- Food and Cooking
The Black Super Foods
Black Super Foods: A List of 8 and the Benefits
Add black to the list of colors for super healthy foods and most are readily available. Below is a list of super foods and their healthy benefits. Some you probably already use, such as black pepper, and others you may want to try, like black rice.
1 - Soy Sauce - Soy sauce, also known as soya sauce, has an antioxidant that helps decrease free radical damage and improves blood flow for several hours after you eat. What makes it so potent is the fermented soybeans and molasses. This makes soy sauce 10 times more powerful at eliminating free radicals than red wine. Another surprise is that it's 150 times more powerful than vitamin C and E. A plus when using soy sauce is that you can reduce the table salt in your diet. Make sure it's real soy sauce and not those little packets often given out in Chinese restaurant - those are filled with sugar, coloring and artificial flavoring .
Note: Soy sauce has a taste known as umami in Japanese, which is a savory taste. (For more information about umami, see links below - the interview with a food taster, and umami foods - they help make you feel full longer).
2 - Black Rice - One of my favorite foods and it is served at the local Japanese restaurant. High in nutritional value, black rice has antioxidants that help reduce the type of inflammation that is a known link to the development of cancer. Black rice also has anthocyanins - which kill cancer cells and help block the formation of blood vessels to tumors, which in turn, acts to cut off the lifeline. The black color - when the rice is cooked - turns to dark purple which is the anthocyanins. Black rice also has a high mineral content because it contains iron. The rice can be found in local supermarket but at premium prices. If you live near a Chinese or Korean supermarket you'll get a much better price.
Note: Black rice extract appears to reduce breast cancer cells by weakening and destroying them.
3 - Black pasta - is still somewhat unfamiliar to the American market. The reason the pasta is black is because of squid ink. Squid ink has chemicals that stop breast cancer cells from spreading throughout the body and also blocks the growth of new tumors. As far as flavor, the taste can be described as having just a hint of the sea. I can find this in my local supermarket and it truly does make a unique and stunning dish.
4 - Blackberries - are a well-known fruit that is noted for its high nutritional content of fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, folic acid, essential minerals and manganese. Blackberries are also high in polyphenols. Polyphenols help reduce age-related inflammation in our brain cells. They also improves communication between cells and help us learn new information more quickly. The polyphenols are known as ellagic acid, tannins, quercetin, anthocyanins, gallic acid and cyanidins. Blackberries are also highly rated on the ORAC scale. In fact blackberries rank at the top of more than 1,000 antioxidant foods. (Prunes, sometimes considered a black food as well, also rank high on the ORAC scale. For more information about prunes and the scale see the link below).
Note: Although consumers may not like the many seeds in blackberries, the seeds are also very nutritious. They contain an oil that is rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. The seeds also contain protein, fiber, ellagic acid and carotenoids.
5 - Black Beans - Here I must stress that it should be dried beans because canned beans are usually in cans that have a BPA* lining and you want to avoid that chemical. It is also the canned beans that are the cause of gas. Dried beans are also much cheaper. As far as health, a serving of black beans each day, about 4 ounces, will lower your risk of colon cancer by as much as 75%. Black beans fight the formation of the polyps that lead to colon cancer because they are high in fiber, and increase the concentration of your butyric acid - an acid that helps the cells that keep the digestive tract healthy.
6 - Chia seeds - Yes, the same seeds that are used to make Chia Pets (which tend to show up for sale every Christmas). Chia seeds help reduce aches because they contain omega-3 fatty acids that are known to reduce swelling. Use chia seeds by adding them to yogurt, salads and any other food, or grinding the seeds and adding them to drinks. They can also be sprouted. (For more information about chia seeds, see the link below)
7 - Poppy Seeds - are rich in linoleic and oleic acids as well as vitamin E. in fact, I don't think anyone would be surprised to read that poppy seeds are known to reduce the blues and make you feel good. The seeds come from the opium poppy and have long been harvested by many civilizations for thousands of years. The seeds can be used as is or ground and added to a variety of foods. You have probably seen bagels or rolls that have poppy seeds on top. You can also wash the seeds to make a poppy tea.
Note: Compared to the seed pod, the seed itself actually contains very low levels of opiates.
8 - Black pepper - helps to stimulate your taste buds and helps your stomach improve acid production. Acid production helps reduce stomach upsets because it breaks down food properly. You can buy whole black peppers in just about any supermarket and then grind when needed. You can also buy them in jars that are also grinders. Dried and ground black pepper has been used since antiquity, not only for flavor but also as a medicine. Chances are, you may have a pepper shaker on your table along with a salt shaker.
*BPA, Bisphenol A - is an estrogen-mimicking endocrine disruptor. It has been linked to breast cancer, prostate cancer, early puberty and polycystic ovary syndrome. Banned in New York State (for use in products intended for children, such as baby bottles, pacifiers and sippy cups) - as of 2010.
For more healthy eating suggestions, and information about umami foods, see links below:
About Chia Seeds and More
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