SPOONFUL - Black is not just beautiful

Staying true to my profession as a Food technologist, here is my first food related post!! This post is not your typical food blog post where it has recipes or cooking tips or such. I am not a chef, nor an expert in the kitchen. I am a food scientist so my food related post will be quite scientific and technical but I will try to keep it casual so it won't be boring.

Black is not just beautiful

Black is referred to as the color that do not emit or reflect light in any part of the visible spectrum. This means that black is achromatic or hue less or simply put, it is the absence of color.. However, black is used as an adjective to describe a dark color. The color black is associated with a lot of things. It has been used  in literary to give a sense of mystery, grief and evil. In fashion, to wear black means to be elegant, classy and sophisticated. 

In modern food science, there is one type of black that can now be associated with nutritious. And I am talking about black rice. Many of us haven't heard of it but black rice is cultivated in the Philippines. Its Filipino name is Pirurutung which is the raw material for our puto bumbong. Black rice is like the long distant cousin of the more popularly known brown rice. 

Black rice (Photo from Google Images)

Black rice is known in many names such as black sticky rice, Indonesian black rice, Thai black rice and forbidden rice. It was called forbidden rice since in the ancient times, only emperors were allowed to eat it and everyone else is forbidden to do so. The black color of the rice is due to the unpolished layer of bran which when cooked turns into a deep purple hue. The deep purple colored rice is then mixed with white  sticky rice (galapong) to make the Pinoy holiday favorite, puto bumbong. Black rice is very aromatic and flavorful which is why it is used in a lot of Asian desserts and delicacies. 

Black rice pudding (Photo from Google images)

Puto bumbong (Photo from Google images)

The black, purplish color of black rice is primarily due to anthocyanins. Black rice also supplies several important amino acids and contains high mineral content, including iron. Iron helps in the production of hemoglobin, an iron rich compound in red blood cells that gives blood its red color and transports oxygen, carbon dioxide and nitric oxide in the body.

Black rice is one of the most nutritious of its kind because of the presence of the flavonoid pigment, anthocyanin. Anthocyanins have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and are being studied for their role in preventing a variety of chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart diseases, Alzheimer's disease and cancer. Black rice's anthocyanin content is so rich that it was dubbed the next super food to blueberries,  which is known to have high levels of antioxidants.

Black rice also contains minerals particularly iron. Studies on the iron content and bioavailability in different kinds of rice shows that the iron content of black rice is higher compared to other types of rice. In fact, one quarter cup of uncooked black rice yields eight percent of the daily recommended intake for iron. Also, the iron found in black rice is naturally chelated to organic compounds which is also the same type of iron found in most foods and is one of the safest sources of iron available. 

Here is a complete detailed list on the composition of black rice

12.1 %
7.4 g
2.1 g
77.1 g  (incl.fiber)
0.8 g
1.3 g
21.0 mg
243.0 mg
3.4 mg
11.0 mg
288.0 mg
.30 mg
.12 mg
5.0  mg

Forgive me if the post sounded too technical but it's hard to explain it in simpler terms. However, I will try my best in the next posts and I hope you learned something new from me. It has always been a pleasure for me to share my knowledge and I am happy that I have the chance to do so.