What you didn't know about colored rice

What you didn't know about colored rice

That steamy white smoke and soft texture as we chew it in our mouth together with our favorite dish truly makes rice a staple food on many Asian tables. Whilst the most popular one is the white variety, itโ€™s not actually the most friendly to our bodies. For one, it has lower fiber and protein content and is less fillingย compared to other rice colors. So letโ€™s take a look at the more healthful alternative colors to white rice, such as black, red, and brown, which are not only gluten-free but also high in nutritional value.

Black Rice

It used to be called forbidden rice because only the royalty in China could eat it. But now, all of us can eat this rice color easily and benefit from its many healthful nutrients. It looks black when raw then turns purple when cooked.

According to the National Library of Medicine, black rice has high levels of phytochemicals. Phytochemicals are compounds in plant-based foods like veggies, fruits, whole grain, nuts, seeds, and legumes. Our body needs this compound to help reduce the risk of getting certain cancers, improve our immune system, reduce inflammation, and even regulate hormones. Together with phytochemicals, black rice also contains high antioxidant properties which help protect cells from free radicals. ย ย ย 

On top of this, black rice is a rich source of anthocyanins, a type of flavonoid, which also contains antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. As shown in another research by the National Library of Medicine, black rice was found to suppress the growth and spread of breast cancer cells. So, ladies, letโ€™s eat more of this rice color.

With this combination of powerful nutrients we get from black rice, it is, indeed, a palatable and healthful choice to serve on tables.

Red Rice

With its vibrant color, you canโ€™t go wrong also with red rice. Like its black counterpart, red rice is a powerhouse of nutrients, protein, and antioxidant properties. Aside from anthocyanins, red rice contains other flavonoids like apigenin, myricetin, and quercetin - all responsible for decreasing inflammation, keeping free radical levels in check, and reducing the risk of developing heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

In fact, a studyย proves that red rice has higher concentrations of flavonoid antioxidants compared to that of brown rice.

Brown Rice

Whilst brown rice may be an inferior to the first two colors, itโ€™s still a better choice to eat compared to white rice.

Brown rice is considered also as whole-grain rice, which means that the bran layer and the germ are still intact. Such layers contain the vital nutrients which white rice doesnโ€™t have.ย 

Like black and red rice, brown rice contains the flavonoids: apigenin, quercetin, and luteolin which protect us from diseases.

Brown rice has similar calorie and carb content as white rice, but brown rice contains approximately 5.54 grams of proteinย for every 220 grams. Because of its combination of protein and fiber, you feel satiated for a longer period of time, so you maintain a healthy weight. Moreover, brown rice is known to help regulate your blood sugar and insulin levels, so this makes a better choice for those with diabetes.

The bottom line is that choosing wisely your rice color to eat makes all the difference in improving not only your diet but also the nutrients you put in your body. Black, red, and brown are not only colorful but also nutritious options to help your body fight diseases and live longer.

Also known as "Forbidden Rice" in ancient China since only the upper class could afford to eat it. Whereas white rice is mainly carbohydrates, black rice is a good source of a variety of vitamins and minerals. To learn more about this nutritious grain, click here.




Kubala, J. (2019, April 01). What is the healthiest type of rice? Retrieved February 08, 2021, from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/healthiest-riceย 

Ware, M., R.D.N., L.D. (2019, November 05). Brown rice vs. white rice: Which is most healthful? Retrieved February 08, 2021, from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/319797ย 

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