When it comes to superfoods, black is the new green. Research has proven that because of their high levels of pigment, black foods contain more antioxidants than lighter coloured foods. This means that foods that are easy to get hold of in the supermarket, such as tea, beans and blackberries (more on them later) are not only highly nutritional but they are also superfoods that are easy to incorporate into our diets . This great antioxidant value is mostly down to a type of flavanoid called ‘anthocynains’, which are responsible for the dark colour of many fruits and vegetables. Research suggests that these anthocynanins protect us against free-radicals and in turn shield us from DNA damage, which can lead to cancer.
An article in the Daily Mail recently hailed black rice as the new, caner-fighting superfood on the market. A grain that has long been held to be full of nutritional benefits by the Chinese. In fact, black rice was so highly regarded in China, that it was called the ‘forbidden rice’ and only nobles were allowed to eat it. It contains high levels of vitamin E (great for skin and the immune system) but is low in sugar, making it a fantastic 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”
Other foods that are high in antioxidants are blackberries, which are jam-packed with polyphenols that protect against signs of aging. They are also fiber-rich. Try adding them to your cereal in the morning or smoothies for an instant boost to your day.
Black tea is also amongst the list of go to superfoods, even though it is green and white tea that has recently been getting all the attention. Black tea has been shown to improve oral health and is a very easy superfood to incorporate into your diet.
Black grapes have also found themselves on the superfood list lately. Research has shown that they 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.
When it comes to black beans, the bioflavanoids packed in their dark skins, are just one of the reasons they make the cut on the superfood list, since recent studies have shown that bioflavanoids can protect against cancer. But black beans are also full of fiber and protein – in just one cup you get nearly 15 grams of fiber (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.