Trade in the Blue for the Black

Study finds black rice high in anthocyanin antioxidants, which help fight heart disease, cancer

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) While blueberries and blackberries offer myriad health benefits, including high levels of antioxidants, prices can be prohibitively expensive. Black rice may offer a more affordable, comparatively healthful alternative.

According to lead study author Zhimin Xu, associate professor at the Department of Food Science at Louisiana State University, a spoonful of black rice bran contains more anthocyanin antioxidants than a spoonful of blueberries -- plus more vitamin E antioxidants and fiber without the sugar.

Anthocyanin antioxidants show promise for combatting heart disease, cancer and other conditions and diseases. The antioxidants have been shown to reduce blood levels of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL), the "bad" cholesterol.

Xu suggested food manufacturers could fortify breakfast cereals, beverages, cakes, cookies, and other foods with black rice bran or extracts to promote health.

Additionally black rice bran extract can produce a variety of natural colors -- from pink to its namesake black -- providing a viable and more healthful alternative to artificial coloring, which has been linked to certain cancers and behavioral problems in children.

Black rice is most often used in Asia as decoration for foods like sushi, noodles and pudding.

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Review Date: 
February 7, 2011
Last Updated:
February 8, 2011