OUR CONNECTION WITH BLACK RICE
Hi, my name is Alex, I am a physician and I love food, its cycle.
My interest grew over the years. After graduating in 2007, I felt something was missing: education had all been about diseases and treatments, there was no place for nutritional or preventive science and at the time I had no clue what to eat. It was only in 2011, at a seminar on musculoskeletal disorders, where health was defined as a balance in movement, nutrition and communication, that I fully realised I had to change direction.
Literally the day after, I met Dao at the bakery where she was working and it didn't take long before we started traveling together (two years later we got married). I got to read about food and agriculture, lived at a farm, tried out Fuhrman and McDougall, and maybe more than anything else, our taste buds got more sensitive and we found something we both enjoy: healthy, tasty, traditional food!
At a local dim sum restaurant. Taipei, 2017.
About 3 years ago, we were served black rice, it was utterly fragrant and chewy delicious, with a satisfying sensation of fullness in a way polished white rice simply can't do. I couldn't grasp why this type of rice was relatively unknown, that in my life I hadn't heard of this colourful rice before.
Today, we eat whole foods. Starch, variation and flavour are key. We fuel our body with complex carbohydrates and eat an abundance of vegetables and tropical fruits. We feel healthy and energetic.
We do eat meat and fish, but not often and foremost at our favorite street stalls and local restaurants in Chiang Mai and while traveling. There is too much culture in freshly prepared street food, beloved by the locals, which goes with meat, and we wouldn't want to miss out on these great experiences. But overall, our animal protein intake is very moderate.
We don't consider black rice as the latest and greatest superfood, but as an essential part of what we eat everyday. The kind of food we want to promote and everyone to taste.
Alex Cochez MD
co-owner Rebirth Rice
August 11, 2017
NUTRIENT-DENSE WHOLE GRAIN
Black rice and any other naturally pigmented rice variety comes packed with starch, fiber and minerals, what makes it such a valuable, high-nutrient staple food
Breakfast at home. Homemade bread and yoghurt, lots of fruits, fresh coffee (lots and lots) and the happy presence of Jai, our Thai dog.
When you consistently choose a whole grain or starchy vegetable at the center of your meal, your body is set to get energy mostly from eating complex carbohydrates. One 60g serving of black rice provides 45g of complex carbohydrates.
Human studies have shown that even as little as one serving of whole grain rice per week can result in a 40% lower risk of developing colorectal polyps (precursors of colorectal cancer) due to the influence of fiber on intestinal pH.
Key is the combination of complex carbohydrates (sugars low in fructose, such as rice) and insoluble fiber which not only helps regulating blood sugar but reduces both cholesterol levels and cortisol spikes, drastically lowering risk of diabetes.
Fiber gives that typical pleasing sensation of fullness, adds bulk to stool and relieves constipation. Black rice fibers are prebiotic, nourishing good bacteria in our intestines that are linked to healthy digestion and robust immune systems.
To illustrate the excess of minerals in black rice, I just name two: iron and magnesium. Bioavailable iron is 3 times higher in black rice than in polished white, and half more than in brown rice. One serving provides 25% of the recommended daily value for magnesium. Actually, black rice contains more magnesium than most well-known magnesium rich foods. No other starch even comes close.
ANTIOXIDANT: OUR LAB VALUES FOR ANTHOCYANIN AND MANGANESE
Pigmented rice has one of the highest antioxidant levels of any food with heaps of anthocyanin, manganese, molybdenum and vitamin E. I'll briefly discuss two of them.
Similar to blueberries, black and red rice ooze these beautiful black-purple, reddish hues thanks to anthocyanin, a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory which belongs to a family of plant pigments. Apparently, anthocyanin helps to stimulate phase II enzymes in liver and kidneys, co-factors in the elimination of mutagens and carcinogens.
Meanwhile, anthocyanin assists in the release of another enzyme, nitrogen oxide (NO) synthase, which relaxes blood vessels. As a result blood pressure and vessel inflammation risk are reduced and, in essence, a contribution is being made to the prevention of cardiac disease. Just saying, anthocyanin is one of the many musicians playing its part in a symphony performed by the human cell.
Manganese is an essential mineral, part of an enzyme complex in the mitochondria. These are small engines, present in each human cell, and which produce all human fuel. Along this process 90% of all oxygen is burnt and as by-products free radicals are generated. These radicals mutate DNA, in other words, cause cancer. Manganese enzyme complexes are capable to convert free radicals, through a few reactions, into harmless water.