Nutritional Information for Black Beans
Beans are a staple food around the world; it’s very likely there will be a traditional dish that contains legumes. They tend to be an underrated food in the United States and other higher socioeconomic status (rich) countries. They are an economically affordable protein choice that are versatile in nearly any style of dish. It’s easy to swap out or use less meat and add in beans in a number of dishes, sandwiches, soups, and pasta dishes.
Pulses have been shown to play a role in modest weight loss— even without restricting calories! It’s likely due to the nutrient-density of beans. They are high in both fiber and protein, helping to increase feelings of fullness and lowering blood sugar levels even hours after they have been eaten. The role beans play in shaping the gut bacteria are also another piece of research being explored— from what we know, they do our gut bacteria good.
Benefits of Black Beans
Cancer Prevention Benefits
The American Institute for Cancer Research ranks beans high on the list as a food that helps fight cancer. “The active ingredients in beans that scientists believe may play a role in cancer prevention include: saponins, protease inhibitors and phytic acid.” We talk about protease inhibitors in chickpeas, too. Phytic acid often gets a bad reputation for blocking nutrient absorption, which is partly true, yet many do not realize its role in cancer prevention. “Phytic acid has shown the ability to significantly slow the progression of tumors.”
Those eating more legumes have been found at lower risk for cancers of the stomach, colon, rectum, kidneys, and throat. Although some studies have not found a direct association with eating beans and reducing prostate cancer, others have found an association when looking at man eating plant-based diets that include beans. Studies show men obtaining more of their protein from plant-based sources may have a lower risk of developing prostate cancer. Men with prostate cancer eating more protein from plant sources have a better chance of reducing cancer progression, compared with men eating more protein from animal sources. Additionally, excess weight is a major risk factor for prostate cancer. Beans are low in fat and high in fiber making them a great food choice to help men lower body weight.
Men's Health Benefits
Eating more beans may help reduce the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Dr. Dean Ornish published a landmark study in 1990 showing how a plant-based diet could actually reverse heart disease. In his trial, 82% of patients had a regression in artery blockage. He used a low-fat, plant-based diet including moderate exercise, smoking cessation and stress management. Other trials with similar design have showed similar results. It’s becoming widespread knowledge that plant-based diets are perhaps the best kind of diet to help prevent a heart attack.
Beans have been identified as a food staple in many cultures, used for their ability to help reduce chronic disease risk and overall mortality risk.
Ways to Use Black Beans
+ Make black bean soup by blending the beans to make a broth.
+ Add black beans to chili or other soups.
+ Prepare black beans into hummus and use as a veggie dip or a sandwich spread.
+ Toss black beans into green leafy salads or vegetable stir fries.
+ Black beans are excellent in burritos, enchiladas, or mexican-style salads.
+ Make homemade black bean burgers.
+ Prepare with whole grains (e.g. brown rice or quinoa) or starchy vegetables (e.g. sweet potatoes or butternut squash).
Resources for Black Beans
USDA Nutrient Database: Black Beans
American Institute for Cancer Research: www.aicr.org
“Foods that Fight Cancer” from AICR: Dry Beans and Peas
Nutrition Facts: www.NutritionFacts.org
Physicians Committee: www.pcrm.org
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