Black Rice – Exotic and Healthy

A Flavorful Food with Anti-Inflammatory Properties

Black rice—long a staple food for one-third of the world’s population—is gaining popularity in the United States because of its exotic look and nutty flavor. Now, research chemists with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service report that the black variety of this grain may help soothe the inflammation involved in allergies, asthma and other diseases. These health benefits are attributed to its outer bran layer which, unlike with white rice, is not polished off during processing.

Collaborating researchers tested the effects of black rice bran extract on skin inflammation in laboratory mice and found that it reduced the inflammation by 32 percent compared to control animals; the rice bran also decreased production of certain substances known to promote inflammation in the body. Brown rice bran extract did not have these effects. When the scientists fed the mice a diet containing 10 percent black rice bran, swelling associated with allergic contact dermatitis, a common type of skin irritation, decreased.

These results show a potential value of black rice bran as an anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic food ingredient. It may also hold promise as a therapeutic agent for the treatment and prevention of diseases associated with chronic inflammation.

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