Black beans (Phaseolus vulgaris) are edible seeds that are classified as legumes. Black beans belong to the plant family called Fabaceae (Leguminosae). Black bean is one of the varieties of a Kidney bean and is known by many names like turtle bean, caviar criollo, and frijoles negros. Appearance-wise they are hard and shell-like, nearly of the size of a pea. When black beans are cooked, they have a creamy consistency and a slightly sweet taste. They have smooth and shiny black skin with a white center.
Black beans are not only readily available all around the world, but they are also very inexpensive. You can find them at your local grocery store in both dried and canned forms. You can store dried beans for an extended period, but they start to lose their moisture after 1 to 2 years. To store the dried black beans, keep them in an airtight and properly sealed container.
There are various varieties of black beans like Black magic, Condor, Blackhawk, Raven, and Domino. Since black beans are legumes, they include peas, peanuts, beans, and lentils. Due to their overwhelming flavor, black beans are the ingredient of many dishes.
Black beans are packed with a lot of nutrients, which make them very popular across the globe. Black bean is the primary food in many Latin American cultures. If you ever get to travel to Latin America or the Caribbean, you will see the beans in some form in almost every meal.
Nutritional Value of Black Beans
Black bean is a source of several essential nutrients. Black beans are rich with almost every required nutrient, from low-calorie protein to a high proportion of vitamins and minerals. The efficient use of black beans saves you from a lot of health-related conditions. It is suitable for patients with type 2 diabetes, and black beans are also perfect for your digestive system as well.
Protein is a macronutrient that your body requires for the formation of bones, skin, hair, and blood. Your daily protein requirement is 500grams, but it varies depending upon your personal needs, gender, age, and physical activities. Black beans contain a very high amount of proteins.
Another essential macronutrient that your body requires is carbohydrates. It helps to accelerate many bodily ongoing processes. Carbs are considered harmful since they spike up blood sugar levels and promote weight gain. But if taken in the right way, carbs are very beneficial for your body.
Black beans have slow-digesting carbs that will not increase your blood sugar level and will keep you healthy. The black beans fulfill a 7% carbs requirement of an average person. This makes black beans a good source of carbs.
A half serving cup of beans fulfills about 30% of the daily requirement. Fiber helps in the cleansing of the colon, slows down your digestion, and keeps your digestive system function normally and smoothly. It also prevents constipation. The fiber and protein together prove to be a perfect duo in losing and maintaining a healthy weight. The fiber in the black beans also prevents your body from chronic diseases related to the digestive system.
- Vitamins and Minerals
Black beans also provide essential vitamins, minerals, and other required micronutrients. A half serving cup of black beans contains iron, zinc, manganese, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, and copper.
Black beans also contain a mix of vitamin B vitamins, particularly folate (B-9), and thiamine (B-1). The body does not store these water-soluble vitamins, so you need to take these vitamins daily through your dietary choices.
The thiamine helps in metabolizing food into energy, and it is suitable for your nerve health too. Black beans provide 18 percent of daily required thiamine. An article issued in 2016 highlighted the critical role of vitamin B (including folate and thiamine) in brain health.
Health Benefits of Black Beans
If you are thinking about adding healthy ingredients to your diet, then you should go for black beans without a second thought since they are very beneficial. Black beans are packed with high protein, which makes them ideal for vegetarians. The fibers in black beans are suitable for your overall digestion. It also minimizes and controls cholesterol and enhances heart health.
The complex carbs and proteins leave you with a feeling of fullness, which helps in weight loss. Following are a few significant health benefits of black beans:
- Promotes Bone Health
Black beans contain minerals like iron, magnesium, zinc, copper, phosphorus, manganese, and calcium. These minerals not only helps in the development and maintenance of bones but also in strengthening the bones as well.
Phosphorus and calcium are vital for the development of the bone structure. In contrast, minerals like zinc and iron play their role in maintaining the strength and elasticity of joints and bones.
- Controls Blood Sugar
It has been proven through researches that replacing white rice (rapidly digested carbohydrates) with legumes can enhance glycemic control in diabetic patients.
- Maintains and Lowers Blood Pressure
It is essential to maintain a low sodium level in your body to keep your blood pressure in control. The black beans contain calcium, magnesium, and potassium and generally have low sodium ion. These minerals help in maintaining and lowering blood pressure.
- Boosts Digestive Health
Food that has high resistant starch act as prebiotics. As compared to canned beans, dried beans have more resistant starch content. Resistant starch also promotes gut flora.
Due to the presence of fiber, the black beans help in preventing constipation and enhances the overall health of the digestive tract. It also promotes the growth of healthy bacteria in the colon.
- Aids Weight Loss
When it comes to weight loss and weight maintenance, dietary fiber is considered an essential factor. The foods that contain high fiber content give the feeling of fullness and also reduce your appetite. Reduce appetite results in lower calorie intake and promotes weight loss.
Adding plant foods (like black beans) reduces the risk of heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and other health-related severe conditions. Moreover, they also boost energy and enhances the complexion and hair health.
- Prevents Heart Diseases
The black beans are rich with vitamin B6, potassium, folate, phytonutrients, and low cholesterol content. They all contribute to good heart health. The fiber lowers the blood cholesterol level and prevents heart diseases.
The accumulation of excessive homocysteine in the body can lead to several heart problems and damage to blood vessels.Folate and vitamin B6 prevents the accumulation of homocysteine. Black beans also contain saponins and quercetin, which supports cardioprotection. Saponin also reduces the blood cholesterol and blood lipid level and prevent the vessel and heart from damage.
- Prevents Cancer
Selenium is a rare mineral which most of the fruits and vegetables lack, but it is found in black beans. It helps in the detoxification of cancer-cells and also plays a role in the functioning of the liver enzyme. Moreover, selenium also reduces inflammation and decreases the growth of tumors.
Saponins is another mineral present in black beans which prevent the multiplication of the cancer cell and stop it from spreading. Black beans contain fiber, which also prevents colorectal cancer.
The black beans contain a high content of folate, which promotes the synthesis of DNA. So it prevents the body from the cancer cells, which are formed as a result of DNA mutation.
People who are allergic to peanuts and other legumes may have an allergic reaction from black beans, but it rarely happens. However, it can be a concern for you if you are allergic to green beans, kidney beans, or pinto beans since black beans are related to them. And chances are you will be allergic to black beans as well.
How to Store Black Beans?
When you go for buying dried black beans, always go for satiny, glossy, and whole ones. Never buy broken or cracked dry beans. Tiny holes in the beans indicate that beans are infested with the insects. Always store them in a properly sealed and airtight container, and the place where they are stored should be cool and dry. In this way, you can store the dried beans up to a year. Once the black beans are cooked, you can store them in the refrigerator for up to 4 to 5 days, and in the freezer, you can store the beans up to six months.
As compared to other related types of beans, black beans are packed with high nutrients and are healthier. Black beans are available throughout the year and are affordable. Black beans are a great source to prevent your body from heart diseases, cancer, high blood pressure, and many other serious diseases. You can add black beans to your diet by making it a mandatory ingredient in your salads and soups.