As children, we have all been regularly commanded to finish our beans. No matter how odd or ridiculous they looked or how repulsed we felt, we had to eat them. Ever wondered why our parents were so stubborn about this whole bean affair? Turns out, there is more to it than just wiping our plates clean.
Common beans are scientifically known as Phaseolus vulgaris. The plant is a major grain legume that is grown and harvested annually for its nutritious beans. Since their pods are also edible, they are grown all over the world. Rich in protein with high mineral content, they are a staple food product that is highly recommended as a part of your daily diet. Wondering why? Here are some of the top health benefits of common beans.
100 grams of common beans (boiled kidney beans) contain:
- 127 calories
- 67% of water
- 7 grams of protein
- 8 grams of carbs
- 3 gram of sugar
- 4 grams of fiber
- 5 gram of fat
1. Lower Cholesterol Levels
There are different types of cholesterol triglycerides, out of which HDL(high-density lipoproteins) and LDL (low-density lipoproteins) are the most significant. HDL is also known as good cholesterol. On the other hand, LDL is the bad cholesterol that leads to different types of diseases. It accumulates inside the body in copious amounts, which leads to a number of medical problems.
If you do not take care of your diet, or if you lead a lazy lifestyle, you are at risk of chronic diseases. To avoid higher levels of cholesterols, regular intake of beans is recommended. It is believed that when you consume common beans daily, it significantly reduces the cholesterol levels in your body.
2. Improve Gut Functions
You are prone to a number of issues if your gut is not in good condition. A healthy gut is responsible for maintaining a healthy body. Research shows that consuming common beans regularly improves gut functions significantly. With a high fiber content, they enhance the intestinal barrier functions and also promote the growth of good bacteria. This helps in preventing a number of Gastro-Intestinal Tract (GIT) related issues.
3. Help Prevent Fatty Liver
Fatty liver is a common problem amongst people who are obese or live a sedentary lifestyle. Amongst such individuals, it is also observed that their diet is usually composed of highly processed foods, which greatly contribute to fat accumulation inside the liver.
A way to treat this condition is to increase the intake of high-fiber plants such as common beans. With their high protein and fiber composition, they preserve and promote a healthy liver by inhibiting the accumulation of fat in it.
4. Rich Source of Folate
Folate is a type of vitamin B, which is important for numerous bodily functions such as producing red and white blood cells in bone marrow, converting carbohydrates into energy, and making DNA, RNA, and other genetic materials. It also promotes cell division.
Common beans are a rich source of folate. It is advised to consume them, especially during periods of rapid growth like pregnancy, adolescence, and infancy, to facilitate healthy growth and development.
5. Help Prevent Obesity
Consuming common beans is associated with consistent weight loss. A study was conducted to learn about this, and it found that they have a specific anti-obesogenic activity that inhibits lipid accumulation and visceral fat deposits.
It was noted that obese people who consumed increased proportions of beans as a part of their daily diet exhibited improved weight control. One reason for this effect is assumed that since they are rich in protein and fiber when you eat beans, you feel satiated and fuller more quickly with a lower calorie intake.
6. Keep Your Heart Healthy
As we have already established above, common beans help maintain lower cholesterol levels. They are known to be very effective in keeping coronary heart disease at bay. Wondering how? By preventing the bad cholesterol LDL from accumulating inside your body.
A study shows that they not only lower blood pressure, but a serving of common beans consumed daily also lowers the LDL level by 5%. With a lower cholesterol level, the risk of heart disease is significantly reduced. Hence common beans also help keep your heart in its healthy beating state.
7. Boost Immunity
Common beans are an excellent yet very affordable source of protein. Protein plays an important role in building cells. Without it, even the most basic cellular functions cannot take place. Since the immune system is also composed of cells, it also requires adequate protein to function effectively. They are also rich in folate, which helps in generating new immune cells.
Vegetarians and non-vegetarians can both step up their immunity by adding a portion of common beans to their daily diet. They boost immunity, prevent diseases, and promote health.
8. May Help Prevent Cancer
Time and again, research has proven that consuming common beans regularly reduces the risk of certain types of cancer. Breast cancer, colorectal cancer, and prostate cancer are the most common cancers that may be prevented by the consumption of common beans. It was found that beans contain antioxidants that are effective in neutralizing free radicals that may lead to the development of cancer.
A study on twelve different common beans found them rich in multiple anti-cancer compounds. These include chlorogenic acid, kaempferol, gallic acid, epicatechin, formononetin, caffeic acid, and myricetin. It was also observed that they restrict the growth of the cells causing breast and colorectal cancers.
9. Source of Fiber
Common beans are a high-fiber food. Fiber is basically a plant derivative carbohydrate that is composed of indigestible compounds. They remain unchanged after passing through our gut and facilitate digestion by keeping the bowel movement regular and soft. It acts as a fuel for colon cells, which keeps them healthy.
People who have diabetes can especially rely on common beans for controlling their condition and keeping the blood glucose level in their bodies within limits. They are also beneficial for individuals who are prone to chronic constipation.
10. Controls Appetite
Although beans have gathered a bad reputation for making people gassy, they are actually better for your health and overall wellbeing. According to research published in the Food and Nutrition Research, beans are better at satisfying hunger than meat or other food. They are truly the golden food that not only fills you up faster but also manages to keep hunger pangs at bay for much longer.
If you are a weight-conscious person who wants to keep your appetite in check, you can blindly trust these little legumes to keep those extra pounds off you.
How to Incorporate Beans in Your Diet
Now that you are well aware of the various health benefits that beans offer, it is time to learn how to improve your diet by incorporating beans into it. Following are some of the most delicious and easiest ways to opt for a wholesome diet for a healthy body:
1. Add Beans to Your Eggs
If you are a breakfast person, this is one of the most delicious and effortless ways to include beans in your daily diet. Mexican eggs can be prepared within minutes and keep you satiated for a long time. All you have to do is sauté some chopped tomatoes, red peppers, and onions in a tad bit of oil. Add eggs after the veggies are sautéed.
Once the eggs are done, open up a can of black or kidney beans and mix them until your eggs are cooked just as you desire. To add more flavor to the eggs, generously top with cheese and enjoy it with tortillas and salsa.
2. Bean Dips
We all know how delicious ranch dressing is; however, if you whip up a bean hummus or dip, you can enjoy a hearty meal without worrying about your health.
3. Roasted Chickpeas
Another tasty way to consume beans in your diet is to roast chickpeas. The key is to rub off the chickpea skin and ensure that the beans are properly dried before roasting them.
Use a small amount of oil and add some spices and chickpeas. You have to roast them at about 400 degrees for half an hour while turning them only once.
4. Beans as Side Dishes
Potatoes and rice are the most popular side dishes complementing every meat cuisine. However, if you make a seasoned side dish prepared with black beans, you can experience an instant rise in the dish’s flavor. You can add garlic, olive oil, and cumin to the boiled black beans and instantly make the yummiest side dish ever.
After reading all these amazing health benefits, anyone can realize how important common beans are for our health. From supplying fiber to preventing cancer, consuming a portion of these beans daily will keep you away from every health condition.
In contrast to meat, beans are certainly a more affordable and satisfying source of protein. With the added benefits of fiber and other healthy minerals, they can be consumed by both vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike. You can eat them as snacks or as a part of your meal whether you prefer pork and beans or are partial towards navy bean soup. In short, you can never go wrong with a little or a lot of beans on your plate.
Fun Fact: Every year, on the 3rd of July, a “live healthy holiday” named National Eat Your Beans Day is observed. Regardless of their shape or size, all beans are celebrated on this day as an important part of our daily diet.