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- Upgrade Your Grain - PanAsia Surgery, Singapore October 2021

Upgrade Your Grain

Diet advice on purple rice by Leena –Shape magazine Dec 2015

As a staple for half the world’s population, rice forms the basis of most meals in Singapore. To locals, it is most familiar in its polished form white. That’s basically grain that has its hull, bran and germ removed. Why? The bran contains small amounts of oil that can turn rancid. But this process also strips the rice of essential nutrients. Looking for a substitute carb that’s superior? You might want to try purple rice, also know as forbidden rice, according to the Health Promotion Board. Why forbidden, you ask? In ancient China, it was reserved for only the emperor and nobles hence its title.

 

HOW DOES IT TASTE?

Granted, white rice does have a certain wholesome mouthfeel. But purple rice gives far more flavour and complexity, and this can be used to devastating culinary effect. Shannon Wong, the chief executive of Kinsa Sushi (www.kinsasushi.com) a Japanese restaurant that specializes in purple rice selections -believes most Singaporeans are missing out on this healthy yet tasty staple.

In terms of taste it does differ from normal Japanese sushi rice,” the 31-year-old says. “If you taste the purple rice without our added ingredients and sauce, it actually has a tinge of pulut hitam.

A subtle roasted sweet finish sets the purple rice apart from the usual sushi rice. And on top of taste, purple rice kernels offer a chewy texture to the dishes.

 

FIBRE GALORE

That chewy texture the grain’s fibre helps folks who are either working out or seeking weight loss, says Leena Quah, a nutritionist and author of The Quintessential Quest, a cookbook on nutrition published recently.

“Eating foods that are high in fibre will help you stay satiated longer after you eat, she explains.

Purple rice actually contains twice the iron and four times the zinc content of brown rice, and is one of the rice variants containing the highest amount of nutrition!

 

KEYWORD ANTHOCYANIN

In fact, there are unique pigments in purple rice that make it so beneficial for your health, while also filling your stomach, adds Leena.

Purple rice get its colour from anthocyanin pigments, which are known to have free-radical-scavenging and antioxidant capacities, as well as other health benefits.

Anthocyanin antioxidants help to reduce the risks of heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s and other ailments.” the dietician reveals.

Much of their benefit appears to stem from antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that serve to reduce low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL) and help fight heart disease.

In fact, the Department of Food Science at Louisiana State University in the US claims that a spoonful of black rice bran contains more beneficial anthocyanin antioxidants than a spoonful of blueberries, yet with lower sugar content and higher fibre, vitamin E and antioxidants.

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