If you live in a western country like Mexico or the United States, there is almost no doubt that you have eaten food that has contained black beans. We’ve shortened the name through the years, as the full name is actually the black turtle bean. Black beans are very cheap, and can be used in a lot of different ways, making them incredibly popular. From being an addition to a burrito to making a fine side dish, there aren’t many people that haven’t tried black beans.
Though they don’t bring a huge amount of taste, the texture, easiness to digest and price are hard to ignore. Some people might consider black beans to be an unhealthy food based on the fact that it’s not the most low-cal food, but there are actually a lot of great health benefits that black beans can bring. Let’s breakdown the nutritional value of black beans, how many you should be eating and what those great benefits are.
Nutrition of Black Beans
If you are watching your calorie count, you might not want the full serving of black beans at one cup, as it contains around 230 calories. As long as you make black beans part of your overall recommended calorie intake, you are going to see some great benefits from the vitamins and minerals. For starters, each serving of black beans has 60 percent of your daily fiber recommendation, making it one of the most potent in that category. There are also two vitamins that really stand out, with folate (64 percent recommendation) and thiamin (28 percent) being the most abundant. You can even get solid amounts of riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6 and pantothenic acid.
The mineral count is where black beans really stand out. Iron, magnesium, phosphorus and manganese are all between 20 and 40 percent of your daily recommended value. Black beans contain a significant amount of potassium, zinc and copper, as well. There are smaller amounts of calcium and selenium, but having just a bit is still better than nothing.
Perhaps the most notable thing you can say about black beans is their ability to improve overall digestive health. Since black beans are so high in fiber, they can flush out much of the toxins in your digestive system while creating more bacteria for your gut. Because of this, you are less likely to experience problems such as constipation, diarrhea and others that have been linked to low amounts of fiber.
The fiber will not only help to improve your overall digestive health, but also make you feel more full. Eating beans can satisfy some of those cravings that you can have throughout the day. If you suffer from regular digestive problems, it could be a lack of fiber, which can easily be solved by eating more foods like black beans.
Balancing your blood sugar has become more important than ever as poor diets have led to a lot of people with diabetes. Poor blood sugar levels can also lead to other problems such as heart disease, weight gain and others. Eating more black beans can help to improve your blood sugar levels, and a big part of that is because of the fiber. There is also no sugar to be found in black beans.
Digestion and blood sugar typically go hand in hand, which is why black beans are so beneficial overall. Eating more fiber found in beans will lead to fewer spikes and crashes in your blood sugar, preventing your chances of diabetes. Though black beans will make you feel more full, they might not satisfy your sweet tooth, so eating some strawberries alongside might help.
We go back to the fiber yet again to find another benefit that you can get from black beans. This time, it has to do with the most important organ in your body, the heart. The increased fiber amount from black beans can help you to lower your LDL (bad) cholesterol levels. There are different types of fiber, and black beans contain the soluble type that has been shown to lower that cholesterol.
Many of the nutrients in black beans also help you prevent heart disease. Homocysteine can grow and cause heart disease if you do not have vitamin B6 and folate levels that are high enough, which can be found in black beans. Not many people would think of beans as improving your heart health, but that’s the pleasantly surprising case.
Many of those vitamins and minerals that your body needs helps to fight free radicals that can cause chronic diseases such as cancer. Thankfully, many of those are found in black beans, including flavonoids. Black beans also contain anthocyanins, which have been shown to slow down the growth of both cancer cells and tumors alike.
While other foods that we have looked at can help you fight off minor diseases thanks to a high vitamin C count, that’s unfortunately not the case here. However, balancing these foods together helps you to get a full range of healthy benefits that can help you fight all diseases.
Between the carbohydrates and protein found in black beans, you might feel that you have unlimited energy after eating them. Thanks to regulated blood sugar on top of that, you won’t be experiencing crashes and spikes in your blood sugar. This is especially good for diabetics that still want to work out, getting fast carbs. You can even build muscle with the protein count in black beans, and they have even been shown to help increase your virility and reduce chances of impotence.
Summing it Up
While it is nice to have a high fiber content, you want to make sure that you aren’t eating too many black beans in your diet. There is such a thing as too much fiber, and your body might not be able to digest correctly. This can lead to discomfort like indigestion, constipation and cramping. Black beans are also high in iron, but not the type that your body can absorb very easily. If you are also getting plenty of vitamin C and drinking water, this won’t lead to problems.
There really aren’t many other negatives to black beans, and the ones that do arise can be easily solved if you aren’t eating too many. You also have to watch the calories as it’s easy to get lost in how many you are eating, and too many calories will lead to weight gain. Making sure you measure your calorie intake and the black bean amount you’re eating in your diet is going to bring a lot of great health benefits that you will see almost right away, so enjoy them!