Brown rice is a classic, but have you heard the latest?
Black rice may unseat brown as the healthiest option, according to new research by scientists at Louisiana State University.
Like brown rice, black rice has an outer layer of antioxidant-rich bran, which has been shown to help lower cholesterol. Unlike the bran found in brown rice, however, black-rice bran contains anthocyanins, the purple and reddish pigments also found in blueberries, grapes, and acai.
These compounds decrease the risk of heart disease and cancer, among other health benefits. In fact, a spoonful of black-rice bran contains more anthocyanin antioxidants than a spoonful of blueberries, according to researcher Zhimin Xu.
A recent study of mice found that a diet that included 10 percent black-rice bran reduced swelling of inflamed skin, adding fuel to the theory that black rice may also help prevent diseases associated with chronic inflammation, such as diabetes.
The high-fiber grain, which is cooked the same way as brown rice and sold by gourmet grocers, has a chewy texture, says American Dietetic Association spokesperson Joan Salge Blake, RD. "Try mixing it with brown rice. Add cooked vegetables such as sauteed onions and red peppers," she says, and top it with shredded carrots, scallions, and radishes.
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