• Hana Kovac

Black Is The Best (but keep loving Kale)

Anti aging, anti inflammatory, heart health promoting, black foods are the new green. Don't get me wrong, you should absolutely not skip the kale, but black foods have such amazing health benefits that you should put them on your plate daily.

So what makes black foods black? It is the anthocyanins that are responsible for the dark pigmentation. Colors range from red to deep purple to almost black, the more darker the food, the more anthocyanins. Anthocyanins are members of a flavonoid group of phytochemicals that are extensively studied for their contribution to human health. Powerful antioxidants, one of their most important health benefits is the ability to scavenge free radicals. It is thought that free radical damage plays a major role in cardiovascular disease, cancer, premature aging and many other degenerative diseases.[1]

Which Black Foods To Include

Mushrooms : Black trumpet, shiitake, wild morels, French black truffle, Chaga, all of these black forest mushrooms are a wonderful enhancement to an omelette or stew or can be used as a powder (chaga mushroom). As they are rather expensive, I use them in very small amounts (as a garnish for example when I am using the black truffle).

Chaga Mushroom called the “Mushroom of Immortality” by the Siberian Russians, is by the way, one of the most powerful antioxidants in the world. They are rich in beta-glucans, compounds that are renowned for their role in activating the immune system and reducing the blood sugar of people who have abnormal blood sugar peaks. [2]

Shiitake mushrooms contain excellent amounts of iron, copper, vitamin B5, and selenium and good levels of vitamin B2, zinc, manganese, vitamin B6, and vitamin B3. Shiitake mushrooms have been shown to support cardiovascular health and the immune system as well as possess anticancer properties. [3]

Black Sesame Seeds: nutty and a bit bitter, often sold as black sesame seeds butter (like almond butter but, you guessed it, black), have higher antioxidant activity than their white counterparts.

Black Mission Figs: delightfully sweet, they offer a healthy dose of bone-boosting minerals. Plus, dried figs have less sugar than raisins or dates.

Black Rice: Like brown rice, this ancient grain is a good source of vegetarian protein. You can even find black rice pasta which will be a big hit with kids.

Blackberries: you have surely heard about the wonderful health benefits of blueberries but did you know that blackberries are among the ten foods highest in antioxidants? They support cardiovascular health, are boosting immune function, reducing inflammation, promoting healthy skin, possibly preventing and slowing cancer growth, and maintaining brain function.

Nori: Like many seaweeds, nori contains iodine, fiber, and vitamins A, B6, and C, is a good source of protein. Sushi, here I come!

Licorice: Although licorice should be consumed only in small amounts, it can be helpful for gastrointestinal problems, including indigestion, stomach ulcers, reflux, and heartburn. However, avoid black licorice if you suffer with heart problems, diabetes, kidney problems, low potassium, or high blood pressure. Pregnant women also should not eat real black licorice.

Black garlic: Garlic is nature's remedy number one but black garlic steals the show as it contains twice the antioxidants of regular garlic. Black garlic is made by placing fresh garlic in humidity-controlled environments for a month, followed by sitting in a clean room for 45 days to oxidize. This entire process transforms white cloves of garlic into soft, chewy, black wonders with different antioxidants than found in white garlic. In fact, black garlic has more than five times the amount of s-allylcycteine (SAC), a substance that inhibits the production of cholesterol, as well as seven times the amount of calcium, twice the amount of phosphorus, and nearly six times the amount of protein found in regular white garlic. Feel free to use black garlic as you would regular garlic.[4]

Black seed oil and Nigella sativa grains: The oil derived from the southwest Asia Nigella sativa is also sometimes referred to as black caraway, black cumin, and black sesame. Very easy to grow, I use Nigella sativa seeds in sourdough breads or paleo tortillas. Black seed oil is best known for helping fight superbugs—bacteria and viruses that have become antibiotic-resistant.

Black olives: Olives are a great source of the healthy fat, monounsaturated fatty acid, and a type of monounsaturated fatty acid called oleic acid. Including black olives in your diet may contribute to a lowering of blood pressure, which has been attributed to the activity of oleic acid. Black olives also may be helpful in reducing cancer risk, a feature attributed to the presence of triterpene phytonutrients (e.g., erythradiol, oleanolic, and uvaol acid). [5] I hope you have found at least one favorite among these black beauties!

#healthyfood #chronicdisease #antiinflammatory #antiaging

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