Black is the new brown

Black is the new brown. That is what I hear from all of the latest health research that shows that foods that are naturally black, dark blue and purple are full of antioxidants and are linked to a host of health benefits, from lowering cancer and heart disease risk to reducing inflammation.

Black rice, blackberries and black beans are just a few of these antioxidant rich foods that you can add to your diet.

Why are black foods so good for you? Because the same substance that gives these foods their dark hue, anthocyanins, also serves a critical role in preventing multiple health conditions.

The bran from black rice contains higher levels of vitamin E, which protects cells from damage caused by free radicals. Black rice is not commonly found, but you can find it in natural grocery stores, such as Earth Fare and Whole Foods.

Black beans contain bioflavonoids, which are potent in fighting cancer. They are also full of fiber, folate and iron.

Blackberries, which are coming into season right now, contain polyphenols which scrub cells that harm brain function. Blackberries are rich in vitamin C and manganese, which strengthens the immune system. Blackberries are also chockfull of fiber and low in calories. One cup of blackberries has only 75 calories, 1 gram of protein, 0 grams of fat and 7.6 grams of fiber!

This weekend I decided to make a big pancake breakfast with my kids at the cooking helm. We made whole wheat pancakes with blackberries and bananas. I made their initials with the pancake batter and even made a few butterflies, teddy bears and Mickey Mouse. We made them on Sunday before church and it took so long to make them that we were running late, so we threw them in a ziplock bag and ate them as a picnic brunch at Riverwalk. Nothing says summer picnic like blackberry pancakes, right?

Try out the recipe and let me know what you think:

Whole-Wheat Blackberry Pancakes

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 3 large egg whites
  • ½ cup Trader Joes strawberry keifer
  • 1 tbsp sugar or honey
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup blackberries
  • 1 sliced banana

Directions

Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl. Add wet ingredients to the mixing bowl and mix well with a spoon until there are no more dry spots.

Heat a large skillet on medium heat. Spray non-fat cooking spray to lightly coat. Make the pancakes into letter shapes (spell backwards so it comes out correctly,) animals or other fun shapes. Drop the blackberries and/or banana slices on the pancakes while they are setting up. When the bubbles settle and the edges begin to set, flip the pancakes.

 

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