Black foods get their colour from the same pigment that turn foods red and purple; anthocyanin’s, which are a potent class of anti-oxidants. More than 300 different types of anthocyanin’s have been so far discovered. The depth of colour of these foods depends upon the pH of the plant.
Black foods strengthen the kidneys, rebuild bones, are anti-tumour and anti-viral and offer a super immunity boost. They are higher in antioxidants due to their intense levels of pigmentation.
If you have ever tried to make black icing you will appreciate how much colour is required to get a deep black. (I wouldn’t recommend eating black icing with artificial colourings). Anthocyanin’s have shown to reduce inflammation in the body.
Below are 10 fabulous black foods that are easy to source and include in your diet. Other black foods are black potatoes, black plums, black prunes, black mushrooms, black truffle, black corn, black seaweeds, black olives, blackcurrants, black carrots and black grapes. Black chickens are used in Asia in potent medicinal soups. I recently heard that due to demand someone in NZ is starting to grow black chicken for our Asian population.
1) Black beans
They are high in fibre and support a slow transit time in the bowel which enables healthy microorganisms to flourish. When paired with brown rice, black beans make a complete protein making this combination useful in vegetarian cooking. They are also rich in molybdenum, a trace mineral that aids the body in the breakdown of sulphites found in your wine. Black beans are also rich in B6 and folate making them a great pregnancy and stress food.
2) Black sesame seeds
Black sesame seeds are 20 percent protein and high in magnesium, a key nutrient to relax muscles and lower blood pressure. Sesame seed and its oil is also a potent anti-inflammatory called sesamol, which is great for health and your skin. One of the most valuable qualities however is that a handful of sesames contain more calcium than a glass of milk, making sesame milk a potent bone health food. Sesame oil can also be used in ‘oil pulling’.
3) Black tea
Humble black tea is full of polyphenols, a class of antioxidants shown to help brain injury, hearing loss, and could even aid Parkinson’s Disease. A daily cup of black tea can also reduce the risk of heart disease, according to the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Black tea also helps bone density issues and protects teeth against cavities.
4) Black chia
All chia seeds are high in Omega 3 making them a natural anti-inflammatory. Chia boosts energy, helps stabilise blood sugar levels, aid digestion and are high in protein.
5) Black rice
Black rice has the lowest GI of any rice. It is also higher in protein and fibre compared with other rice varieties. Amazingly black rice contains more anthocyanin antioxidants than blueberries and the bran hull contains significantly more Vitamin E than brown rice. A potent anti-inflammatory, this grain offers unique healing capabilities.
6) Black pepper
Black pepper dramatically increases the absorption of nutrients from foods by up to 2000 percent! It also increases the bioavailability of curcumin by twenty-fold. Black pepper also stimulates digestive enzymes and significantly reduces gastrointestinal food transit time which helps remove gas and bloating after a meal.
7) Black lentils
Black lentils are a delicious legume that gets its deep, dark hue from anthocyanins, the potent antioxidant compounds that are linked to brain enhancing, memory boosting and cancer-fighting properties.These are highly nutritious, in fact just 1/2 cup serving will provide 1 g protein and 9g of fibre. These lentils cook quickly (15 to 25 minutes) and unlike starchy rich grains and legumes they don’t require pre-soaking.
Blackberries are not only rich in antioxidants, they are a potent source of immune enhancing Vitamin C. They are packed full of fibre and offer a low GI. They also promote tightening of the skin making them a fabulous anti-ageing food. Also considered a brain food, they promote good memory and clarity of thought. They also contain high amounts of tannin that helps reduce intestinal inflammation.
9) Black Quinoa
Like all quinoa, black quinoa is a complete protein and is a highly rich source of anti-inflammatory phytonutrients. Black quinoa is also full of Vitamin E, manganese and is a good source of phosphorus, copper, magnesium, dietary fibre, folate and zinc. Quinoa is a food to eat each week.
10) Black garlic
Black garlic is made through a careful fermentation process and produces a sweet, candy like clove with a hint of liquorice and balsamic that is becoming quite a trendy food. However the therapeutic benefits of black garlic like all fermented foods, are quite outstanding.