Eat Like an Emperor, The Many Benefits of Black Rice

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Black Rice has a long history starting in China. At one point in history black rice, called longevity rice at the time, was only allowed to be consumed by the Emperor and royal family. It has been noted that people where even put to death for stealing even a few handfuls. This is where it got the more common name “forbidden rice”.  Even all the way back then they realized that there was something special about this rice. So treat yourself like royalty and get the nutrition of an Emperor with Black Rice.

The anti-oxidant pigments that make black rice “black” aren’t actually black at all. They are actually more of a blue/violet color called anthocyanins. Black rice is so loaded with these compounds, ounce per ounce more than blue berries, that it appears black. Color pigment always have some type of antioxidant protection. The anthocyanins found in black rice are no different. Lets see why the Emperor reserved this special food for himself and other members of the royal family.

Weight Loss while Building Muscle

fatOne of the anthcyanin compounds, cyanidin 3-glucoside (C3G), has some pretty note worthy effects when it comes to losing weight and building muscle. For starters C3G causes the insulin sensitivity of fat cells to decrease and the insulin sensitivity of muscle cells to increase. It does this by up-regulating the GLUT4 gene in muscle cells while down-regulating the RBP4 gene. What this means in simpler terms is that glucose and nutrient uptake goes up in muscle cells, while deposition of fat in adipose tissue goes down. So instead of storing excess calories away as fat, your body will be more prone to put it inside muscle tissue. Furthermore it makes it easier for the body to access triglycerides, this is how the body stores its fat, to be used for energy. Black Rice has also been shown to be a thermogenic meaning it slightly raise body temp by burning  calories

Eye Health

eyesAs mentioned above black rice is helpful when it comes to controlling blood sugar. This cuts down on the amount of glycation that takes place. Glycation is the reason diabetics are more prone to go blind. While I was researching C3G it kept popping up in different formulas focusing on eye health. This caused me to look more into eye health and C3G. As it turns out C3G is not only able to help protect the eye, but is also able to regenerate certain parts. The retina contains a compound called rhodopsin. This is what is actually absorbing the light. Rhodopsin breaks down fairly quickly and the body has to regenerate it. C3G binds to rhodopsin creating changes to its structure. These changes are beneficial in that they make it easier for the pigment retinal to bind to rhodopsin. This greatly speeds up the regeneration process.

 

It might be worth noting one study showed that human participants where able to increase their night vision in only 30 minutes after ingesting 50 mg of C3G.

 

Arterial Plaques

plaque build upFirst off black rice has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties and this alone helps prevent the formation of the plaques in the first place, but it doesn’t end there. It has actually been shown that with black rice in the diet that plaques that have already started to develop will slow down their progression. While simultaneously raising HDL or the “good” cholesterol, but lowering overall cholesterol. HDL and LDL aren’t actually cholesterol at all, they are carrier proteins that get cholesterol (a fat) through the blood (mostly water). LDL is the molecule that deposits the cholesterol at the site of injury and HDL removes it, but is it cholesterol that is the problem? There are many compounds in black rice that act as an antioxidant and can lower inflammation. Lets look at why this can be important.

What is a Plaque?

Arterial plaques consist mostly of what are referred to as foam cells. The word macrophage comes from the Greek phrase meaning big eater, and well that is basically what they do. Macrophages are white blood cells that clean foreign particles, microbes, waste, and a host of other things in an attempt to keep the body clean and healthy. Macrophages can even eat cholesterol, and do. Normal cholesterol is easily cleaned up by the macrophages. Its not until the cholesterol becomes oxidized that there is a problem. The most common oxidized cholesterol is 7-keto-cholesterol. Macrophages can’t process oxidized cholesterol. They will consume it until they puff up and die. They are foamy in appearance, hence the name foam cell. So any toxins, chronic inflammation, and things of the sort that cause oxidation can contribute to oxidized cholesterol.

Blood Sugar Control

sugarThe up regulation and down regulation of certain genes touched on earlier have a decent amount to do with the blood sugar controlling effect. Another mechanism involved in controlling blood sugar is the inhibition of an enzyme called alpha-glucosidase. Alpha-glucosidase is an enzyme that is involved in absorption of glucose into the blood stream. Black Rice has been shown to inhibit this enzyme and slow down the rate at which glucose is absorbed. This will prevent a sudden spike in blood sugar. This results in lower amounts of glycated proteins and advanced glycation end products. The same study went on to say that “C3G has significant potency in antidiabetic effects”(9).

 Benefits of Sprouting and Other Misc. Info

sprouting3First off sprouting seeds and nuts has been shown to increase the nutritional value that they contain. It also makes them more digestible. Not only that, but before they are sprouted they contain growth inhibitors, things like phytates, to keep from germinating. When injected they can act as anti-nutrients taking away vital minerals from your body. Sprouting can also take out things like the thyroid damaging bromine. Among being loaded with antioxidants, black rice is pretty nutritious. It contains 18 different amino acids (almost all 20), high in iron and vitamin E. Along with having C3G there are a few other notable anthocyanins before we conclude. Peonidin 3-glucoside has been shown to inhibit tumor growth and cyanidin-3-rutinoside which is actually undergoing clinical trials for its protective role in cancer.

As Always Say YES to Your Health!

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References

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