Beans are a versatile, healthy and affordable type of seeds which are high in fiber, antioxidants, iron, B vitamins, copper, zinc, potassium and most importantly, protein. Not to mention they contain very little fat.
As you get older, your body needs fewer calories and beans are an awesome way of boosting the nutritional value of your meals without increasing your calorie intake. One-half cup of beans only has about 100 calories. To top it off, beans are hearty foods that help you feel fuller after consuming them which means you tend to eat less.
There is a wide variety of beans and most of them need to be cooked to be safe for consumption. In Nigeria, we have black beans, soybeans, red beans, ‘ewa oloyin’ and so on.
So what can beans really do for you? We’ll be taking a look at the surprising health benefits of beans that you might not have been aware of.
EXCELLENT SOURCE OF PROTEINS
Proteins are vital nutrients required by the body and they play an important role in almost every function in the body. Beans contain a vast amount of amino acids, which are the building blocks of proteins.
Normally there are two categories of protein sources: the incomplete and the complete. Complete sources are those that contain all the nine essential amino acids that the body needs and are usually found in many animal products, quinoa, and soy. Now, of all the kinds of beans that you eat, it is only the soybeans that are complete.
For the incomplete sources, you can easily combine them with seeds, dairy, grains or nuts in one meal or spread them across different meals throughout your day, so that the amino acids are complete.
For example, you can combine beans with rice for breakfast or lunch then munch on some almonds before or after your dinner so that you ensure that you get the complete proteins.
Beans are especially good for those that are vegetarians and are lower in saturated fat and calories than most other sources of protein like dairy products.
PACKED WITH NUTRIENTS
Beans are packed with various nutrients that are beneficial for the body. One such nutrient is folate. This nutrient helps to prevent neural tube defects in babies during pregnancies so pregnant women can benefit greatly from eating beans.
When beans are dried, they contain almost double the amount of folate as compared to canned beans so it’s always better to cook the dry beans. But then again, canned beans still possess more folate content than many other foods, so the choice is yours.HEALTH BENEFITS OF BEANS
Maybe you are thinking, “Okay folate is great, but only pregnant women benefit from it. What about non-pregnant women and men?”
Let me tell you what happens when a regular person doesn’t get enough folate. You’ll experience weakness, fatigue, appetite loss, heart palpitations and you might become irritable. Of course, these symptoms could spell other underlying conditions so don’t forget to have yourself checked out, but try adding some more beans to your diet.
Maybe all you really needed was some extra folate.
Another essential nutrient contained in beans is iron which is an essential mineral that helps your body to form red blood cells.
That’s right; beans contain natural antioxidants that are known as polyphenols. Antioxidants are compounds that fight the effects of free radicals in your body. Free radicals are chemicals that affect various processes in your body, from physical aging to inflammation and cancer.
By combating these free radicals, the antioxidant effects of the polyphenols in beans help to reduce your chances of getting sick.
IMPROVED HEART HEALTH
It’s been said that when a person eats more beans, they might be less likely to die of a stroke, heart attack or any other heart disease.
How, you ask?
Studies conducted as far back as 2013 found a clear connection between consuming beans and a lowered risk of heart diseases.
Other studies suggested that eating beans might reduce cholesterol levels which also translate to a reduced risk of heart attacks and heart diseases.HEALTH BENEFITS OF BEANS
GREAT FOR DIABETIC PEOPLE
It’s usually a struggle for diabetic people to find good foods to eat that don’t taste like crap and wouldn’t hike their blood sugar levels. Well here’s some good news for you, eating beans may help to stabilize your blood sugar levels. This is because beans have a high fiber content which also plays a role in reducing blood glucose levels.
A study in 2015 that was conducted in mice showed that a particular compound found in the leaves of the soybean plant had the potential to maintain healthy blood glucose levels in the body.
Soybeans also help your pancreatic cells to function properly. Since the pancreas is the organ that produces the insulin that regulates the blood sugar in your body, keeping it healthy helps to stabilize your diabetes as well.
So if you are diabetic and are stumped on what to eat, have some beans.
CONTROLS YOUR APPETITE AND AIDS WEIGHT LOSS
I’m sure many of you will be pleasantly surprised to know this. Yes, eating beans helps you to manage your weight. The high fiber and healthy starch contained in beans usually help to reduce food cravings.
You will feel fuller after eating beans which stops you from overeating during a meal and eating less between meals. And that is a very great help for those that are trying to lose weight.
PROMOTES A HEALTHY GUT
Studies show that many types of beans, most especially black beans have the additional benefit of promoting a healthy gut by improving your intestinal barrier function and increasing the number of healthy bacteria in your gut.
And when that happens, it prevents gut or intestinal related diseases.
It might take a bit of trial and error for you to find the beans that you like – some prefer the taste of soybeans to black beans – but beans make a really healthy addition to almost any meal of your choice. HEALTH BENEFITS OF BEANS