Heart healthy diet plan in India
Why you must include Manipuri Black Rice in your diet!
Recently I wrote about the benefits of black rice for diabetics. You can read the blog post here… In Manipur (India) they grow black rice that is considered a wonderful option while one is following a heart healthy diet plan in India. This type of rice is famously known as Chakhao, the Black rice of Manipur. It is a very unique grain that has multiple health benefits. This is sticky (glutinous) rice that is indigenous to Manipur.
Chakhao is a very aromatic black rice of Manipur which has been cultivated for ages using traditional ways. Recently it has been awarded the Geographical Indication (GI) tag. GI status identifies products originated/produced in a particular geographical area that has the quality attributable to that particular area of origin.
In Manipur, this black rice is used in traditional medicines as it has a great nutritional value. Though called black rice, it is not really black but deep purple in color. Health promoters have now started acknowledging its nutritional value as the experts conclude that the black rice of Manipur is high in vitamin and mineral content. Not only that but being gluten-free is something that increases its value for those having celiac disease and gluten-sensitive.
There is the presence of a pigment anthocyanin, which gives color and antioxidant properties to black rice. According to research done by Manipur SFAC, the use of black rice helps to prevent and manage serious health conditions such as atherosclerosis, high cholesterol, hypertension, arthritis, and other heart-related medical issues.
Chak-hao, for a heart-healthy diet plan in India
Black sticky rice is locally named Chak-hao is well known for its beautiful maroonish black or purplish-black color attractive color and soft aromatic flavor. It is one of the richest sources of anthocyanin found among food grains. It has an adequate amount of vitamins, minerals, fiber, proteins, and many other nutrients.
The stickiness is something that gives it uniqueness being special from the fields of Manipur. The pleasant soft aroma is always coupled with stickiness is not found in black rice grown in any other part of the world.
Its high vitamin and mineral content makes it a better choice than both white and brown rice. In addition to that, being a great source of vitamin E, black rice is seen to reduce inflammation levels in the body thus making it a healthy eating choice.
There are flavonoids found in black rice that have a direct relation with lowering the risk of heart disease. We can still say that there is still a lot of research needed on the health benefits of black rice especially its effects on heart health. There are many antioxidants that have been seen to safeguard against heart disease.
According to a study based on the benefits of anthocyanin, the pigment that gives color to black rice indicates that adults with high cholesterol levels can improve (HDL) the good cholesterol levels and reduce (LDL) the bad cholesterol levels. This can happen by taking two 80-mg anthocyanin capsules daily for 12 weeks. Thus anthocyanin can help in getting heart health sorted.
As we all know that a high cholesterol diet causes plaque formation so adding black rice to the high cholesterol diet might end up reducing plaque accumulation by 50pc as compared to a diet that contains white rice. It is perceived that eating black rice may protect against heart disease, although more research in this field is required to prove it.
How to use Chak-hao in a heart-healthy diet plan in India?
Chak-hao can be consumed as regular rice or porridge. It can also be used after being converted in the form of suji, syrup form, in chocolates, by making beer from it.
Chak-hao extracts are also a source of anti-oxidative phytochemicals. These are ingredients for functional food items, as well as a natural colorant and alternative to the toxic synthetic ones. There are some nutraceutical compounds present in it that can be extracted to prepare rice bran saccharine etc.
There is a variety of rice grown in the northeast state of Manipur in India but two varieties Chak-hao ‘Amubi’ and Chak-hao ‘Poireiton’ are the most popular ones. These are being cultivated organically in the state and are available during the months from December to May every year.
We just hope that the GI tag will provide it enough popularity that it deserves and the government will show extra interest in making this amazing variety of rice popular all over the world.