Most people are aware that brown rice is a nutritional powerhouse, especially when compared to white rice. However, black rice may be an even greater dynamo, as research shows it contains all the health benefits of brown rice plus some impressive additional ones that may fight disease and extend life.
Health benefits of brown rice
Brown rice is plentiful in fiber and contains all the essential fatty acids, as well as phosphorus, manganese and iron. It also provides antioxidants, in addition to vitamins B1, B3, B6 and E. All of these nutrients are within the outer layer that is stripped away in the process of making white rice. Research shows this outer layer may help protect against high blood pressure and atherosclerosis.
Scientists at Temple University School of Medicine in Philadelphia and the Nagaoka National College of Technology in Japan believe this outer layer may hinder the harmful action of angiotensin II, a protein that adds to the development of high blood pressure and atherosclerosis.
The researchers say this effect could be responsible for the fact that Japan has fewer cardiovascular deaths than the United States. In Japan, rice is a mainstay of the daily diet, while in the U.S., rice is eaten much less frequently.
The superiority of black rice over brown
As beneficial as brown rice is, black rice is even more valuable because it is a unique source of large quantities of antioxidants, particularly an important one called anthocyanin. Present in dark blue, red and purple foods, anthocyanins are more plentiful in this type of rice than in blueberries.
Black rice, a popular food in China, is linked with a reduction in heart disease and cancer, as well as diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease. It has also been postulated that the food has anti-aging properties.
Study showed black rice antioxidants extended the lives of fruit flies.
Recently, researchers from The Chinese University in Hong Kong examined the effects of black rice’s anthocyanins on fruit flies. After feeding the insects black rice extract, their lifespan was lengthened by 14 percent. Aside from this evidence of a longer lifespan, the findings showed the extract decreased the expression of a certain gene, an effect that has previously been found to increase longevity.
In addition to the effect on lifespan, black rice extract also increased the expression of a gene that hinders progressive neurodegeneration. In a second phase of the study, researchers fed the extract to flies that had exposure to a weedkiller that produces degeneration of nervous tissue. They tested a group of normal flies, along with a group of flies with the Alzheimer’s gene. Findings revealed that the lives of one group of normal flies were extended, as well as the lives of one group of Alzheimer’s flies.
The scientists involved in the study state that it is too soon to conclude black rice extract can stop the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. However, Zhimin Xu, who has researched colored rice bran at Louisiana State University, notes that if the number of flies studied could be expanded to 2,000 rather than 200, he would expect the lifespan difference to be more significant. In any case, the research confirms that black rice bran is indeed beneficial for health.
Mary West is a natural health enthusiast, as she believes this area can profoundly enhance wellness. She is the creator of a natural healing website where she focuses on solutions to health problems that work without side effects.
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