Spooky Yet Healthy Black Foods 

October 20, 2016

Need a fun, festive Halloween prepared foods idea?

Need a fun, festive Halloween prepared foods idea? Serve primarily dark colored foods; use spooky black and deeply colored items to add a sense of drama to your prepared foods selection, and the best part? Deeply hued foods are bursting with health benefits. Read on for festive foods to include in your prepared food dishes and the benefits your shoppers can expect. 

The dark color in foods is the result of naturally occurring flavonoid pigments called anthocyanins. Anthocyanins protect the plant against oxidation, pests, and from damaging radiation from the sun.

In the body anthocyanins act as antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents, protecting against the development of chronic diseases, such as Alzheimer's, diabetes, heart disease and certain cancers, as well as contributing to overall good health.

Some great choices found in your local supermarket include, black rice, which contains higher amounts of vitamin E in the bran; great for the immune system as well as possessing antioxidant capacity. And according to a study from the Agricultural Center at Louisiana State University black rice contains more anthocyanin antioxidants than blueberries. 

Up next are black lentils, which are a great source of iron. One cup contains 8 milligrams, about half the daily recommendation for women.

Black beans are packed with bioflavonoids, powerful plant nutrients that may protect against cancer.

Blackberries are another great choice and can be served with or as dessert. They contain polyphenols that may help reduce cognitive decline as we age, according to researchers at the Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging. Blackberries are also a great source of fiber, one cup has over a quarter of the daily recommendation.

And to drink? Choose black tea, which contains theaflavins, antioxidants that a study from Rutgers University suggests may improve recovery from muscle soreness after intense exercise. Drinking black tea may also be cardio-protective.

Moreover, a recent study from Sweden found that eating a diet rich in antioxidants (which are found in all colorful fruits, vegetables, whole grains and other whole foods, including black foods), is linked with a lower stroke risk in women. The findings held true regardless of the women's heart disease history. The study will be published in the journal Stroke from the American Heart Association.