NEW study has claimed that black rice, a little-known variety of the grain that is the staple food for one-third of the world’s population, may help soothe the inflammation involved in allergies, asthma and other diseases.
Mendel Friedman and colleagues at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Western Regional Research Center in Albany , California conducted the research, which became the focus of the latest episode in the American Chemical Society’s (ACS) award-winning podcast series, “Global Challenges/Chemistry Solutions”.
In previous research as well, the group identified several potential health benefits from eating black rice bran.
Bran is the outer husk of the grain, which is removed during the processing of brown rice to produce the familiar white rice.
Those experiments, which were done in cell cultures, hinted that black rice bran suppressed the release of histamine, which causes inflammation.
The new research involved giving black rice bran to laboratory mice.
A diet consisting of 10 per cent black rice bran reduced inflammation associated with allergic contact dermatitis, a common type of skin irritation.
Prolonged inflammation, known as chronic inflammation, leads to a progressive shift in the type of cells present at the site of inflammation and is characterized by simultaneous destruction and healing of the tissue from the inflammatory process.
Chronic inflammation acts like a slow-burning fire, continuing to stimulate pro-inflammatory immune cells when they may not be needed. When these excess immune cells are circulating in the body, they can damage healthy areas in the body, such as blood vessel linings (as in atherosclerosis), pancreatic tissue (in diabetes), joint tissue (in arthritis), gut mucosa (in lactose and gluten intolerance).
Another study published in the British Journal of Nutrition investigated the effect of strawberries on postprandial inflammatory and insulin responses in adults.
The study included 24 overweight adults who consumed a high carbohydrate, moderate fat meal followed by either a strawberry or placebo beverage.
The results revealed that those who consumed the strawberry beverage showed 25 percent lower levels of biomarkers for inflammation compared with people receiving the placebo drink. It was also found that C-reactive peptide levels were 13 percent lower following consumption of the strawberry beverage than following consumption of the placebo beverage.
Since chronic inflammation has also been linked to a range of conditions such as heart disease, osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s, type-2 diabetes, and arthritis, it appears that strawberries may decrease levels of inflammatory markers and thereby reduce the risk of these conditions. A growing consensus among scientists is that common disorders such as atherosclerosis, colon cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease are all caused in part by a chronic inflammatory syndrome.