Food trends come and go, including ones that are just plain gross–cockroach milk, anyone? But oftentimes, they’re delicious and healthy. When we think of healthy foods, we almost always think of green foods immediately. The reigning champs of superfoods may have some serious competition with the uprising trend of black foods, however. As different coloured pigments have different nutrients, black foods offer a powerful type of flavonoid—exclusively found in dark pigments—called anthocyanins that are often associated with a reduced risk of diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.
But of course, there are more than just vegetables when it comes to black foods. Charcoal, squid ink, and legumes, like black lentils and black beans, are all becoming increasingly popular with their valuable nutrients.
Here are some extraordinary black foods you might have not tried yet.
Hamburger buns, macarons, ice cream, and even hot dogs… How did they all become black? With the help of activated charcoal. Charcoal has been on the radar lately for its list of nutritional benefits, including alleviating bloating, detoxifying, preventing hangovers, and even defying cellular damage. Don’t go scraping off the burnt bits off your barbecue just yet, though. Activated charcoal is the by-product of burnt coconut shells. The icky stuff from your grill is filled with toxins.
2. Black Lentils
Also known as beluga lentils, these tiny resemble tiny caviar with a beautiful ebony shine. These lentils have a mildly nuttier and less earthy flavour than their green counterparts. They also contain anthocyanins which are powerful antioxidants. While most of their nutritional content remains similar, black lentils hold shape much better after being cooked, which makes them ideal for salads, stews, and even soups.
3. Black Garlic
Black garlic resembles something entirely out of a sci-fi film. Don’t be put off by its burnt, matte black appearance. Black garlic actually boasts twice the amount of antioxidants compared to regular garlic. They’ve been described as having a silky, mild, and sweet flavour reminiscent of molasses. For a unique flavour twist, enhance the flavour of your next dish with these ebony cloves.
4. Black Quinoa
Although black quinoa has been around for a long time and aren’t exactly rare, they are consumed much less compared to the white and red varieties. Quinoa are almost the healthiest of foods. They are packed with complete proteins and loaded with fibre. Black quinoa is composed of relatively the same nutrients are the other varietals, but are slightly earthier and sweeter in taste.
5. Squid Ink
Ever been to an Italian restaurant and almost ordered the squid ink pasta off the menu? Or black risotto at a Spanish eatery? Or maybe even cuttlefish ink soup at a Japanese place? Well, there are many extremely good reasons why you should give the cephalopod excretion a go next time. Squid ink is rich in antioxidants and high in iron, both of which are crucial for maintaining good health. For those who often resort to sugar, salt, or fat as flavour enhancers in the kitchen, squid ink is actually an amazing substitute. It is high in glutamic acid, which helps increase the flavour of a dish without increasing the risk of heart disease or high blood pressure.
So there you have it, the black food trend report. In a ruthlessly competitive world of healthy superfoods, it takes an extraordinary food item to really take the throne. Do you think black is the new green? Share with us your thoughts on these unique black foods!