when cooked, indicates the presence of anthocyanins, a pigment with potent antioxidant properties which help typically in scavenging free radicals from the body cells and help in damage caused by oxidation on bodily tissues.

Aids weight loss

Foods high in proteins are crucial to help reduce weight as they increase metabolism and helps make one feel full and satisfied hence preventing a persons need to overeat. Black rice has a high content of protein with almost 1 gram of protein per 11.25 gram of uncooked black rice.

It lowers cholesterol and helps prevent type 2 diabetes.

Black rice is a food rich in fibre, especially soluble fibre, which helps decrease the absorption of sugar and helps maintain high blood sugar levels while also reducing cholesterol levels, which helps prevent cardiovascular diseases.

Reduces allergies

The bran or outer Husk of the black rice helps to restrict the release of histamine. Histamines are chemicals discharged by white blood cells into the bloodstream when they defend against a potential allergen. These chemical releases sometimes result in an allergic reaction.

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