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Black Rice: Uses, Benefits, Side Effects By Dr. Rajeev Singh

By Dr Rajeev Singh +2 more


Traditional white rice might be a part of your regular diet. But what if we told you a healthier variety of rice is available for you? Yes, you heard it right! Rice of various colours has been grown in Asia for a long time and is considered as a staple food. Black (pigmented rice) rice is one of the rice varieties and its scientific name is Oryza sativa which is also called imperial rice and forbidden rice. Black rice is reserved for the royal people in China during the olden days and it is a rich source of nutrition.1Traditional white rice has other pigmented varieties, among which black rice is gaining attention due to its beneficial properties, and nutritional value and is considered a functional food.1 Unlike typical white rice, most of the outer layers of the black rice are retained during milling. Thus, the bran along with the germ layer is highly nutritious and may be beneficial for health.1 Let us discuss the importance and health benefits of black rice. 

Nutritional Value of Black Rice: 

The following nutrients might be present in black rice 

black rice benefits

Nutrient  Percentage content  
Carbohydrates  73.93 
Lipids  3.41  
Fibre  3.83 
Protein  9.15 

Table 1: Depicting the nutrient content of black rice per 100g.1 

Also Read: Wheat: Uses, Benefits, Side Effects By Dr. Rajeev Singh

Properties of Black Rice: 

Black rice may have the following properties: 

  • It may show anti-obesity  
  • It may show anti-lipidemic  
  • It may show anti-hypertensive property  
  • It may show antioxidant  
  • It may act as anticancer property 
  • It may show antiulcer property 
  • It may show antiviral property 
  • It may show anti-inflammatory1  

Let me tell you a secret about a special category of compounds called black rice anthocyanins (BRACs). These unique substances are extracted from the outer layer of black rice. BRACs have been shown to have a superhero-like ability to inhibit the development of cancer. They might interfere with the signals inside our cells that contribute to cancer growth, progression, and spreading to other parts of the body.

Dr. Siddharth Gupta, B.A.M.S, M.D (Ayu)

Also Read: Soybean: Uses, Benefits, Side Effects By Dr. Rajeev Singh

Potential Uses of Black Rice for Overall Health: 

Black rice may have potential uses and some of the potential benefits of black rice are given below.  

1. Potential uses of black rice for diabetes 

Regular intake of black rice might help to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes due to the presence of phenolic compounds. The phenolic compounds present in the black rice might interfere with the pancreatic a-amylase and intestinal a-glucosidase which are responsible for breaking down the sugars. This may lead to a decrease in blood glucose levels and may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.1 However, diabetes is a chronic illness that requires you to strictly adhere to the doctor’s advice and treatment. Do not self-medicate.  

2. Potential uses of black rice for oxidative stress 

The antioxidant potential of black rice may help against oxidative damage and helps in eliminating free radicals. Free radicals might contribute to chronic diseases and inflammation in the body which indirectly leads to oxidative stress.1 The phenolic and bioactive compounds in black rice may be helpful in antioxidant activity. Therefore, black rice may be the potential to reduce oxidative stress and may help against various diseases. However, in case of any chronic illness, you must contact your healthcare provider and get a proper diagnosis and treatment. 

3. Potential uses of black rice for heart disease 

Adding black rice to your diet might help you manage heart diseases like hypertension and atherosclerosis (accumulation of cholesterol in the artery walls). Regular intake of black rice may reduce cholesterol levels and inflammation in the walls of blood vessels. This may help in reducing the risk of atherosclerosis and blood pressure. Additionally, the flavonoids present in black rice may also reduce the risk of high blood pressure. Therefore, black rice might be helpful for the heart and maintaining proper blood pressure.2 However, in case of any heart disease, you must contact your healthcare provider and get a proper diagnosis and treatment. 

4. Potential uses of black rice for stomach 

Black rice is a rich source of fibre which helps in clearing out the toxins from the stomach. High fibre content may help with regular bowel movements. These properties may reduce stomach problems like gas, constipation, stomach ulcers, and haemorrhoids. Adding sufficient fibre to the diet may be an excellent way to eliminate stomach problems.2 However, if you are experiencing any stomach problems, you need to contact a qualified physician and get treated. Do not self-medicate.  

5. Other Potential Uses of Black Rice: 


Osteoporosis is the condition of the bones caused due to reduced osteogenesis (bone formation) by the bone marrow cells. Research suggests that consuming black rice may protect against osteoporosis.2 However, you should also consult your doctor and get proper treatment.   


Black rice contains anthocyanin, which may scavenge the free radicals in the body which are involved in allergic asthma and respiratory problems.2 However, if you are experiencing any asthma-related problems, you need to contact a qualified physician and get treated. Do not self-medicate.  

Though studies have shown the benefits of black rice in various conditions, more research is needed to establish the extent of the benefits of black rice on human health.  

Recently, I came across a study conducted on rats that showed some exciting results. It revealed that black rice anthocyanins (BRACs) could potentially shield the retina from damage caused by light exposure. This means that the compounds found in black rice might be used in tackling injuries to the retina caused by exposure to certain types of light. It’s important to highlight that these findings, although promising, are yet to be confirmed through human studies.

Dr. Rajeev Singh, BAMS

Also Read: Suji (Semolina): Uses, Benefits, Side Effects By Dr. Rajeev Singh

How to Use Black Rice? 

You may use black rice as an alternative to traditional white rice. 

You must consult a qualified physician before taking black rice in large amounts or any other herbal supplements. Do not discontinue or replace an ongoing treatment of modern medicine with an ayurvedic/herbal preparation without consulting a qualified doctor.   

From my perspective, black rice is a fantastic choice for people who want to avoid gluten. The best part is that black rice is naturally free of gluten, unlike certain types of rice and whole-grain products.

Dr. Smita barode, B.A.M.S, M.S.

Also Read: Is Risotto Gluten Free? Unveiling the Facts Behind Your Favorite Dishes

Side Effects of Black Rice: 

Black rice is rich in fibre. Consuming too much black rice may cause problems like gas and abdominal pain. Therefore, you are advised to eat black rice in moderation.3  

If you experience adverse reactions to black rice, immediately contact a doctor or your Ayurvedic physician who has prescribed it. They will be able to guide you appropriately for your symptoms. 

Guess what I discovered about black rice? It’s like a superhero among grains! The outer layer of black rice has loads of anthocyanin, an antioxidant even higher than other grains. This antioxidant may provide health benefits like anti-ageing, improved brain function, and reduced inflammation.

Dr. Anuja Bodhare, B.A.M.S, M.D (Ayu)

Precautions to Take with Black Rice: 

You need to take these precautions while using black rice.  

There is a lack of sufficient data supporting the safe use of black rice for pregnant women. Therefore, make sure you have consulted with a healthcare provider before consuming black rice.  Being rich in fibre, black rice might lead to problems like gas and abdominal pain if consumed in excess. Therefore, the elderly should stick to moderate food amounts. Children should consume black rice under the supervision of elders.  

Also Read: Purple Rice: Uses, Benefits, Side Effects & More

Interactions with Other Drugs: 

There is a lack of information on the interaction of black rice with other drugs and medicines. If you are receiving medical treatment for any health condition, make sure to talk to the healthcare provider about the interactions of the treatment with other herbs and medicines.  

Also Read: Pine Nuts: Uses, Benefits, Side Effects By Dr. Rajeev Singh

Frequently Asked Questions: 

What are the black rice benefits? 

Black rice has potential uses against diseases like diabetes, heart disease and other chronic illnesses. It might also be a good choice for weight management. Adding black rice to the diet might be a good choice because of its nutritional value.1,2 However, before using black rice for any disease condition, talk to a healthcare provider.  Do not self-medicate.  

Is black rice good for weight loss? 

Black rice is a rich source of fibre and vitamins. Increasing fibre intake might help your stomach feel full and satisfied for a long period. This may reduce food intake and may help in weight management.2 However, you can meet with a certified nutritionist for proper weight management.  

What are some side effects of black rice? 

Black rice is rich in fibre. Increasing your fibre intake can cause stomach pain and flatulence (gas).3 Therefore avoid overconsumption of black ice in large quantities.  

Can I eat black rice with diabetes?  

Black rice might be an excellent dietary choice for diabetic people. The phenolic compounds present in black rice may help reduce blood glucose levels.1 However, if you have diabetes, you are advised to strictly adhere to your doctor’s advice. 

I have high blood pressure; can I eat black rice? 

Yes, black rice might help in lowering blood pressure and may help in reducing the risk of high blood pressure.2 However, you should consult a doctor before consuming black rice for any condition.  


1. Ito VC, Lacerda LG. Black rice (Oryza sativa L.): A review of its historical aspects, chemical composition, nutritional and functional properties, and applications and processing technologies. Food Chem [Internet]. 2019 Dec 15 [cited 2022 Aug 16];301. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31394335/ 

2. Cherik R. Sangma H, Parameshwari S. Health benefits of black rice (Zizania aqatica) – a review. Materials Today: Proceedings. 2021 Jul 27; Available from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2214785321051166 

3. Dietary fibre – Better Health Channel [Internet]. [cited 2022 Jul 21]. Available from: https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/fibre-in-food 

Also Read: Does Rice Have Gluten? Dispelling Dietary Myths

Disclaimer: The information provided here is for educational/awareness purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional and should not be relied upon to diagnose or treat any medical condition. The reader should consult a registered medical practitioner to determine the appropriateness of the information and before consuming any medication. PharmEasy does not provide any guarantee or warranty (express or implied) regarding the accuracy, adequacy, completeness, legality, reliability or usefulness of the information; and disclaims any liability arising thereof.

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