Black and orange Halloween fare
Matthew Kadey, MSc, RD
Orange is the new black, and black is the new orange in our recipes that feature these Halloween-inspired food colour combos.
Black cats. Orange pumpkins. Black and orange are undeniably the colour scheme of the Halloween season. Black calls to mind the darkness of night (and all that goes “bump” in it), while orange reflects the colour of the autumn harvest. Using this colour combination in the kitchen can bring about culinary and nutritional benefits that are anything but scary. Black fruits, veggies, and legumes, along with grains tinged such a deep purple they appear black, are antioxidant heavyweights. Many orange-hued edibles supply a range of must-have nutrients. It’s time to embrace the season of things that go boo by serving up these dishes: they prove that black and orange foods make a delicious dynamic duo.
Here are some of the healthiest and most delicious black and orange foods to stock up on as a way to show your Halloween spirit.
Quinoa comes in light yellow, red, and black hues, with the latter having a crunchier texture. The darker the quinoa, the higher its disease-fighting antioxidant activity tends to be, according to new research.
The orange spud is a source of potassium, an important mineral that can show your heart some love: in a recent study of young, healthy adults, those who consumed higher amounts of dietary potassium had less stiffening of blood vessels.
Black rice, also called Forbidden rice, has a wonderful chewy texture and sweet, nutty taste, along with a payload of potent anthocyanin antioxidants.
Good for more than just jack-o’-lanterns, pumpkins are a great source of beta carotene. In a Harvard study, people with more carotenoids in their blood were more likely to have an optimistic attitude. Researchers were unsure whether higher carotenoid levels were a cause or an effect of the optimism.
The seeds that these sweet-tart berries possess are a big reason why they are such a fibre heavyweight, containing nearly 8 g in a 1 cup (250 mL) serving. Higher intakes of fibre have been shown to be protective against developing type 2 diabetes, potentially by making it easier to maintain a healthier body weight.
Perhaps Bugs Bunny should have been a nutritionist. His veggie of choice supplies a range of nutrients including fibre and vitamins A, C, and K. A study of people at high risk of cardiovascular disease in the Journal of Nutrition found that those who increased their dietary intake of vitamin K were less likely to die of heart disease or cancer.
Already lauded for their sky-high fibre levels and for being a good source of plant-based protein, black beans also have anthocyanin antioxidants similar to those present in dark fruits such as blueberries and blackberries. By helping to protect cells from the damaging effects of free radicals in the body, higher intakes of such antioxidants are thought to confer some protection against maladies such as cancer, heart disease, and neurodegenerative diseases.
Bell peppers are considered a nutrient-dense addition to your grocery cart because they supply high levels of nutrients such as vitamin C in relation to the few calories they contain.
These dried delights not only add natural sweetness to salads, oatmeal, and yogurt, but they also provide a surprising source of bone-building calcium.
This winter vegetable stalwart is loaded with beta carotene and also gives your diet a healthy dose of vitamin C. A meta-analysis in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that, in short-term trials, vitamin C reduced blood pressure numbers. Newer research suggests an inverse relationship between vitamin C intake and risk of stroke.
These fibre-packed jet-black legumes are blissfully less earthy tasting than their green or brown counterparts. They get their name from whale caviar, to which they bear more than a passing resemblance. They hold their shape once cooked, making them a great addition to salads and stuffing.
Men’s health across the life course
Theodore D. Cosco, PhD (Cantab) CPsychol