Is purple rice (referred to as "forbidden rice") better for you than brown rice?

I have tried to find a journal-published nutritional analysis of purple rice and have not been able to do so. All that I have been able to find is information from the Nutrient Facts panel of a purple rice package on the website of a supplier of this rice. According to that information, one-quarter cup of uncooked forbidden rice has 160 calories, 1.5 grams of fat, 34 grams of carbohydrates and 2 grams of fiber plus 0% DV for vitamin A, vitamin C, and calcium, and 4% DV for iron.

In comparison, according to the USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference (http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/foodcomp/search/), one-quarter cup of uncooked long grain brown rice has 171 calories, 1.4 grams of fat, 36 grams of carbohydrates, and 1.6 grams of fiber plus 0% DV for vitamin A and vitamin C, 1% DV for calcium, and 4% DV for iron. In terms of these Nutrition Facts panel nutrients, the two types of rice seem virtually identical. (It's also possible that the fiber contents in these two foods are even closer than four-tenths of a gram, because the purple rice manufacturer might have rounded up its fiber value to the nearest whole number.)

One difference between the two types of rice would involve the anthocyanin pigments that give purple rice its unique color. Anthocyanins are the color pigments that give many foods their deep rich red, blue, and purple colors. They are also well-studied antioxidant nutrients and are considered health supportive for this reason. The risk of several chronic health conditions, including atherosclerosis, is also lowered by regular consumption of foods containing anthocyanins. Colored rice makes sense to me as a rotating part of a Healthiest Way of Eating. Many other World's Healthiest Foods are also rich sources of these same anthocyanin antioxidants found in colored rice. Raspberries, blueberries, red grapes, eggplant, and beets would all be good examples of similarly colored (and health-supportive) foods.

Based upon all of this, I think that brown rice and purple rice (as well as other whole grain rice, such as red cargo rice) can play an important part in your Healthiest Way of Eating, and I encourage you to enjoy a variety of colored rice. The only reason that I chose brown rice as a featured World Healthiest Food and not purple or red rice was because brown rice is less expensive and more widely available. As with all World's Healthiest Foods, I encourage you to purchase certified organic rice, regardless of their color!

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