Leafy greens get all the antioxidant glory, but black-colored foods can also be loaded with health-promoting compounds. Research suggests that anthocyanins (pigments abundant in black, blue, and purple whole foods) may help lower your risk of heart disease and certain types of cancer—and make your skin glow. Here, registered dietitians Stephanie Clarke and Willow Jarosh share five nutritious, deeply delicious ways to blacken your diet.

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1. Black Sesame Seeds
They’re nutty and pleasantly bitter, and several black varieties had higher antioxidant activity than their white counterparts in one 2016 study.
Try it: Grind them into sesame-seed butter (tahini) and use in place of almond butter on toast, or add to stir-fries for a satisfying crunch.

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2. Black Mission Figs
Sweet and jammy, they offer a healthy dose of bone-boosting minerals. Plus, dried figs have less sugar than raisins or dates.
Try it: Slice fresh figs and put them on a peanut butter sandwich, or soak dried ones in hot water for ten minutes, chop and cook with greens to balance out bitterness.

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3. Black Garlic
All garlic contains allicin, a compound linked to heart health, but the black stuff’s milder taste appeals to the garlic-shy.
Try it: Add to pureed salad dressings for richness, or mash roasted cloves, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and spread on crusty bread.
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4. Black Rice
Like brown rice, this ancient grain is a good source of vegetarian protein (four grams per quarter cup); it’s also firmer and nuttier.
Try it: Mix cooked black rice with milk, fruit, chopped almonds and a little honey for a hearty breakfast, or toss in salads for chewy texture.
Photo: Shiitake: Shioguchi/Getty Images; Trumpet: Roger Dixon/Getty Images.

5. Black Mushrooms
Shiitakes may boost immunity, and black trumpets pack more energizing vitamin B12 than other types, a 2012 study found.
Try it: Sauté black trumpets in oil and serve over lentils. Or beef up ground meat with sautéed shiitakes—mushrooms and beef share a savory (umami) taste.


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