Did you know that delicious, rich black beans with their soft buttery skin are loaded with an abundance of health benefits? Black beans are a “powerfood” due to their high nutritional value; they are filled with protein, vitamins, minerals, disease-fighting antioxidants and lots of healthy fiber.
6 Health Benefits
- Help lose weight and keep it off
Simply eating one serving of beans per day was found to help with weight loss. The clinical trials over six weeks with 940 participants at St. Michael’s Hospital, Toronto found significant weight loss for those eating 3/4 cup of beans each day compared to those who did not eat beans daily. Beans have high fiber protein that helps you feel full and keep your energy up.
- Glycemic index improved for diabetics
A study found a decrease in fasting glucose and insulin after 16 weeks after including beans and whole grains in the subjects’ diet. Consumption of whole grain and legume powder was found to reduce insulin demand in patients with coronary artery disease, according to research. In a survey, 68 percent of Canadian dietitians said they recommend eating beans to individuals with diabetes.
- Digestive Benefits
Cooked navy and black bean diets have been shown to improve colon health and reduce inflammation. They have also been found to help clear unwanted bacteria and toxins from the digestive system, thus improving overall health.
- Improve Heart Health
Black beans protect heart health by reducing inflammation; they contain high levels of phytonutrients, which studies have shown to reduce cholesterol. Black beans are high in soluble fiber, which helps balance unhealthy cholesterol levels. A diet high in fiber from beans helps protect against heart disease, according to research.
Black beans are a good source of folate and magnesium, which are important for a healthy heart. They also have soluble and insoluble fiber, which can help lower “bad” cholesterol, helping with heart health. It has been suggested that one serving per day (about 1/2 cup cooked) of beans of any kind can help reduce the risk of heart attack and balance “bad” LDL cholesterol.
- Antioxidants Help Protect Against Cancer
The flavonoids and phytochemicals in black beans act as antioxidants and anti-inflammatories which, protect against various forms of cancers, especially true with colon cancer. One study concluded that eating black beans lowered colon cancer. Studies have shown that the high antioxidant compound of black beans can help to prevent DNA damage and gene mutation, leading to a decreased risk of developing cancerous cells.
- Good Source of Protein
Black beans are a good source of plant-based protein; they are great for people who avoid eating animal products. One cup of black beans provides 15.2 grams protein (30 percent) of fat-burning protein. Protein is required by nearly every body function. They are often eaten with a grain, which works together to make up a full protein, making them a very good source protein for vegetarians.
Note: Black beans have high oxalate content which occurs naturally in many foods. With some medical conditions, it is recommended to avoid an over-accumulation in the body. Learn more about the oxalic acid controversy.
Black Bean History
Black beans are native to the Americas and are one of the over 500 varieties of kidney beans.
They have been around for at least 7,000 years and were a staple food in early diets of Central and South American people. The pre-Columbian people grew beans as a main source of protein as animals were not an important source of food, particularly in Mesoamerica.
“In Aztec times most Mexicans …… main meal taken in the early afternoon, when it was too hot to do anything else…… consisted of tortillas, a dish of beans and a sauce made from tomatoes or peppers.” ~ Food in History, Reay Tannahill
In the 15th century Spanish explorers brought black beans to Europe, and they spread to Africa and Asia. It wasn’t until the 1880s that American bean production expanded significantly.
Tips for eating beans:
With dried beans, it’s best to first sort through them to remove small stones or damaged beans. Then place the beans in a strainer, rinsing them thoroughly under cool running water. It is possible to eat beans without worrying about gas.