Black rice: 6 benefits and delicious recipes

Black rice, also called black or pigmented rice , is a variety of the common rice species ( Oryza sativa ) that began to be cultivated over 4,000 years ago in China. Once called “forbidden rice”, as it could only be eaten by the Chinese emperor, it is now appreciated all over the world.

This type differs from the traditional one especially for having a striking color, a very dark lilac that even appears to be black, presenting a strong and pleasant flavor and aroma that resembles chestnuts.

But it’s not just the sensory part that the cereal is amazing. The nutrition technician and gastronomy specialist Maria de Fátima Duarte Gonçalves informed that it is also more nutritious and less caloric than the traditional versions, which is great for those looking to lose those extra pounds.

But beware, black rice “should not be confused with the so-called wild rice, which is another grass,” warns the professional. What’s up? Curious about this exotic food?

So keep reading to discover 6 health benefits of it and learn 3 mouthwatering recipes!

6 benefits of black rice

According to Maria de Fátima, nutrition technician and gastronomy specialist, black rice is a super nutritious option, because “compared to whole and polished rice, black rice has more protein and fiber ”.

The cereal also has good amounts of vitamins A, the B complex, such as B1, B2, B6 and B12, in addition to C and E. It doesn’t stop there, as the grain is also rich in minerals such as iron , magnesium, selenium, copper and zinc. ( 1 , 2 )

1. It’s good for the muscles

One of the main health benefits of consuming black rice is muscle function. This is because, as the expert explained, it has a greater amount of proteins, on average 20% more than the white variety, which is the most common in Brazil.

What happens is that these proteins , along with the 18 amino acids that are also found in it, are essential for the production of the cells that make up the muscular system, helping the muscles to recover and reducing the risk of problems related to weakness and pain after physical effort. ( 1 )

For this action that this food group is extremely important for people who seek to gain weight with health.

2. Helps regulate bowel health

Another excellent quality of black rice is that it regulates the functioning of the intestinal tract, which, according to Maria de Fátima, is due to the large amount of fiber present in the cereal.

Understand better! Fiber is a type of component that is not digested, therefore, it passes whole to the intestines.

During this passage, it absorbs water, which hydrates and prevents the stool from drying out and increases in size, stimulating peristaltic movements. In this way, it encourages evacuation , ending the problem of constipation .

They also ferment and favor the proliferation of intestinal bacterial flora, which is essential in preventing diseases such as infections and diarrhea . ( 1 )

3. Aids in weight loss

Do you know all that fiber that was mentioned in the previous topic? Well, this characteristic makes black rice an ally in the control of body weight, since this component is directly responsible for increasing the feeling of satiety and delaying gastric emptying.

This means you feel full and it takes longer to get hungry again, even if you eat less than normal.

Furthermore, it has “a lower total caloric value (about 142 calories per serving) and less fat [than the traditional one]”, comments the gastronomy specialist.

To complete the effects on healthy weight loss, this cereal is described as being able to suppress adipogenesis, which is the formation of fatty plaques that accumulate in tissues and give rise to the hated localized fats . ( 1 )

4. Protects the body against free radicals

Did you know that black rice has almost ten times more phenolic compounds than the common variety? Well, even the dark color of the grain is derived from the high concentration of anthocyanins, a natural colorant.

Maria de Fátima explained that thanks to this characteristic, the cereal is a powerful antioxidant .

Other substances such as procyanidins, carotenoids such as coumarin and beta-carotene, as well as organic acids and sterols are found and have similar properties. ( 3 )

Because of this composition, it protects the body against damage caused by free radicals, which are a type of molecule that can cause the oxidation (degradation) of healthy cells and even changes in DNA, making the body more susceptible to disease . ( 4 )

5. Gives you more energy to get through the day

Do you need energy to be able to do all your daily tasks? Then add black rice to your menu, since, as the gastronomy expert said, it has good amounts of carbohydrates and therefore gives more energy.

What happens is that this nutrient turns into sugar, which is the primary source of energy and essential for the proper functioning of all body functions , after being metabolized by the body.

Each serving of this cereal provides about 35 grams of carbohydrates and as it has fewer calories, this increased value does not have much influence on body weight gain. ( 1 )

6. It’s healthier for the heart

Finally, black rice is a healthier heart health cereal option. Firstly, because of the lower amount of fat in the grain, as quoted by the specialist.

Second, bean anthocyanins are able to reduce not only total cholesterol, but also levels of triglycerides , both fats that increase the incidence of cardiovascular problems when they exceed recommended limits. ( 3 )

The same antioxidants , as already mentioned, prevent adipogenesis and thus reduce the risk of developing atherosclerosis , which is the formation of fatty plaques in the arteries.

Finally, opting for this variety of rice can reduce the risk of a heart attack and still control blood pressure . ( 1 )

How to eat: 3 amazing recipes with black rice

After seeing these benefits of black rice you must have wanted to try this delicacy, right? So know that it, having a stronger flavor and being aromatic, “ combines with seafood, mushrooms and vegetables ”, recommends Maria.

“[The grain] can be served as a risotto, as a salad and as an accompaniment to fish dishes, such as salmon and white fish”, completes the professional. We’ve separated 3 mouth-watering recipes. See how to do it!

1. Black rice with mushrooms


  • ½ cup of black rice
  • ¼ cup of chopped leeks
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 1 cup of fresh paris mushrooms
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • Boiling water.

Preparation mode

Wash the rice well and drain the water in a sieve. Then brown the onion and the leeks in the oil and add the rice. Mix well and then season with salt, pepper and gradually add boiling water, stirring.

Add enough water to cover all the rice, cover and cook over low heat. Tip: always keep an eye out for the beans not to go past the cooking point. If the water dries up you can add more.

While cooking the rice, sauté the mushrooms, which must be sliced, in a very hot skillet with the oil and season with salt and pepper. When they are ready, just gently incorporate them into the already cooked beans and serve.

2. Black rice risotto with seafood

Risotto ingredients

  • 2 cups of black rice
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 120 grams of butter
  • 400 ml of dry white wine
  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 liter of chicken or vegetable stock
  • Salt for seasoning.

accompaniment ingredients

  • 300 grams of squid in rings
  • 400 grams of shrimp
  • 300 grams of white fish
  • ⅓ cup of oil
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • Salt and pepper for seasoning.

Preparation mode

The first step is to prepare the risotto. Saute the onion until it is transparent using half the butter. Once that’s done, add the rice and keep stirring to burn.

Wine is the next ingredient and should be added, little by little, as soon as the rice starts to stick to the bottom of the pan. Alternate between wine and the broth of your choice, stirring constantly until the rice is cooked.

The ideal point is when the grain is al dente , which is firm when squeezing. As soon as you turn off the heat, mix the cheese and the remaining butter with the rice, stir until incorporated and set aside.

The accompaniment of seafood is also very simple, just grill the ingredients, one at a time, with the olive oil. Then add all the garlic in the same pan, season with salt and pepper and drizzle with more oil. Serve immediately.

3. Salted black rice


  • 1 cup of washed black rice
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 medium onion
  • 3 tablespoons of oil
  • 1 mature manga
  • 1 ripe tomato
  • 1 cup of leeks
  • 1 handful of chives
  • Salt, black pepper and balsamic vinegar for seasoning.

Preparation mode

Saute the garlic and onion and then add the rice. Cover with water and cook until al dente and allow to cool. In a bowl or salad bowl, place the chopped mango, tomato, leek and chives, then add the rice.

Mix gently and refrigerate. Season with salt, pepper and vinegar just before serving.

Differences between black and white rice

You saw that black rice has, in addition to color, nutritional properties a little different from the white variety, right?

But know that the differences don’t stop there. As Maria clarifies, “black rice takes longer to cook [than white rice ], on average 57 minutes”.

Furthermore, it “absorbs a greater amount of water during cooking, due to the greater amount of fiber it has”, he adds.

It also yields more than the others, an average of 2.25 to 3 times more, precisely due to the presence of fibers, which the specialist considered a good yield. Especially when taking into account its cost, which is usually much more expensive than traditional types.

Ellie Lauderdale

My name is Ellie Lauderdale, MD and I am USA based professional Nutritionist .

I am a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and board certified specialist in sports dietetics who is trained in integrative medicine. I have worked with hundreds of clients, from those suffering with chronic disease to professional and olympian athletes. My goal is to help optimize you from the inside so that you can feel, perform, and look your best on the outside.

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