You have probably noticed that the theme of the summer is “unicorn.” Unicorn ice cream, unicorn bagels, unicorn Frappuccino . . . you name it — it’s been unicorned. But lately my Instagram feed has been blowing up with the opposite – goth food; namely black ice cream.

The key ingredient that makes the ice cream pitch black is activated charcoal. No, it is not the same charcoal that you would use to light a grill. Activated charcoal has been gaining a lot of attention recently for its use in beauty products. In face masks it traps dirt and toxins in your pores that are removed when the face mask is removed.

Initially, activated charcoal was used by doctors to flush toxins from patients’ bodies, as it has amazing absorption properties. In small doses, activated charcoal can provide a digestive cleanse – removing toxins that can cause allergic reactions and poor immune function. By removing these toxins, you may have reduced joint pain, increased mental function, and increased energy.

The activated charcoal found in black ice cream also helps prevent aging. By removing toxins from the body, you prevent cellular damage to organs that would typically speed up the effects of aging – your kidney, liver, and adrenal glands. Consuming small doses of activated charcoal will promote better function in your liver and kidneys, as well as a healthier digestive tract. It has also been shown that consuming activated charcoal reduces high cholesterol that can lead to heart disease.

Taken in larger doses, activated charcoal can inhibit nutrient absorption, but the small amount found in black ice cream will only be beneficial.

It is said that while the ice cream looks very intense, the flavor is actually very mild – tasting of vanilla or coconut, depending on the shop or person making it. Each batch of black ice cream (that serves about ten) contains about a quarter cup of activated charcoal – which means that you are getting approximately eight grams of activated charcoal per serving. When taking activated charcoal daily, it is recommended that you do not take more than five grams per day, but, considering that this is an occasional treat, the additional three grams you don’t have much to worry about.

If you live in the Dallas/Fort Worth area you can find the perfect marriage of two Instagram food trends – rolled ice cream and black ice cream – at Chills 360 in Deep Ellum.  If you are nowhere near a shop that sells black ice cream, check out this no-churn recipe from Pop Sugar, or, if you have an ice cream maker, this recipe from Hellthy Junk Food.