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Black rice is delicious, healthy, and aesthetically pleasing. This dark-colored rice, which is a deep purple-black, has alternate names including purple rice, forbidden rice, and emperor’s rice. It has a rich, complex flavor, with a distinct nuttiness and a hint of sweetness from the anthocyanin pigments.

Oryza sativa is the cultivated form of wild rice, and it has been part of Asian culinary culture for the last 7,000 to 9,000 years. Historical evidence shows that cultivated rice first appeared in China and spread to other regions across Asia. This cultivated came in a range of colors, including red, brown, white, and black due to natural changes in the rice grain’s outer layer.

Wild rice was only one color: red.  Over time, some cultures began favoring certain colors, crossbreeding them to get rice grains with steady coloration. Black rice was favored for its rich taste, and it quickly became a special food for wealthier groups. This is how black rice earned one of its names — forbidden rice. There was a time in China’s history that black rice was forbidden to all who weren’t noble or royalty.


  1. Improves eye health– Along with protective anthocyanins, black rice contains high amounts of lutein and zeaxanthin, two carotenoids are known for their role in supporting eye health. These antioxidants help to protect the cells in your eyes and to reduce the effects of ultraviolet (UV) radiation.
  2. Diabetes management– Flavonoids like anthocyanins also influence blood sugar levels and diabetes management. Phytochemicals have a positive influence on your body, improving insulin sensitivity so you can better use glucose. They also help by reducing sugar digestion in your small intestine, which lowers sugar levels in your blood.
  3. Nutrition– Black rice is rich in amino acids, antioxidants, flavonoids, anthocyanins, and other phenolic compounds. There are 18 amino acids in black rice, with a mix of essential and non-essential types. Amino acids are crucial to many of your body’s functions, from helping repair skin and tissues to improving your energy levels and digestion.
  4. Natural detoxifier– In this age of junk food and binge eating, natural detoxification helps avoid several diseases.  is a rich source of phytonutrients, which is a natural detoxifier and removes disease-causing free radicals from the body. 
  5. Heart health– Black rice contains more fiber and lesser fat, both are significant in heart health. Fibre helps remove excess cholesterol and lower blood pressure, while a low level of fat and cholesterol prevents various heart diseases. 
  6. Helps in obesity– If you are fighting obesity, then black rice is the smarter option for you. Since it is full of fiber, it gives the feeling of being full and prevents overeating. 

As we understand the nutritious benefits of black rice for our body, it is highly recommended for consumption as well.


  • Black rice is a whole grain that is un-milled or sometimes semi-milled. White rice is always heavily milled. The milling process removes the bran (outer husk) of the rice and its underlying fatty layer. These strata are where most of the rice’s fiber, protein, and nutritional value are stored. When they are removed, there is little left but a lump of starch. 
  • Beyond the added nutritional value that black rice adds, its color comes from a family of compounds called Anthocyanins. Anthocyanins are potent antioxidants. This group of flavonoids fights free radicals and helps boost your immunity.
  • One other major difference between white rice and black is that black rice is more fragrant and flavorful. If you have never tried it, it is like going from drinking water to wine.


Black rice is more nutritious, hands down. It is minimally processed, which means all of the goodness that nature has packed into its tiny grains is still there. On the other hand, white rice is heavily milled, stripping away most of the fiber and many of the healthy fatty acids and vitamins that it once contained. 

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