IN an age where super foods are constantly talked up there is a chance for humble grains of rice to earn health kudos too.
Work at the Functional Grains Centre in Wagga could hold the key to promoting the benefits of coloured rice. So far Australian growers are not producing the characteristic purple or brown grains but there is potential according to Charles Sturt University PhD student Esther Calcott.
“We are looking at the therapeutic properties of using coloured rice to treat obesity,” she said. “People who are obese tend to have high levels of inflammation and toxin build ups,” Ms Calcott explained.
The red red, brown and purple rice was known for it’s ability to hold healthy noninflammatory compounds. For the research to progress Ms Calcott is calling on people to volunteer to help with the testing process. This would involve eating some coloured rice and “donating some blood samples” as she put it.
Depending on the outcomes she said there were opportunities to grow coloured rice in the Riverina.
“This potentially gives (rice) a therapeutic benefit and allows consumers to gain these health benefits,” she said.
Ideally she said this could allow rice growers to sell a commodity at a higher premium due to consumer demand.
The research is examining if the bioactive compounds in coloured rice can help reduce blood clotting, inflammation and chemical damage to cells.
The research will delve into the therapeutic effects of coloured rice for obesity and related diseases, like diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
“Whole grain rice, especially purple and red varieties are rich in antioxidants,” Ms Callcott said.
“My preliminary research, using stem cells in the laboratory and testing the compounds on blood samples, has shown the compounds may be helpful in reducing inflammation and free radicals,” she said.
“These positive results have given us the confidence to move ahead with the next stage of the research and we need volunteers to take part in a study in Wagga.”