Black foods can be delicious and make an irresistible visual treat. These foods have health-promoting compounds and may help lower your risk of heart disease and cancer. Some pigments abundant in black foods may also make your skin glow.
Here, we’ll share the most nutritious black foods out there. Let’s dive in!
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Black licorice is a polarizing candy, meaning it has a unique flavor that people either love or hate. It comes from a shrub that’s native to Turkey, Macedonia, and Asia. The potent flavor comes from the root of the black licorice plant. Historically, licorice has been popular in Eastern and Western medicine for everything from a stomachache to bronchitis.
Many people might say black licorice is a nutritious candy. That said, even the healthiest of sugary snacks should be consumed in moderation.
These are the tiny black seeds of the chia plant. Chia seeds are native to Mexico and served as a staple food for the ancient Aztecs and Mayans. The word chia comes from the ancient Mayan word for strength. Chia seeds have large amounts of fiber and omega-3 fatty acids, plenty of protein, and several essential antioxidants and minerals.
They may enhance digestive health and reduce risk factors for diabetes and heart disease. Chia seeds are flat and oval-shaped with a smooth and shiny texture. Their color ranges from white to black.
These seeds are highly versatile and have many culinary uses. You can add chia seeds to breakfast porridge, make puddings, or simply sprinkle them on yogurt or salads. Because of their ability to absorb water and form a gel, they can also thicken watery sauces or as an egg replacement.
Sweet and tart blackberries are a summer staple across the globe. But the benefits of these black beauties go well beyond their delicious taste. Blackberries have amazing health benefits, too. These luscious berries rival blueberries and cherries when it comes to nutrition and health benefits. Blackberry health benefits may include mensuration regulation, cardiovascular health, and immune function support. Blackberries also help reduce inflammation, promote healthy skin, and possibly prevent and slow cancer growth.
Black Forest mushrooms
Many of us turn to old favorites when we buy mushrooms, such as the button mushroom, portobellos, and porcini. However, black forest mushrooms are worth adding to your list, including black trumpet, wild morels, and shiitake. These mushrooms contain antioxidants and a compound that strengthens the immune system. For example, shiitake mushrooms contain excellent amounts of copper, iron, vitamin B5, and selenium and good levels of zinc, manganese, vitamin B2, vitamin B6, and vitamin B3. Shiitake mushrooms can help support cardiovascular health and the immune system and also possess anticancer properties.
Black forest mushrooms are available dried at most grocery stores. They can be an exciting addition to soups, stir-fried vegetables, and entrees. You can also add black forest mushrooms to homemade sauces.
The black bean is a small, shiny variety of the common bean popular in Latin American cuisine. This common bean variety is native to the Americas and is a staple food worldwide.
Unlike many other black foods high in carbohydrates, black beans don’t cause a spike in blood sugar levels. Some studies suggest the exact opposite. When people eat black beans with white rice, their blood sugar levels are lower than if they only ate white rice. For people with diabetes, adding black beans to a healthy diet can improve blood sugar control while lowering heart disease risk.
Black beans have a smooth texture and mildly sweet flavor. They’re also incredibly nutritious, providing multiple essential nutrients with minimal fat and sugar. The high-quality protein, fiber, carbs, and antioxidants in black beans make them nutritionally powerful.
If you want to add black beans to your diet, you can make a hearty, flavorful side dish or add beans to your favorite slow cooker recipes.
Black rice is also called forbidden, or purple rice is one of the rarest foods out there. This type of rice gets its signature black color from anthocyanin pigment, which has powerful antioxidant properties.
In ancient China, black rice was considered so unique that it was forbidden for all but royalty. Today, black rice is popular in many cuisines around the world.
Black rice is a great source of protein, iron, and fiber. And despite being less popular than other rice varieties, research shows that black rice has the highest antioxidant properties. Adding black rice to your diet can be a simple way to incorporate more disease-fighting nutrients into your diet. Its nutty flavor and chewy texture make black rice a top choice when preparing exotic meals.
Black Mission figs
Black Mission Figs have a delicate, black skin that covers a dark pink flesh. These figs are sweeter than honey if consumed at the proper ripeness. Black figs are loaded with vitamins and antioxidants and have always been a part of a wholesome Mediterranean diet. These figs are an incredibly versatile fruit, helping you prepare sweet and savory dishes. They are also perfect for jellies and jams and ideal for healthy, on-the-go snacking.
When buying a Black Mission Fig, choose one deep purple or black in color. It should be on the firmer side and ripen in a few days. If you would like to enjoy it immediately, choose a fig that is slightly soft and ripe.
Black garlic is raw garlic fermented under controlled high-temperature conditions for several weeks. In addition to having deep black cloves, black garlic has a milder flavor and stickier consistency than raw garlic.
Black garlic also has many health benefits that may outweigh those of raw garlic.
Black garlic can be found in stores everywhere, but this unique vegetable isn’t anything new. It has been used for traditional medicinal purposes and in a variety of cuisines for centuries.
This type of garlic has a softer, molasses-like flavor and can be swapped out for raw garlic in most recipes. It is a great addition to any cheese plate, chicken dishes, bruschetta, or even as a pizza topper. It also enhances the flavors of homemade vinaigrette. Keep in mind that black garlic’s flavor is milder, so we recommend tasting as you add.
If you plan on making fermented black garlic frequently, purchasing a fermenting box can be a smart investment. But, the best approach without additional investment is to age your garlic bulbs in a slow cooker or rice cooker. The process is simple but takes patience to achieve that sweet result.
Olives can range from a basic black to a vibrant green and from very mild to super salty. They can be incorporated into recipes or eaten alone out of hand. Black olives aren’t just plain food found in a can; there are many interesting cured black olives to choose from, such as Italian olives. One of them is the Liguria, a black olive with a vibrant and tangy flavor. Another black Italian olive popular at tastings is the Lugano. It is very salty and packed with olive leaves.