(NaturalNews) Rainbow colored, whole organic fruits and vegetables have become a staple in most health conscious individuals' diets.
Most already know antioxidants are a key health benefit of brightly colored whole organic food. But how many know that black or dark foods are even more powerful antioxidant powerhouses?
One particular antioxidant from the dark side is the superstar anthocyanin. Anthocyanins are powerful phytonutrients, a type of flavonoid consisting of water soluble pigments that serve numerous functions in plants.
The most concentrated natural sources of anthocyanins are purple, blue, red, and black whole foods including spices and seeds.
Studies suggest anthocyanins may help reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes and certain types of cancer. Some evidence indicates these purple pigments may protect our brain as we age.
In fact, "Black foods have more antioxidants than light-colored foods because of their high pigment content," says Cy Lee, PhD, a professor of food chemistry at Cornell University.
Three super healthy black foods
Black pepper's peppercorns are the fruit of the vine from the Piper Nigrum plant. Incredibly, black pepper increases nutrient absorption from other foods up to 2,000 percent!
WebMed reports that black pepper has numerous health benefits including antibacterial properties and enhancing digestion. It has been used extensively as a restorative and digestive aid in Ayurveda, the 5,000-year-old healing system from India.
Black pepper simulates digestive enzymes and significantly reduces gastrointestinal food transit time which helps to remove gas and bloating after a meal.
According to a HuffPost UK article: Studies indicate that Piperine could increase metabolism via genes. It also increases the bioavability of curcumin by twenty-fold, so be sure to grind some fresh, black pepper into your next curry or turmeric dish.
Black tea is derived from the evergreen tree Camellia. It's teeming with antioxidant polyphenols. Black tea's polyphenols have been shown to help brain injury, hearing loss, and it looks promising for treating Parkinson's disease.
You can reduce the risk of cardiovascular problems with black tea. In 2001, research conducted at Boston University revealed that black tea reverses a coronary artery disease called endothelial vasomotor dysfunction. This condition is a precursor to more serious cardiovascular problems.
The 2006 online edition of the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition did a review of the research literature from 1990 to 2004 and concluded: "A daily cup of black tea can reduce the risk of heart disease."
That meta-analysis also noted that black tea helps bone density issues and protects teeth from cavities. All this from a tea not praised for health as much as pricier green tea.
Black lentils look like caviar after cooking, hence the name Beluga lentils. Nutritionally, tiny black lentils are low in fat and high in fiber, iron and protein. Lentils are an excellent energy source that can stabilize blood sugar.
They contain a whopping 24 percent more easy to digest plant protein than any other lentil variety. One cup of black lentils contains about 50 percent of the daily recommended iron allowance for women.
They are a good source of energizing B vitamins and minerals, including phosphorous, manganese, and magnesium. Magnesium is considered the master-mineral, supporting 300 metabolic processes and protecting the heart.
Black lentils also contain tannins, phytochemicals that can prevent cancer growth. Lentils reduce inflammation in the body and are an excellent food-as-medicine choice to reduce inflammation generally and for individuals suffering from chronic inflammatory related diseases.
Chronic inflammation is the major culprit behind most leading diseases including cancer, Alzheimer's, cardiovascular disease, neurological diseases, pulmonary disease, arthritis, diabetes type 2, and other autoimmune diseases.
About the author: Paul Fassa is dedicated to warning others about the current corruption of food and medicine and guiding others toward a direction for better health with no restrictions on health freedom. You can visit his blog at http://healthmaven.blogspot.com