Black beans are a great food to add to a healthy diet. They are packed with nutrition and beneficial for your body. Black beans are an easy food to add to your meal plans, and just as little as 1/2 cup per day adds necessary vitamins and minerals to enhance your health.
Historically, black beans are a staple in Mexico, Brazil, Indonesia and the Dominican Republic. Top producers of black beans include India, China, Brazil, Indonesia and the United States.
Like other legumes, black beans grow in seed pods. The outer covering is discarded and the beans inside are dried.
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You can get 9 to 13 grams of fiber from 1 cup of cooked beans. Because it has insoluble fiber, it contributes to reduced cholesterol. Black beans also help with irritations in your gut by helping with the digestive tract. Because of this, black beans are also a good food when you are wanting to lose weight. They make you feel full, create energy, and are less likely to be stored as fat in your body.
Promote blood sugar regulation
Due to the fiber content, black beans help regulate blood glucose levels. This simple carbohydrate results in a steady energy flow without those ups and downs. This can also be beneficial in treating irregular glucose metabolism, diabetes, and hypoglycemia.
Prevent Heart Disease
Fiber, folate, potassium, and magnesium in black beans benefit the heart. Magnesium helps get the nutrients, blood, and oxygen to veins and arteries. Folate (B9) controls the amino acid, homocysteine, which can cause harmful effects to the body. It is a perk for your nervous system, and is also great for pregnant women as it aids with fetal development. Potassium reduces the sodium level in your blood, which helps reduce blood pressure.
Source of Protein
When combined with brown rice, black beans form a complete protein that is very high quality and fat-free. If you are vegetarian and looking for a substitute for dairy or animal proteins, adding black beans and rice will provide the same benefits. 1 cup of black beans will provide you with 30% of your recommended daily value of protein.
Rich in Antioxidants and Minerals
Black beans contain the antioxidant anthocyanins, which offers anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, and anti-cancer benefits. This antioxidant also gives the black beans a rich dark color. While beans in general provide antioxidants, black beans have one of the highest levels. This helps in eliminating free radicals from your system. Free radicals left unchecked can potentially lead to growth of cancer cells.
Black beans can provide much needed iron to the body. If a person is anemic (deficient in iron), pregnant, or a growing child or adolescent, black beans provide an iron source which is lower in calories and fat-free than the other good source of iron which is red meat.
Manganese and Molybdenum
Black beans contain manganese which helps your body produce energy and also acts as an antioxidant. Molybdenum is a lesser known trace mineral which can help detoxify your body from sulfates that are often found in prepared foods. It can also help with fertility, especially among men.
Black beans also contain phosphorus, calcium, zinc, and copper which, along with the other minerals mentioned, are building blocks for strong bones and joints.
Black beans cooked from dry beans are the most nutritious. The beans that come in cans have gone through processing that reduces the amount of nutrients. They are also packaged in a high sodium solution. If you are going to use canned beans, drain and rinse them well. Some sources also recommend that you heat them up.
Some people are intimidated by the preparation process of dried beans, but there are easy ways of preparing them. The best way is to soak them in water overnight. The next day, drain them, add fresh water and boil them on the stove until they are tender. Using an Instant Pot is a very easy alternative.
If you don’t want to soak them overnight, you can bring the beans to a boil for 2 minutes, shut off the water, and let them sit in the cooking water for an hour. After that, drain them, add fresh water, and cook them on the stove or in the Instant Pot.
If you are going to prepare a large batch of beans, you might consider canning dry black beans. That way you will have a jar available anytime you want to prepare a recipe.
When you first start eating beans on a regular basis, you may notice some issues with gas or bloating. This is due to the oligosaccharides, or sugars, in the beans. There are a few ways to reduce this effect:
- Start slowly. Your body will get used to this food if you eat it a little at a time. At the same time, eat slowly and allow your body to fully digest the beans.
- Using an Instant Pot (or other pressure cooker) will break down the sugars quickly.
- Soak the beans longer – the USDA recommends soaking the beans 8-12 hours but drain the water every 3 hours. The sugars and starch gather in the water and changing the water often will reduce these levels.
- Adding kombu, ginger, turmeric, cumin, coriander, or fennel have also been suggested to help reduce the gas factor.
- Adding baking soda or apple cider vinegar may also help some.
- Having a cup of chamomile or peppermint tea after a bean meal can counteract the gassy affects as well.
Black Bean Nutrition Facts
These are the values for 1 cup of black beans:
|Total Fat||Less than 1 gram|
Source: FoodData Central (usda.gov)
Add Black Beans to Your Diet
Black beans are delicious and easy to add to your diet. They are easy to prepare, and pressure can, so you have a supply in your pantry for quick meals. Add them to salads, soups, or chili. Make veggie burgers and dips. As you can see, they are almost a superfood! I challenge you to add black beans to your diet in some way. Comment below what you prepared.