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Whenever someone says black food, your mind might immediately think it’s spoiled. However, countless naturally black foods are healthy and nourishing.
Many cuisines incorporate black foods due to their unique flavor. Just like green foods, children might dislike them, but there are abundant benefits of foods that are black.
When it comes to foods, darker color means richer in nutrients. The pigment anthocyanins make food black and rich in antioxidants.
This article lists some foods that are black and worthy of a space on your colorful plate.
1. Black Olives
Black olives have to be everyone’s favorite pizza topping! Who doesn’t love to pick out and devour that tiny donut-shaped black toppings from the pizza? The best part is it is black but doesn’t taste bitter.
Fun fact: Black olives are fruits that belong to the cherries and mangoes fruit group. They are a rich source of Vitamin E and power-packed with antioxidants, which can aid in maintaining healthy skin & hair and optimum vision.
You can use them in various dishes, be it savory or sweet. Sweet dishes, such as black olive caramel and sweet lemon-olive cookies, are incredibly popular in Spain.
2. Black Rice
Rice is a widely adapted staple food worldwide. Plain white rice might not be an appealing food for many. How about trying black rice? Its rich black color will definitely make you salivate before eating.
Did you know that black rice was once known as forbidden rice since it was only reserved for the Aristocrats in Ancient China? While it’s slightly more expensive, it has a lot more health benefits than white rice. It’s naturally sticky with a roasty fragrance and a nutty taste that you’ll love.
However, you can only find it in a few grocery stores and maybe online since it is hard to grow black rice.
3. Black Sesame Seeds
Those tiny black little creatures you tend to ignore are worthy of every minute of your attention. When it comes to the benefits of black foods, black sesame seeds undoubtedly top the list.
Black sesame seeds can help relieve constipation as they are rich in healthy omega-3 fatty acids. They are mainly used for the oil extracted from them. Black sesame seed ice cream, aka the Japanese Kurogama, is a prevalent and healthier version of ice cream.
You can always sprinkle some black sesame seeds on your salads, bagels, and buns.
4. Black Tea
We all depend on cups of black coffee to keep us awake. How about trying black tea this time? Apart from keeping you awake, it also has some fantastic health benefits.
Black tea helps improve your heart health, decrease the risk of chronic illness, and improves your overall health and wellness. Rich in various antioxidants, black tea is one of the most consumed beverages worldwide — besides water, of course.
5. Activated Charcoal
Activated charcoal is a commonly used powerful skincare ingredient; yes, it can be consumed as well. It is usually used in foods to give that rich black color, and for the health benefits, it entails.
Activated charcoal is used as a food additive. It is composed of bamboo or coconut shells. It imparts an earthy, smoky unique flavor to dishes, while the black coloring imparts a unique and trendy look. Activated charcoal is the main component in black ice cream, which is frequently served with a charcoal-filled black cone.
Common health benefits derived from activated charcoal include cholesterol reduction, treatment of cholestasis, and prevention of a hangover.
6. Chia Seeds
Chia seeds are undoubtedly a fitness freak’s best friend any day. It is because consuming chia seeds makes you feel fuller despite eating less and aids in weight loss.
In ancient Aztec and Mesoamerican societies, chia seeds were used for their therapeutic purposes. Chia seeds are a great source of minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants. They promote better heart health, reduce inflammation, and improve blood sugar levels.
They can be used in many ways, such as in puddings, drinks & juices, energy bars, muffins, etc.
7. Black Beans
Black beans are an excellent source of plant-based protein. The small chocolate-like balls are incredibly healthy and delicious too! If you are going vegan, you know what to add to your grocery list.
Fun fact: Black beans are often referred to as turtle beans due to their rugged, shell-like exterior. Black beans, just like other legumes, have been valued for their high protein and fiber content. They also include a number of other essential vitamins and minerals that have been associated with better human health.
They can be used in both sweet and savory dishes. Black bean paste is commonly used as a core ingredient in sweet dishes across Korea.
Be it cupcakes, ice cream, or muffins, everyone’s go-to flavor is none other than vanilla. It is such a powerful ingredient and can be used in an unlimited number of ways.
Vanilla is basically a highly fragrant spice and flavoring agent, but it is also used for medicinal purposes. It can be used to relieve intestinal gas, fever, tooth decay, and reduce anxiety. Apart from this, vanilla is also used in a variety of medicated syrups and body care products such as lip balms and perfumes.
8. Black Sapote
Black sapote is not naturally black in color, it is olive green in color which turns blackish as the fruit continues to ripen. The same goes for the pulp, it’s white when unripe and turns dark brown to black when fully ripened.
In Hawaii, the Black sapote, also known as the Black Persimmon, is famous as the "chocolate pudding fruit." It is because it has a sweet, custardy, and chocolaty flavor. They are known to be a rich source of vitamins A & C.
It can be eaten raw; however, it is usually sweetened and used in ice creams, mousse, fillings, or drinks.
9. Black Garlic
The strong aromatic flavor has made garlic bread everyone’s favorite; is black garlic any different? Regular garlic when fermented for a month turns into black garlic. It becomes like jelly and imparts a sweet flavor that some people associate with licorice.
Black garlic is said to have more antioxidants and health benefits than regular garlic. The cloves from black garlic bulbs are soft and sweet enough to be eaten on their own directly out of the bulbs without obtaining a strong garlic breath.
You may also use it in salad dressings, marination, or eat it simply with sautéed veggies.
Have you ever wondered what those tiny jelly-like black, orange, and white balls are that everyone keeps devouring? It’s none other than caviar.
Golden caviar is the rarest type of caviar. It's a delicate off-yellow tint found in just one out of every 1,000 Osetra Sturgeon(fish). It's a delicacy that's frequently served uncooked as an appetizer.
There are several other caviar variants available, each with its own flavor, texture, and color.
11. Black Corn
Corn has been people’s go-to snack choice for ages. It is just so handy and convenient to eat which made it immensely popular amongst people. How about trying an aesthetically pleasing black corn?
It has an "old-fashioned" sweetness, which means that while it is sweet, it is not as syrupy as contemporary yellow corn species. It is an incredibly versatile naturally black food that can be grilled, roasted, steamed, or grounded into cornmeal for bread and wraps.
What could be better than a juicy freshly-picked blackberry on a pleasant summer evening? The usually prickly appearance and its sweet yet tart taste have made it every child’s favorite fruit
Blackberries contain abundant amounts of iron, vitamin C, and antioxidants. They are generally eaten raw but can be used in preservatives and baked goodies like pies and cookies. Blackberry ice cream flavor is also very popular amongst people.
13. Black Mission Fig
Who knew figs come in black color too? The black fig has a tough exterior and soft creamy white interior that entails a jelly-like substance.
They can be blended with savory ingredients like salt, cocoa, and spices to provide a "meaty" flavor and almost steak-like scent. While they have their own distinct flavor, they taste like a combination of strawberry, melon, and banana, with a rich creamy texture.
There is hardly anyone who watches K-dramas and is not curious about their cuisines. Nori is a dried edible seaweed commonly used in Korean and Japanese cuisines.
A shredding and rack-drying process that resembles paper making is used to produce the Nori dried sheets. It has a strong and unique flavor and is frequently used to wrap sushi and form rice balls.
However, keep in mind that it should be consumed in moderation as it contains some toxic metals.
15. Dark Chocolate
Amongst all the foods that are black, dark chocolate is the one most commonly consumed. Be it drinks, cookies or ice cream, dark chocolate is an exotic flavor.
Dark chocolate is very nutritious and contains plenty of iron, potassium, and zinc. Antioxidants are abundant in dark chocolate, making it a powerful disease fighter. It has been shown in studies to help control blood pressure and lessen the risk of heart disease.
16. Black Lentils
These tiny lens-shaped legumes are an incredibly popular staple food in Asian regions. Black lentils stand out from the crowd not only because of their dark color but also because they're packed with rich, earthy flavors and minerals.
Fun fact: Black lentils, unlike other varieties of lentils such as brown or red lentils, keep their shape when cooked. Hence, they’re a perfect choice for salads.
17. Black Radish
This long weird-looking black tube-like vegetable has a rough, thick, and coarse appearance. Black radishes have a harsher flavor than other radish varieties when raw, with earthy, peppery, bitter, and pungent notes. As it cooks, the firm flesh softens, and the taste mellows, gaining mild sweet peppery undertones.
They are high in vitamin C, which helps to boost the immune system, as well as potassium, iron, magnesium, and vitamins A, E, and B.
18. Black Currants
This fruit-like food is actually an edible plant. They may be eaten raw, although they're more commonly used in sweet and savory recipes. They are grown commercially for the juice market and are used to manufacture jams, preserves, and syrups.
It can also be used to make alcoholic beverages. They are a rich source of vitamin C and contain 82% water. Next time you feel dehydrated, grab a black currant.
19. Dried Plums
One of the few foods that can be consumed fresh or dry. Dried plums are high in nutrients and provide a wide range of health advantages. They are high in vitamins and minerals, as well as fiber and antioxidants, which may help lower your chance of developing a variety of chronic conditions.
Dried plums are called prunes, but not all plums are prunes. Dried plums are considered an effective laxative. They have various other health benefits like promoting bone health and lowering blood sugar.
20. Squid Ink Pasta
There is hardly anyone who doesn’t love pasta in any shape, form, or color! Squid ink not only gives the pasta its beautiful black color, but it also gives it an incredible flavor.
Squid ink pasta has a deep, briny taste with a slight note of sea salinity, making it ideal for serving with seafood. It has antibacterial properties against a variety of pathogenic microorganisms. This black pasta even might have anti-cancer properties as well.
21. Black Grapes
The small sweet black balls with a refreshing taste are a splendid fruit. Black grapes are well-known for their deep bluish-purple hue, which gives them a nearly black appearance. Their distinctive hue is due to a high concentration of an antioxidant.
From cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, to heart disease, black grapes can protect against a variety of diseases. They can also help you recover from sickness more quickly. Moreover, they have been shown to promote skin suppleness and blood circulation, resulting in healthy, bright skin.
22. Ground Black Pepper
The matte black dust-like fine particles, none other than ground black pepper, is a powerful spice widely used in various dishes.
In addition to the heat, black pepper has a complex flavor profile with piney, lemony undertones.
Manganese, a mineral that aids bone health, wound healing, and metabolism, is abundantly found in black pepper. It is said that one teaspoon of ground black pepper contains 16% of the daily required intake of manganese (via WebMD).
23. Black Bread
Last on our list of black foods is black bread, an Instagram-worthy aesthetic version of regular bread. It is traditionally consumed in Russia. They are incredibly simple and made just using rye flour, water, salt, and a sourdough starter to leaven them.
Fun fact: The black color of this bread does not necessarily imply that it is high in fiber. It's possible that the "healthy" black hue comes from wheat additions. Black bread contains about the same amount of energy as white bread.
24. Black Tomatoes
Did you know that there are black tomatoes? This tomato variety has a beautiful dark outside and bright red inside. Known to be delicious and can be used for a variety of recipes.
25. Black Raspberry
Black raspberries are from North America and can mostly be found in Oregon. They have a stronger flavor than red raspberries and also contain more seeds.
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