898 898 8787

9 Surprising Benefits and Uses of Black Rice - MyHealth

Food And Nutrition

9 Surprising Benefits and Uses of Black Rice


Medically Reviewed By
Dr. Ragiinii Sharma

Written By Prekshi Garg
on Oct 27, 2022

Last Edit Made By Prekshi Garg
on Mar 18, 2024

9 Surprising Benefits and Uses of Black Rice

In India, rice is a staple grain and an ingredient in most dishes and cuisines. There are several available varieties of rice grown all over the world. All the different rice varieties have different flavours, aromas, and nutritional content. Black rice is a rare rice variety that was originally grown in China but gradually spread to all parts of the world. 

Rice is everyone’s favourite. Who doesn’t like to have rice with their meal? With the increase in studies suggesting that white rice can lead to weight gain and other health issues, people have now shifted to more nutritious options like brown and black rice. Whether for weight loss or better hair, skin, heart, and brain health, black rice is the best option for everyone. 

Being a rare species, most of us don't know about the health benefits of black rice. Therefore, in this article, let us discuss in detail about black rice, including black rice benefits and side effects, its uses, and nutritional facts.

What is black rice?

Black rice, also known as emperor rice or forbidden rice or purple rice, is the rarest rare variety of the species Oryza sativa. Black rice is of Chinese origin and is mostly used for its health benefits, colour, and taste. It is a rare rice variety due to its comparatively low yield. Anthocyanin is the main constituent that provides colour to the rice and several health benefits for black rice. Different varieties of black rice have different flavours. Most of them have a nutty flavour except for the Chinese black rice, which has a mild sweet or fruity flavour. It is a gluten-free grain naturally and is thus a great nutrient source for people with celiac disease or gluten intolerance. 

Uses of black rice

Black rice is used in the preparation of different food that, includes:

  • Thai desserts
  • Rice salads
  • Puddings
  • Cakes
  • Porridges 

Role of black rice in home remedies

Several traditional home remedies use black rice for weight loss and to improve the quality of your hair and skin. These home remedies include:

  • You simply need to substitute your regular white rice with black rice for the weight-loss process. Black rice is an excellent low-carbohydrate and low-calorie replacement for white rice that is rich in protein and fibre content.
  • Black rice water can improve skin health as it is rich in antioxidants and vitamin E, which is essentially required for enhancing your skin, tightening it, and keeping it glossy and healthy. Thus, you can have a cup of black rice water to maintain good and healthy skin.
  • Fermented black rice water is excellent for improving hair health. The essential nutrients present in black water will nourish your scalp. You can even mix it with aloe vera gel for better results.

Nutritional facts about black rice

Black rice is extremely healthy and nutritious food. It is packed with nutrients that provide you with innumerable health benefits. The nutritional content in 1 cup of cooked black rice is as follows:

  • 160 gms calories
  • 2 grams total fat
  • 0 mg cholesterol
  • 4 mg sodium
  • 268 gms potassium
  • 34 gms total carbohydrate
  • 3 gms dietary fibres
  • 0 gms sugar
  • 5 gms protein
  • 6% of the daily value of iron
  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin B2 (riboflavin)
  • Vitamin B3 (niacin)
  • Lutein
  • Beta-carotene
  • Zeaxanthin
  • Chromium
  • Calcium
  • Phosphorus
  • Potassium
  • Magnesium
  • Manganese
  • Copper
  • Zinc 

What are the benefits of eating black rice?

Is black rice good for you? Black rice is a powerhouse of nutrition, packed with proteins, vitamins, and minerals. There are several uses for black rice. Following are some of the essential benefits of black rice.

Boosts heart health

Black rice is rich in antioxidants. Therefore, these antioxidants can protect you against several heart diseases. For example, flavonoids present in black rice decrease your risk of developing fatal and life-threatening heart diseases. Anthocyanin present in black rice helps in reducing the levels of triglyceride and cholesterol in your blood. According to a study, taking two 80mg anthocyanin capsules for 12 weeks can increase the levels of good cholesterol and decrease bad cholesterol levels in your blood. Including black rice in a high-cholesterol diet can reduce plaque buildup by 50%

Anticancer properties

The anthocyanin present in black rice is also a potent anticancer food. Therefore, its anticancer properties can prevent the development or progression of cancer. According to a study, the risk of colorectal cancer reduces with the increased consumption of anthocyanin-rich foods. Another study also revealed that black rice not only reduces the number of breast cancer cells but also delays its growth and spread. 

Supports eye health

Black rice is rich in carotenoids like zeaxanthin and lutein content which are highly associated with eye health. These carotenoids are antioxidants and thus protect your eye from the potential damage of free radicals. They also act as a filter for harmful blue light waves, thereby protecting the retina of your eye. The antioxidants also protect your eyes from age-related issues like macular degeneration (AMD) which is one of the leading causes of blindness across the globe. Apart from AMD, black rice also decreases your risk of diabetic retinopathy and cataract.

Black rice for weight loss

Black rice is rich in protein and fibre as well. These reduce your appetite and give you a feeling of fullness, ultimately promoting weight loss. Anthocyanins in black rice help reduce body fat percentage and body weight. A study conducted on 40 women revealed that having a mixture of brown and black rice led to considerably more weight loss in body fat than the females who had white rice.

Black rice benefits for diabetes

Various animal studies suggest that consuming black rice and other anthocyanin-containing food can considerably reduce blood sugar levels in people with type II diabetes. Black rice is a low glycemic index food; therefore, the sugar gets absorbed into your body more slowly, providing stable energy and preventing sugar spikes in your body. It also improves the activity of glucose transporters and facilitates the movement of glucose into the cell. This prevents the glucose from staying and accumulating in the bloodstream. Furthermore, the starch-digesting enzymes present in anthocyanins prevent glucose absorption into the body.

Fights inflammation

Antioxidants in black rice help reduce inflammation in your body by increasing the production of anti-inflammatory compounds. The anti-inflammatory property of white rice helps fight the free radical damage of the cell and strengthens your immune system. Therefore, black rice can help treat health conditions associated with long-term inflammation. 

Improves liver health

Fatty liver disease is a very common liver condition these days caused due to the accumulation of fat in the liver. The antioxidants in black rice help reduce fat deposition in liver cells, thereby helping in restoring the normal functions of the liver.

Helps in digestion

Black rice is a rich fibre source that helps regulate your bowel movements. This is because fibres swell because water absorption and toxins add bulk to your stools. Thus, the stools and waste gets easily removed from your body. Black rice maintains a healthy gut by preventing other conditions like constipation and bloating.

Good for hair and skin health

Black rice is excellent for your skin and hair as well because of its high antioxidant content along with the richness of vitamins and minerals. Its potential to reduce oxidative cell damage is also beneficial for healthy skin and hair. The organic black rice benefits on skin and hair include:

  • Fights skin ageing
  • Treats skin allergies, hay fever, and eczema
  • Helps treat dandruff
  • Makes your hair shiny
  • Improves hair strength from inside
  • Add volume to your hair
  • Nourishes and moisturises your hair roots
  • Boosts the growth of hair
  • Treats hair split ends

How to cook black rice?

Black rice is a rare variety of rice. This makes people often question the way to cook black rice. Is black rice cooked in the same way as the usual white rice? To avail full health benefits of black rice, you must cook them in the right way. Well, if you also have the same question, then here is a step-by-step guide on how to cook black rice.

  • Keep black rice soaked in water overnight or for an hour before cooking. Soaking black rice priorly reduces your cooking time considerably.
  • Discard the water in which the black rice was soaked and wash the rice under running tap water.
  • For every one cup of rice, you need two cups of water for cooking.
  • Cook the rice with the lid closed.
  • Soaked black rice will take around half an hour to get cooked, whereas unsoaked rice takes a full hour to get cooked properly.
  • Before you take out the rice from the flame, check the texture of the rice. Black rice generally has a chewy texture. Therefore, if you feel the rice still does not have the desired texture, you can continue cooking it for the next few minutes.
  • To check whether the rice is completely cooked or not, you can check it by placing them in between your fingers or popping them in your mouth.

What are the side effects of black rice?

Black rice is an extremely safe staple crop with minimal or no side effects. As we all know that the overconsumption of anything is bad, and the same goes for black rice as well. However, overconsumption of black rice does not lead to severe complications apart from some minor symptoms. The minor side effects of black rice include an upset stomach, gas, or bloating. This generally happens due to the high fibre content present in black rice. These side effects are more common in people with weak digestive systems and often face digestive problems. Therefore, if you also have a weak stomach, you should consult your doctor before including black rice in your diet.


Black rice is a nutritious and healthy staple food. It can be a good alternative of white rice in your daily diet in the form of salad, porridge, puddings, and desserts. It is an excellent source of antioxidants, carotenoids, proteins, and fibre. The high amount of nutrition in white rice provides innumerable health benefits. Black rice plays a crucial role in maintaining heart, eye, skin, hair, and liver health, improving digestion, protecting against cancer, fighting inflammation, and controlling diabetes. Now that you know the several health benefits of black rice try including it in your daily diet.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can black rice be eaten daily?

Yes, you can eat black rice daily as it is very nutritious with almost negligible side effects.

Is black rice good for the brain?

Yes, black rice is extremely good for brain health as it improves your cognitive functions, learning, and memory.

Is black rice healthier than brown rice?

Although black rice is a rare variety of rice, it still contains the highest antioxidant activity and is more proteinaceous than the more commonly found brown rice.

Leave a comment

Consult Now

Share MyHealth Blog