Black rice to improve diabetic nephropathy and more

Rice varieties can be divided into white, sticky, purple and black. Among them, black rice has the most nutritional and medicinal value. In ancient China, black rice was reputed to cure disease, contribute to longevity, and was used as a tribute to the emperor – that’s how powerful and rare it was.

According to the Chinese medical classic “Compendium of Materia Medica,” black rice can “nourish yin and strengthen the kidneys, keep the body fit and warm the stomach, improve eyesight and promote blood circulation.” Studies have also confirmed that black rice contains anthocyanins (a group of deep red, purple and blue pigments found in plants), which can effectively improve diabetic nephropathy (kidney disease) and eyesight, as well as prevent cardiovascular disease and cancer.

5-colored food Nourishes 5 internal organs

The theory of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is based on the “Five Elements Theory” – that all things in the universe are composed of five basic substances: wood, fire, earth, metal and water. The development and changes of various things and phenomena in nature are the result of the constant movement and interaction between these five substances.

According to the theory of TCM, the five elements also correspond to the five internal organs of the human body: “liver, heart, spleen, lung and kidney”, which in turn correspond to the five colors “blue (green), red, yellow, white and black (purple).

The classical Chinese medicine “Huang Di Nei Jing” (The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Medicine) states that the theory of “five colors nourish the five internal organs”, which basically means that foods of different colors have different health benefits, and eating more of one and/or the other of the five colored foods can affect the corresponding five internal organs.

In that regard, white is said to moisten the lungs, yellow for the spleen, red for the heart, blue for the liver, and black for the kidneys. Therefore, according to TCM, eating more black foods, such as black rice, will bring direct nutrition to the kidneys.

The surprising benefits of anthocyanins

Modern studies have also shown that black rice can effectively improve diabetic nephropathy. A study published in the academic journal Journal of Functional Foods in 2020 confirmed that cyanidin-3-glucoside in black rice can inhibit extracellular matrix (ECM) accumulation in the kidneys of rats with diabetic nephropathy. It has also been shown to alleviate oxidative stress and inflammatory cytokines and to inhibit renal interstitial fibrosis and glomerulosclerosis in rats with diabetic nephropathy.

Black rice contains an abundance of anthocyanins, similar to blueberries. In November 2022, a study published in the journal Translational Medicine also indicated that anthocyanins may improve kidney function in patients with diabetes. Through experiments on mice, it was discovered that anthocyanins play an important role in improving hyperglycemia and insulin sensitivity.

In 2017, the medical journal Food & Nutrition Research published a research paper stating that anthocyanins have a host of beneficial effects such as prevention of cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, improved vision, anti-obesity, antibacterial and neuroprotective. In addition, black rice is also rich in various trace elements, vitamins, carotene and more. At the same time, it also has the characteristics of brown rice, which is rich in dietary fiber and can promote intestinal peristalsis.

Black Rice Sushi — Delicious and nutritious

The smooth color of black rice is due to anthocyanins. Recently, Taiwan’s Health Promotion Administration shared an article about how to make black rice sushi. Here’s the recipe:


  • 100 g of black rice
  • 50 g Taiwanese quinoa
  • 200 g white rice
  • 100 g raw bean buns (a steamed bun made from sweetened adzuki bean filling and soft, leavened dough).
  • 100 g chicken fillet
  • 100 g of cucumbers
  • 100 g of carrot
  • 4 pieces (each 10 g) nori seaweed slices
  • 350 ml of water


1. Wash and drain the black rice, Taiwanese quinoa and white rice. Add 350 ml (11.8 fl oz) of water and steam in a 5 foot pot.
2. Wash the cucumbers, carrots, bean buns and chicken breasts one after the other.
3. Cut the cucumbers lengthwise into long strips, peel the carrot and cut into strips.
4. Bring a pot of boiling water to the boil, blanch the carrots, bean buns and chicken breasts in it. Cut the bean buns and chicken breasts into strips and set aside to cool and ready for further processing.
5. After the black rice is steamed and well cooked, stir with a rice spoon and let cool.
6. Spread a layer of plastic wrap, put nori seaweed on top, spread the black rice flat, add the ingredients, roll up, slice and serve.

Black rice can also be made into Chinese pastries, sweet soup or cooked into cereal porridge. They are all healthy and delicious dishes.

Ellen wan

Ellen Wan has worked for the Japanese edition of The Epoch Times since 2007.

Weber Lee

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