To most of us, rice is a side-dish, a vessel for something more tasty and exciting, an afterthought. In reality, rice is much more than the second fiddle to your meal. Whole-grain rice is full of antioxidants, protein, and fiber as well as compounds proven to control hormones linked to diabetes, obesity, and cholesterol levels. According to research, whole-grain rice is also a cancer and Alzheimer’s deterrent. Who knew rice was linked to longevity in such a grand way? Evidently, a few cultures dating back to thousands of years ago had a pretty good idea of its benefits.
Black rice aka “Emperor’s Rice” or “Longevity Rice”
Black rice, or “Emperor’s Rice” has a long colorful history. Black rice first came about because of a mutation in the gene that controlled the antioxidant anthocyanin, which also gives the rice it’s deep purple-to-blackish hue. It was first cultivated in China and heralded hundreds of years ago despite the fact that crops produce significantly less yield than other rice varieties, and it is harder and more expensive to produce. The rare and expensive rice became known as the “Emperor’s rice” and was reserved for the Emperor and highest nobility of the time.
Black rice became associated with health and longevity, and hundreds of years ago the nobility was onto something. In fact, black rice has been shown to be the most nutrient-dense variety of rice, with more benefits than any other variety.
Health benefits to black rice include:
- High in the antioxidant anthocyanin, which is also found in blueberries, eggplant, purple cauliflower, concord grapes, plums (seeing a trend here? Fruits and veggies with deep purple and red hues)
- More fiber than white or brown rice, and fewer carbs – fiber is linked to insulin control, detoxifying effects, weight-loss, and heart health
- Higher protein than white or brown rice
- Fewer calories than white or brown rice
Fun fact: black rice is sometimes referred to as “Forbidden Rice”, which is a brand name from importer Lotus Foods – its a clever reference to the exclusivity of the grain in its early cultivation.
Black rice does not just look cool, it is also superior in nutrient density to more common varieties of rice. It goes well with sweet and savory dishes.
Make black rice a part of your diet with our Black Rice Stir-Fry meal
Wild rice, wild health benefits
Wild rice is not just the wacky, free-spirited cousin of white rice. Apparently, it’s a more distant relative that brings some great nutrient benefits to the table.
That’s right gumshoe, your instincts were right all along. Wild rice is not truly rice but comes from a species of aquatic grass. We’re splitting hairs here, but the unique nutritional value of wild rice is what’s actually important.
Wild rice nutrition facts at a glance:
- High in protein, zinc, and potassium (higher than brown and white rice)
- Very high in dietary fiber which aids digestion and reduces risk of colon cancer, and eliminates bad cholesterol
- Low in fat and no sodium, both of which benefit your heart
- High in vitamin C and antioxidants, boosting your immune system
- High in phosphorus and zinc which are great for bone strength
Wild rice’s texture can be harsh, so it is often blended with other varieties of rice for optimal eating. That is precisely what Healthy Gourmet Your Way does with our new Creole Smothered Pork meal. What’s in the blend? In addition to wild rice, we have long-grain brown rice, sweet brown rice, wild rice, wehani red rice, and black rice.
Color, delightful texture, full-bodied flavor, and aroma all come together in this blend. Organic Wild Blend is versatile, so serve it up with hearty meals or subtle seafood dishes.
Brown Jasmine Rice
Originating from Thailand, brown jasmine rice has become more popular around the world because of its aromatic scent and nutty flavor. The health benefits of brown jasmine rice make it a must-add to a complete diet.
To clear up the difference between whole-grain and white rice, white rice is whole-grain rice that has been milled. As described above, milling strips the rice of not only its color but of essential oils and minerals. Milled rice lacks the fiber of whole-grain rice and breaks down more quickly during digestion, making white rice essentially just a short energy boost. Brown rice just has the inedible outer layer hulled but retains the bran that contains the brown color, majority of the fiber, oils, and minerals.
Compared to white jasmine rice, which is milled – stripped of the husk and therefore many of the beneficial oils and fibers, brown rice retains the natural components that make it so good for your body. Brown jasmine rice has double the fiber and iron as white jasmine. Brown rice is also a better source of magnesium and selenium.
The higher fiber and complexity of brown jasmine rice means it has a lower glycemic index than white. The lower glycemic index means your body does not have the extreme spike in blood sugar that requires your body to rapidly create more insulin to balance your blood sugar – something that diabetics’ bodies cannot keep up with.
Healthy Gourmet’s Take on Whole-Grain
The current diet climate tends to demonize carbs, and leans towards healthy fats and protein on the macronutrient scale. We believe a balanced diet can include healthy carbs as well. The key to “healthy carbs”? – Always go with whole-grain carbs. The nutrients that whole-grain rice contains are essential to a healthy diet, and they satisfy you without over-delivering on fat and protein. Try our new meals featuring black rice, wild rice, and brown jasmine rice by ordering today!