Sunday, October 24, 2010

Black Rice Bran May Help Fight Disease (complete with recipe)

“A single teaspoon of black rice bran has the same amount of anthocyanins as an equal-sized serving of blueberries – with more fiber and less natural sugar” reported Zhimin Xu, Associate Professor at the Department of Food Science at Louisiana State University at the 240th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS), August 22-26, 2010.

Like brown rice, black rice isn’t processed to remove the outer husk, which means it still has the fiber and vitamins that white rice lacks. Bran contains higher levels of gamma-tocotrienol, one of the vitamin E compounds, and gamma-oryzanol antioxidants, which are lipid-soluble antioxidants. Numerous studies showed that these antioxidants can reduce blood levels of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL) -- so called "bad" cholesterol -- and may help fight heart disease

Xu and colleagues analyzed samples of black rice bran and brown rice bran and found that the former contains higher levels of anthocyanins, which give it its distinctive purple-black coloration. The water-soluble anthocyanin antioxidants show promise for fighting heart disease, cancer, and other diseases.

Separately, Mendel Friedman and colleagues pointed out that black rice bran may help soothe the inflammation involved in allergies, asthma, and other diseases.

In the new study, they tested the effects of black rice bran extract on skin inflammation in laboratory mice. When they injected the extract into the mice, it reduced skin inflammation by about 32 percent compared to control animals and also decreased production of certain substances known to promote inflammation. Brown rice bran extract did not have these effects, they say. When the scientists fed the mice a diet containing 10 percent black rice bran, it reduced swelling associated with allergic contact dermatitis, a common type of skin irritation.

The findings "further demonstrate the potential value of black rice bran as an anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic food ingredient and possibly also as a therapeutic agent for the treatment and prevention of diseases associated with chronic inflammation," the researchers noted.

So, now you know why Bee Koh Moy/Bubur Pulut Hitam/Black Sticky Rice Porridge is one of the most popular and common desserts in many Nyonya and Peranakan families

Here’s a recipe downloaded from Nonya Food – Rasa Malaysia for your convenience:

200g black rice
Sugar to taste
5 cups water
2 pandan leaves, knotted
1 cup coconut milk plus 1/2 teaspoon salt (mix well)


  1. Rinse the black sticky rice with water thoroughly until the water turns clear. Please take note that the color will remain “black” or “purple” in color but it should look clear.
  2. Add water and pandan leaves in a pot and bring it to boil. Add the black sticky rice into the pot and boil it on medium to low heat for 45-60 minutes or until the rice becomes soft and breaks up. Cover the pot with its lid.
  3. Keep checking the water level, if it’s become too dry, add more water.
  4. Add sugar to taste.
  5. Serve the bee koh moy in small bowls topped with a spoonful of coconut milk. If you like it creamier, add more coconut milk.
Journal reference:
Sun Phil Choi, Sung Phil Kim, Mi Young Kang, Seok Hyun Nam, Mendel Friedman. Protective Effects of Black Rice Bran against Chemically-Induced Inflammation of Mouse Skin. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 2010; 58 (18): 10007

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