Nu­tri­tion & Food

Health & Nutrition - - CONTENTS -

BLACK BERRIES are among the top ten an­tiox­i­dant rich foods. Its polyphe­nol an­tiox­i­dants reg­u­late me­tab­o­lism and keep you trim. They are an ex­cel­lent source of vi­ta­mins C, A, E, K, min­er­als and fi­bre. So we have bet­ter di­ges­tive health, a strength­ened im­mune de­fense, a re­duced risk of Type II di­a­betes, pre­ven­tion of heart dis­ease and haem­or­rhoids. Polyphe­nols may help pre­vent breast and cer­vi­cal can­cer too, while an­tho­cyanins in berries help mem­ory re­ten­tion. So in­dulge in this berry tasty, nu­tri­ent dense food – as a snack or dessert. They con­tain only 62 calo­ries per cup. BLACK SQUID INK Well, you love your cala­mari. But did you know that squids pro­duce ink as a de­fence mech­a­nism. Add it to food to cre­ate a black sheen and deep fla­vor called umami. Squid ink is rich in an­tiox­i­dants, iron, glu­tamic acid which pre­vent bad LDL buildup and low­ers the risk of heart dis­ease. Black Burger Buns have be­come all the rage in the Far East. The dough is mixed with bamboo char­coal and topped with black squid ink sauce. They are filled with pa­prika, tomato and beef and taste yum. BLACK PEP­PER Yet an­other of the world’s 50 health­i­est foods that is na­tive to In­dia. Pep­per is to­day the most widely used spice in the world. It was once used as cur­rency and pre­sented to the Gods as an of­fer­ing. Just as you sneeze if you sniff at a whole hand­ful, black pep­per sea­son­ing stim­u­lates you taste­buds and whizzes off an alert to your stom­ach to in­crease hy­drochlo­ric acid, es­sen­tial to your di­ges­tion. So good­bye acid­ity, gas, con­sti­pa­tion, di­ar­rhoea. Health­ful in­gre­di­ents such as mag­ne­sium, iron, potas­sium, vi­ta­min C, vi­ta­min K and fi­bre not only add flavour to your meals (and pre­serves it too) but re­lieves re­s­pi­ra­tory dis­ease, ane­mia, im­po­tency, mus­cu­lar strain, gum dis­ease, vi­tiligo, in­sect bites. As an added bonus, it breaks down fat cells to keep you slim. It’s best to DIY. Grind whole pep­per­corns rather than buy ready­made pow­der which not only lose their zing but may be adul­ter­ated.

BLACK / DARK CHOCO­LATE (and we’re talk­ing at least 75% to 90% co­coa con­tent) bursts with argi­nine, the amino acid that con­trols weight and keeps hair shin­ing. There are flavonoids too (8 times more than straw­ber­ries) which pro­tect the body from aging by free rad­i­cals, which can also dam­age the heart. Ni­tric ox­ide (present in dark choco­late) re­laxes Blood Pres­sure and low­ers the bad LDL choles­terol by 10%. The fat sat­u­rated con­tent oleic acid, palmitic acid and stearic acid sur­pris­ingly does not im­pact choles­terol. Dark choco­late lifts your spir­its too, be­cause it re­leases feel-good en­dor­phins, happy sero­tonin, and the stim­u­lant theo­bromine. Isn’t it amaz­ing that some­thing that tastes so good can be so good for you?

BLACK SESAME SEEDS The Chi­nese begin their day with a tonic made from ground black sesame seeds mixed with hot wa­ter as a lit­tle foun­tain of youth. Ayurveda uses sesame to ar­rest age­ing and grey­ing hair. They’re tiny choles­terol fighters, chockful of sesamin, sesamolin and di­etary fi­bre. They sup­port car­dio­vas­cu­lar and re­s­pi­ra­tory health, re­duce in­flam­ma­tion; pro­tect against colon can­cer and os­teo­poro­sis. A quar­ter cup of­fers th­ese min­er­als: 125 mg of mag­ne­sium (32% of your daily re­quire­ment) 350 mg of cal­cium (with hulls) (35% of your daily re­quire­ment – and more than a cup of milk) 1.5 mg of cop­per (74% of your daily re­quire­ment) 2.5 mg of zinc (15% of your daily re­quire­ment) All th­ese mi­cronu­tri­ents reg­u­late your blood pres­sure, lessen ten­sion and mi­graine headaches, help reg­u­late sleep pat­terns, and build col­la­gen (the com­pound that keeps skin cells youth­ful and plump). The Ja­panese are us­ing black sesame seeds in ice cream and crème brulee…

BLACK GRAPES Their dark hue comes from flavonoids. More vi­brant the color a grape, higher is the per­cent­age of flavonoids. Quercitin and resver­a­trol are the two flavonoid com­pounds which are be­lieved to de­crease the risk of car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­eases. They work by de­creas­ing the for­ma­tion of blood clots in the ar­ter­ies and platelet clump­ing and pre­vent­ing ox­i­da­tion of LDL choles­terol which is the main ini­ti­at­ing fac­tor for dam­aged and hard­ened ar­ter­ies. Grapes also hike up ni­tric ox­ide lev­els which helps keep pe­nile ar­ter­ies sup­ple. Grape skin is rich in phe­no­lic com­pounds that help in­hibit a group of en­zymes called pro­tein ty­ro­sine ki­nases which main­tains cell reg­u­la­tion and also hin­ders con­stric­tion of blood ves­sels thereby re­duc­ing the blood flow to the heart. Saponins – phy­tonu­tri­ent com­pounds present be­low the skin of grapes bind with choles­terol and pre­vent its ab­sorp­tion. They help to curb in­flam­ma­tory pathways and pro­tect against heart dis­ease and can­cer. Grapes also help to com­bat hy­per­ten­sion, pro­tect against lung can­cer, lower the risk of Alzheimer’s dis­ease, and act as anti-aging agents. BLACK BEANS fig­ure among the world’s 50 su­per faoods. Also known as pinto beans, they are rich in flavonoids, pro­tein and fi­bre all the bet­ter to pre­vent Type 2 di­a­betes, keep your heart healthy, your ar­ter­ies plaque free and pre­vent colon can­cer. Soak­ing the beans in wa­ter and then throw­ing off the soaked wa­ter helps get rid of the in­di­gestible starch called oligosac­cha­rides that cause flat­u­lence. Af­ter which you can cook the beans in fresh wa­ter over a stove or in a pres­sure cooker. But we in In­dia, in­stinc­tively knew this didn’t we? In Brazil, which is the world’s big­gest pro­ducer of pinto beans just beat­ing In­dia, peo­ple eat half a cup a day. Two cup­fuls a week is good enough to de­rive all the health benefits black beans of­fer. BLACK RICE Three thou­sand years ago it was the food of the Em­peror of China, but for­bid­den to the com­mon man. With a nutty fla­vor, black rice which turns pur­ple when cooked, con­tains vi­ta­min B, niacin, vi­ta­min E, cal­cium, iron and zinc in higher lev­els than the com­mon white rice. It is rich in an­tho­cyanin an­tiox­i­dants, which are wa­ter sol­u­ble and so reach ev­ery nook ‘n’ cranny of your body. May help pro­tect against can­cer, type 2 di­a­betes, heart dis­ease and Alzheimer’s. The health benefits are in the bran and it can be pow­dered and dusted on fish or pancakes. So is black go­ing to be the new brown?

BLACK OLIVES One gen­tle­man who prided him­self on be­ing some­thing of a gourmet, de­cided to re­fine his son’s taste­buds by of­fer­ing him black olives as a treat or re­ward. Within a cou­ple of months, when asked to choose be­tween olives and sweets, the boy plumped for the for­mer. “Healthy and el­e­gant!” ex­claimed his de­lighted dad. The dif­fer­ence be­tween green and black olives is that the black are al­lowed to ripen fully be­fore be­ing har­vested and pro­cessed. Black olives burst with flavonoids, polyphe­nols, vi­ta­min E, mono un­sat­u­rated fats, fi­bre and iron. Don’t be wor­ried about the salty fla­vor, be­cause it is within the rec­om­mended range. So what do we have here? A flavourful anti-in­flam­ma­tory food which low­ers choles­terol and strength­ens your car­dio­vas­cu­lar sys­tem. The an­cient Chi­nese used them to treat coughs. Heart healthy olive oil is made from pressed black olives. You can use it for Greek sal­ads, piz­zas, tape­nade spread; bake them into your bread – or into any Con­ti­nen­tal dish that you want to make spe­cial. BLACK VINE­GAR orig­i­nated in China and spread across Asia. It is made by fer­ment­ing brown rice, wheat and sorghum, and al­low­ing it to age to re­lease a com­plex rich mel­low smoky fla­vor. The acids re­duce hy­per­ten­sion, LDL (bad) choles­terol, im­prove blood cir­cu­la­tion and may pro­tect against can­cer. The Ja­panese made a lighter ver­sion called kuroza which can be drunk.


(shi­itake) are yet an­other su­per food among the world’s 50 health­i­est. They have been used medic­i­nally by the Chi­nese for 6000 years and are a sym­bol of longevity in Asia. Black shi­itake mush­rooms are be­lieved to have anti tu­mour, anti-vi­ral prop­er­ties and may help re­lieve arthri­tis and al­ler­gies be­cause they are abrim with B vi­ta­mins, iron, se­le­nium and cop­per. They can pro­tect against car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­ease (in­clud­ing hard­en­ing of the ar­ter­ies). To keep their nu­tri­tional good­ies in­tact don’t over­cook. Just sauté for seven min­utes and rel­ish the rich smoky fla­vor. BLACK CURRANTS come from a shrub, and have a pleas­ant tart taste. The high lev­els of an­tho­cyanins and vi­ta­min C (3 times more than or­anges) make them a dis­ease bust­ing an­tiox­i­dant pow­er­house – anti diuretic, anti di­ar­rhoea, anti rheumatic, anti uric acid, anti ex­haus­tion, anti menopausal symptoms, anti heart dis­eases. Dried black currants are high pro­tein, low fat, high fi­bre with cop­per, man­ganese and potas­sium, too. They help lower the risk of type-2 di­a­betes, choles­terol, di­ges­tive dis­or­ders and os­teo­poro­sis. Make a tonic of one tsp of dried black currants and 250 ml of wa­ter. Cook till it bub­bles for 30 min­utes. Drink up in a day. It is great for your skin. BLACK TEA It’s a su­per food too, made from ox­i­dized leaves which are fer­mented and dried, af­ter which they turn black. Black tea was used as cur­rency in Asia be­cause it keeps its flavour and colour for years. It con­tains an­tiox­i­dants called cat­e­chins which pro­tect the artery walls against dam­age and pre­vent the for­ma­tion of blood clots, and pushes up good HDL choles­terol; man­ganese which helps car­diac func­tion; polyphe­nols which pre­vent the for­ma­tion of car­cino­gens (spe­cially of oral, stom­ach, prostate, breast can­cers) and kills ma­lig­nant cells, leav­ing nor­mal cells alone. They stop Ir­ri­ta­ble Bowel Syn­drome, ban­ish acne bet­ter than harsh ben­zoyl per­ox­ide, and build stronger bones. New re­search sug­gests that black tea may pro­tect against Parkin­son’s Dis­ease too. To­gether with polyphe­nols, tan­nins in black tea fight in­fec­tion, have a ther­a­peu­tic ef­fect on gas­tric and in­testi­nal dis­ease, act as an­tibi­otics to pre­vent tooth de­cay and keep the breath sweet. Un­like cof­fee, the small amount of caf­feine in black tea reg­u­lates blood flow to the brain with­out over­stim­u­lat­ing it. The theo­phytin perks up en­ergy. Theamine helps you to re­lax and con­cen­trate and re­duces lev­els of the stress hor­mone cor­ti­sol. You will see re­sults af­ter quaffing 4 cups daily for a month. So drink up know­ing black tea is a health­ful brew.

So you’re aware that wear­ing black makes a guy look trim and dandy and a gal sexy ‘n’ svelte. But did you know it is also the glossy colour of tasty and nu­tri­tious foods, which have been around for­ever, but have been re­dis­cov­ered as a par­tic­u­larly...

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