Black Food: Pick These 7 to Make Your Diet Healthier

My Diet Matters

Ladies, who doesn’t need that little black dress, right? It is such a closet fashion staple that we often fall back on for good reason. Well, if you are trying to eat healthier, you should consider black food to be your kitchen staple. Black food is typically loaded with so many nutrients that it should be focused on more if one is trying to ramp up diet quality. Black colored foods are loaded with antioxidants to fight the aging process. Beyond antioxidants, black foods are often sources of key nutrients such as potassium and fiber. And, all that dietary fiber can fill you up and help with weight loss as well. Fighting disease, healthier aging, and keeping slim are all incentives for choosing to wear black on your plate.

Antioxidants abound in black food

Antioxidants are found in abundance in black food. The darker the food, the more antioxidants. We need antioxidants to help squelch something called free radicals. These free radicals damage our cells and prompt disease and even aging. To protect ourselves from damaging free radicals, we can consistently eat more black foods. It’s a very easy healthy eating strategy to pull off. If you think about it, there are many black foods that are easily available in the average American diet. Here are seven of my favorite black foods and why they should be a part of your diet.

1. Chia Seeds

black food chia seeds

These little seeds are a powerhouse of nutrition. Key nutrients in one tablespoon of chia seeds include:

  • 50 calories
  • 2 g protein
  • 3 g fiber
  • 65 mg calcium
  • 78 mg potassium
  • omega-3-fatty acids

How to add to your diet: chia pudding, yogurt topping, and add to cooked cereals like oatmeal.

2. Dates

black food dates

I think of dates as nature’s candy. The medjol dates from Whole Foods are the most delicious dates I have ever tasted. They are perfect for packing up as a healthy snack. Or, consider this black food as a perfect fat-free dessert. One date has:

  • only 66 calories
  • almost 2 g fiber
  • 167 mg potassium

How to add to your diet: eat this as dessert, chop and add to cooked cereal and bakery products.

3. Blackberries

black food blackberries

Blackberries are a nutrition standout for fiber and potassium. One cup of blackberries has:

  • 125 calories
  • 15 g fiber
  • 4 g protein
  • 467 mg potassium
  • vitamin C
  • some small amounts of calcium, vitamin A, and iron

How to add to your diet: heap into a big bowl as a dessert or snack, add to smoothies, serve up as a pie or even better, cobbler for a lower calorie fruit dessert.

Tip: frozen blackberries are just as healthy as fresh, and are a great back-up when fresh berries are not in season.

4. Black beans

black food black beans

Black beans are another nutritional powerhouse. 1/2 cup of black beans has:

  • only 110 calories
  • 7 g of fiber
  • 7 g of protein
  • 340 mg of potassium

How to add to your diet: add to soups, salads, eat as a side dish, use in burritos, and as a dip. And, they don’t need to be canned. You can prepare dried black beans in an instant pot or pressure cooker without any pre-soaking.

5. Black rice

Black rice is another species of rice. This dark colored rice has a nutty flavor. Forbidden rice or purple rice are other names for black rice. It was originally only served to a Chinese emperor as a means to achieve health and longevity while being “forbidden” to everyone else. Now it’s your turn to enjoy this healthy dark rice!

1/2 cup of black rice has:

  • 75 calories
  • 3 g fiber
  • 4 g protein
  • a small amount of iron

How to add to your diet: you can mix black rice with other types or rice, use in wraps, and use in a variety of salads. Here are black rice recipes to get your creative juices going on adding this black super food to your diet.

6. Black coffee gets to be black “food” too

Of course coffee is really a beverage, but it deserves to be on this list! Those that like coffee really love coffee. As it is often consumed at least once a day, we can consider coffee to be a dietary staple. Coffee often gets a bad wrap and I’d like it to be known that coffee has it’s health benefits. The deep dark color of coffee provides many antioxidants. Those antioxidants in coffee have the same impact on our health as antioxidants from foods. There may be a reduction in certain cancer risk and heart disease from those antioxidants.

By keeping the sugar and creamer out of your coffee, a standard 8 oz cup of black coffee has:

  • only 2 calories
  • 116 mg of potassium
  • trace amount of calcium
  • about 95 mg of caffeine

How to add to your diet: you know how!

7. Chocolate qualifies as black food too

Antioxidants abound in dark chocolate. The darker the chocolate, the higher the antioxidant level. Dark chocolate is also a source of fat and calories, so portion size matters when evaluating the benefits of this favorite food. For most people, a small daily serving is definitely something that can be fit into a healthy eating pattern. Some research suggests the antioxidants in chocolate improve blood vessel functioning along with other indicators of heart health. And, does chocolate lift your mood? Many people feel that it does. One ounce of dark chocolate has:

  • 140 calories
  • 9 g fat
  • delicious taste!

How to add to your diet: you got this one too! Just watch your portions. Enjoy on Valentine’s day and all year round.

Take away on black foods

Healthy eating can be confusing and sometimes difficult to manage. Choosing more black foods will automatically make your diet a bit healthier. Black foods are often high in fiber and potassium depending on the foods chosen. Across the black food spectrum, antioxidants abound. Those antioxidants can fight various diseases and have a positive affect on the aging process.

Enjoy the darker side of these foods. If looking for a bit more color in your foods, find out what those other colors can mean for the quality of your diet.

Do you have other favorite black foods we can add to this list?

Sue Rose, MS, RD, LDN

Sue Rose helps readers sort through the maze of nutrition information available to the public. As a seasoned clinical dietitian/nutritionist with decades of experience, her blogs attempt to educate and inform the public at a time when there is so much information it is often overwhelming to understand. Stay tuned for clarity on a variety of topics!

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Disclaimer

Use this information at your own risk. Although I am a licensed IL dietitian/nutritionist, I am not your dietitian. The information in my blog Chew on This located at www.mydietmatters.com is for educational and informational purposes only. It is also my own opinion and subject to change in the future. Please consult with your own medical professionals for individual treatment.