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Black rice, also called forbidden rice or “emperor’s rice,” is gaining popularity for its high levels of antioxidants and superior nutritional value. Forbidden rice earned its name because it was once reserved for the Chinese emperor to ensure his health and longevity, and forbidden to anyone else. Forbidden rice is a medium-grain, non-glutinous heirloom rice with a deep purple hue and a nutty, slightly sweet flavor. This whole-grain rice is rich in anthocyanins, which are antioxidant pigments that give the rice its unusual color. Relative to other rice varieties, forbidden rice is high in protein and iron; according to Chinese medicine, it is considered a blood tonic.
The Nutritional Value
In comparison to other varieties, black rice has more fiber and protein than red, brown, or white rice. This, combined with its high level of anthocyanins, makes it a nutrition powerhouse. A 1/2 cup serving of prepared black rice, made from about 1/4 cup of uncooked rice, contains 160 calories, 1 1/2 grams of fat, 34 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 5 grams of protein, and 4 percent of iron.
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