There’s a reason why black beans have acquired “superfood” status. Celebrated by vegans and meat lovers alike black beans can add a ton of protein, fiber, and valuable nutrients to your diet, whether in a burrito bowl or as the patty on your black bean burger. Let’s get into some of the health benefits of eating black beans and learn how these dense little beans can improve your overall health and wellness.
What Are Black Beans
Did you know that black beans, are technically called “black turtle beans”? Black beans are classified as legumes, and like other legumes, they’re known for their rich protein and fiber content. Black beans are packed with valuable micronutrients and polyphenols; powerful plant compounds, with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, specifically Anthocyanins.
Black Bean Nutrition
Popular as a nutritious and healthy snack, due to its protein and fiber rich content, black beans have a wide array of valuable micronutrients, vitamins, and minerals, such as vitamin c, folate, magnesium, copper, potassium, and vitamin B6. One cup of black beans typically contain
A research study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry investigating the antioxidant content and effects of different legumes, found that black beans have more antioxidant activity gram for gram than any other bean. The study found that one class of compounds in particular, anthocyanins, were the most active antioxidants in the beans [R].
4 Black Bean Benefits For Overall Health And Wellness
1. Black Beans Benefit Weight Loss
Black beans are packed with protein and fiber, with nearly 15g of fiber or 50% of your daily recommended value in just one cup. High fiber filled foods can help you lose weight by keeping you fuller for longer and curbing your appetite. Soluble fibers acts as a gel, attracting water and digesting very slowly, while also releasing blood sugar slowly. Insoluble fiber acts as a bulking agent in your gastrointestinal tract, passing through your digestive system.
Studies show that legumes can positively impact body fat, waist circumference and weight loss. A cross sectional study, of 246 women conducted by Brigham Young University, found that women who consumed moderate or high amounts of beans had less body fat and smaller waists than those with low intakes [R].
2. Black Beans Benefit Heart Health
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death worldwide, claiming over 650,000 American lives annually. Plants and legumes contain powerful plant compounds called polyphenols, which have been shown to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, two important elements in reducing the risk for heart disease as well as other chronic conditions.
Fiber rich foods also have positive benefits on heart health. Fiber can reduce and maintain healthy cholesterol levels, decreasing your risk for plaque buildup in your arteries.
The seed coats of black bean also contain flavanols such as myricetin, quercetin, and kaempferol glycosides, anthocyanins and isoflavones. Isoflavones are unique phytoestrogens (plant estrogens) which have faint estrogenic properties. Research shows that isoflavones, could in fact play a crucial role in preventing chronic disease states, such as cancer, heart disease, and osteoporosis [R].
3. Black Beans May Regulate Blood Sugar
Unlike other foods high in carbohydrates, black beans do not cause a spike in blood sugar. Research has shown that black beans may in fact reduce blood sugar levels when eaten with other foods, helping maintain healthy, controlled blood sugar levels due to the unique protein and fiber content. In a large ongoing trial, The Women’s Health Study, flavonoid intake was also associated with risk of diabetes and related markers of insulin resistance and inflammation [R].
4. Black Beans May Benefit Eye Health
Research shows that certain vitamins and minerals, may slow the progression of eye related disease. A combination of nutrients, specifically vitamin c, e, beta-carotene, and zinc, collectively known as the AREDS formulation (age-related disease studies) may reduce the risk of developing advanced age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Black beans are especially high in vitamin C, which has been shown to reduce the risk of cataracts. Black beans also contain anthocyanins which are powerful flavonoids, with antioxidant effects.
A major research study conducted by the National Eye Institute showed that when people at high risk of advanced macular degeneration took high doses of antioxidants, their risk of developing ocular disease decreased by 25%. Antioxidants also reduced vision loss in the same high-risk group by 19% [R].
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Black Bean Benefits: Takeaway
Antioxidants have a profound impact in reducing your risk of chronic disease, by protecting you from invading free radicals. Research has shown that black beans are more nutrient dense gram for gram than any other type of legume, boasting high amounts of fiber, protein, and crucial vitamins and nutrients. Black beans have proven to have robust health benefits reducing the risk of heart disease by balancing cholesterol levels, improving eye health, and aiding in weight loss. Now you know why this powerful black bean, has garnered the “superfood” claim to fame.
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Tucker, Larry A. “Bean Consumption Accounts for Differences in Body Fat and Waist Circumference: A Cross-Sectional Study of 246 Women.” Journal of nutrition and metabolism vol. 2020 9140907. 6 Jun. 2020, doi:10.1155/2020/9140907
Age-Related Eye Disease Study Research Group. “A randomized, placebo-controlled, clinical trial of high-dose supplementation with vitamins C and E, beta carotene, and zinc for age-related macular degeneration and vision loss: AREDS report no. 8.” Archives of ophthalmology (Chicago, Ill. : 1960) vol. 119,10 (2001): 1417-36. doi:10.1001/archopht.119.10.1417