You are used to hearing how good green foods are for you. But now when it comes to ‘superfoods’, black is most definitely the new green! While greens are lauded for their plant pigment content, which is believed to lower the risks of diabetes, heart trouble, and cancer.
Black foods, due to their high pigment levels, black foods contain more antioxidants than lighter colour foods. The antioxidant that is prevalent in black foods is a type of flavonoid called ‘anthocyanin’. Research suggests that these anthocyanins protect us against free radicals and in turn can shield us from DNA damage, which may lead to cancer.
Black Rice Scientists from Louisiana State University have hailed black rice as the new cancer fighting superfood on the market. The Chinese have long known about the nutritional value of this grain – so much so that it was called the ‘forbidden rice’ and only nobles were allowed to eat it. It contains high levels of vitamin E (which is great for skin and the immune system) but is also low in sugar, making it a great alternative to white rice. Dr Zhimn Xu at Louisiana State University commented after a study conducted on black rice that ” just one spoonful of black rice contains more health-promoting anthocyanin antioxidants than are found in a spoonful of blueberries but with less sugar and more fiber and vitamin E”
Blackberries Another food high in antioxidants are blackberries, which are jam-packed with polyphenols that protect against signs of aging. They are also rich in fibre. Why not try adding them to your cereal in the morning or smoothies, which will add an instant boost to your day.
Black Tea Although you will be used to green and white tea getting all the attention about their health benefits, the flavins, a type of antioxidants found in black tea, may help you recover from soreness of muscles after an intense workout. A study conducted at the Rutgers University, New Jersey, also suggests that drinking black tea may help you avoid the risk of having a heart attack. Black tea has been shown to improve oral health and is a very easy superfood to incorporate into your diet.
Black Grapes Research has shown that black grapes can contain up to 600mg anthocyanins, which is 100mg more than berries according to a study cited in the American Journal of Nutrition. Black grape’s greatness lies in their skins -the stronger the colour, the higher the concentration of flavanoids and, therefore, the more antioxidants they contain. They have been show to reduce the risks of heart disease and help protect against DNA damage that ages skin. That glass of red wine just became even more attractive – but just the one!
Black Beans When it comes to black beans, the bioflavanoids packed in their dark skins, are just one of the reasons they make it on to the superfood list, since recent studies have shown that bioflavanoids can protect against cancer. But black beans are also full of fibre and protein – in just one cup you get nearly 15 grams of fibre (over half of your RDA) and 15 grams of protein (a third of your RDA) making them great for digestion and maintaining blood sugar levels. Add them to soups or salads for an easy way of incorporating them into your diet.
Black Lentils They are full of iron, which is good, especially in case of women, as just one cup of these lentils will supply you with about 8 milligrams of iron, almost half of your daily requirement of 18 milligrams. The soluble fibre is also present in high quantity, which not only helps you lower your cholesterol but also supplements your immunity.