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Scientists at a meeting of the American Chemical Society recently reported that black rice — which also carries the mysterious and alluring nickname Forbidden Rice — is a rich source of anthocyanins, a class of antioxidants most commonly associated with purple fruits such as blueberries and blackberries.
The rice bran — that outer coating of the rice grain — seems to be the nexus of the potent nutrients. It also contains most of the grains' vitamin E and fiber.
Zhimin Xu, Associate Professor at the Department of Food Science at Louisiana State University Agricultural Center in Baton Rouge and an author of the study, suggests that black rice and black rice bran could have future nutrient-boosting applications in such common foods as cereals, drinks, and desserts. The bran may soon be positioned as an economic alternative to pricey berries, whose relatively high cost and limited seasonal availability may be problematic for all who would like to enjoy their well-documented health benefits.