recently in my favorite breakfast bar in Italy: studying the brioches available I suddenly spy some odd colored BLACK thing amidst the gorgeous light-coloured offer of panini and brioches. The girl behind the bar informs me that this particular one contains vegetable carbon. Since my natural curiosity as a Food Coach is untamable I decide to give it a try.
The black thing on my plate is surprisingly delicious, has a quite normal, slightly “darker”, more savory taste to it and – what I notice a bit later – does not give any heavy or bloated feeling, which sometimes does occur after a not so healthy Italian mini breakfast.
So, what is this ingredient that colors food in black? It is called vegetable or activated carbon and has many healthy effects on our digestive system such as
-relieve from bloating, intestinal expansion, general problems of the intestine
-reflux and stomach acid
-gastritis, hyper acidity
-diarrhea and colitis, food poisoning.
It serves as a general detoxifying agent, has a disinfecting effect on your intestinal tract and gets eliminated by the digestive tubes without any form of absorption. An excessive consumption can lead to constipation, though and is not advisable. Activated carbon is a special kind of charcoal, usually made from coconut shells or bamboo, that has been oxidized at extremely high temperatures to change its structure into a highly porous state. Millions of tiny pores in the activated carbon electrostatically sponge up gases and toxins in your intestines and lock them away for elimination.
So, if you ask my opinion this ingredient is certainly nothing harmful, but if you eat a continuously healthy diet there is no special need for activated carbon. I rather see it as a very useful vegetarian remedy for people, who suffer from intestinal issues like the ones mentioned above.
I reconfirm though, that the odd-looking black brioches and panini taste absolutely excellent and don’t do you any harm! And I learned that they call it “Calimero”. Quite a pleasant name for such a strange looking thing :).