Priceless goodness of black rice comes cheapAs the blogosphere stirs over black rice as the new low-cost superfood, WalletPop yearned to enter the foodie frenzy over this antioxidant-rich, go-to grain.

Given that black rice contains as many anthocyanin antioxidants in 10 cooked teaspoons as in one spoonful of fresh blueberries, according to a new study, I set out to compare the two in disease-fighting value. A superfood smackdown if you will.

The results are encouraging for budget-conscious rice lovers: Black rice costs a third of the price of blueberries in delivering the same amount of anthocyanins. That mouthful of syllables are the purple and reddish pigmented antioxidants believed to improve heart health and help prevent cancer.

I did the research by purchasing the ingredients, cooking the rice, and then applying some eighth grade math. I worked in grams because ounce fractions don't translate well.

It's off-season, so the cheapest fresh blueberries available at my local produce specialist in Brooklyn, N.Y. were $3.49 for 170 grams (6 ounces). A heaping spoonful weighed 17 grams, 10% of the contents. 10% of $3.49 equals about 35 cents.

The black rice (Lundberg Black Japonica, with flecks of mahogany rice) cost $3 for 454 grams (a pound). The dry rice that amounted to 10 cooked spoonfuls weighed 18 grams, about 4% of the uncooked contents. So 4% of $3 is about 12 cents. That's 12 cents of black rice to 35 cents of fresh blueberries for the same dose of one of the food chain's mightiest antioxidants.

It's not the most scientific way of going about things and I'm aware that blueberries vary in price during their 11 month off-season and that black rices vary in potency, but I'm already planning to stock up. I boiled it in instant chicken broth for extra taste, and my family dug the nuttiness and novel color. I later found the pure stuff from Barry Farm at Amazon.com for $3.79 a pound.

By all means, researchers said, keep eating your blueberries, cranberries, and acai. Just make sure your next stir-fry or paella gets the extra goodness by going dark. And keep eating that brown rice, too. Brown rice also contains antioxidants in its outer layer, but doesn't have the pigmented ones that seem so sought after in the so-called superfoods.

Black rice's benefits have been milling about in a big way since a study was presented by the lead researcher, Louisiana State University professor Zhimin Xu at the American Chemical Society in Boston. The professor also said that in addition to the economical advantage of black rice over blueberries, it contains far less sugar.

You don't have to sell me anymore, professor. I did the math. For value, taste and vitality, It's already my main grain.

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