Think squid pasta, forbidden rice, blackberries, ebony sesame and chia seeds.
Both Ayurvedic (Indian) and Chinese medicine hail the benefits of black foods — and now science has too.
Food Fit for an Emperor
In eastern healing philosophies, black foods have long been used to encourage wellness. Black rice was so valued and rare in days past that emperors even declared it ‘forbidden’ to the common people.
Chinese medicine believes that black foods correspond with the water element and nourish the kidneys — helping the body to stay energetic and warm, and the mind harmonious. Black beans, rice and sesame are the traditional foods eaten during cold winter months.
Black sesame is said to:
- Prevent constipation
- Improve the complexion and inhibit aging
- Normalize blood pressure
- Strengthen memory
- Avert anemia
- Maintain lustrous hair
- Fortify the liver
Black sesame is also revered in Ayurveda. This dark seed is remarkable in fortifying the skeletal system since it’s an extraordinary source of calcium and magnesium.
Additionally, black sesame oil is used to soothe mental distress by boosting serotonin levels and calming the nerves.
Black Beans and Rice
Black beans contain cancer fighting antioxidants and anthocyanin along with butyric acid. Remember that anthocyanin destroys cancer cells and blocks the creation of blood vessels that feed tumors. High in fiber, black beans also help reduce colon cancer risk by as much as 75 percent.
Another food with abundant anthocyanin is black rice. An extract of the rice has been shown to effectively reduce breast cancer cells. It’s rich in vitamins B and E, calcium, magnesium, iron and zinc as well.
Black is the New Green
Green superfoods have been all the rage for years now, and rightly so. But many are discovering a unique and alluring way to add more variety to the diet with black foods. Popular among gourmet trend setters, black foods stand apart from the crowd by adding contrast to a meal.
Squid ink pasta from Spain, locally grown blackberries and South American chia are just a few stylish foods that offer distinctive health benefits.
Squid Ink Pasta
Not well known in America, black pasta is popular in Italy and Spain. These provocative noodles are not only exquisite with their squid ink pigment, but also help to prevent cancer. Bioactive elements in the ink have been found to halt breast cancer and the growth of new tumors.
As one of the most antioxidant-rich foods, blackberries are a sweet addition to any diet. Overflowing in nutrients like vitamins C and K, folic acid, manganese, polyphenols, minerals and fiber — blackberries are an outstanding superfood. Polyphenols found in the berry make you smarter too. By reducing brain cell inflammation, these compounds enhance communication between the neurons, thereby improving memory and information processing.
Once used by the ancient Aztec’s for stamina in battle, chia seeds are a terrific superfood for modern day warriors. Full of protein and omega-3 fatty acids, chia keeps energy levels up, inflammation and disease down. Omega-3 fats also foster a sharp mind.
Next time you are looking for nourishing inspiration, consider black foods. Offering a profusion of nutrient dense options, these gorgeous edibles will add drama to your plate and enliven the senses. Sexy black foods are hip and healthy — a winning combination for the discriminating palate.
Photo Credit: FotoosVanRobin