Black beans are about the size of a pea, up to 1/2-inch long, with the slightly less pronounced boat shape common to kidney beans. They have satiny black skin and a white centre. Black beans are enjoyed by many cultures around the world and are packed with flavour.
Black beans have been a staple of North American diets for at least 7,000 years. Known as Phaseolus vulgaris in scientific circles, they’re also called “turtle beans” in English and frijoles negros in Spanish.
Black beans have a satisfying texture and mildly sweet flavor. They’re also incredibly healthy, providing multiple vital nutrients with minimal fat and sugar.
The United Nations even declared 2016 the International Year of Pulses, a.k.a. the dry, edible seed of beans, lentils, chickpeas, and peas. Ever since, we’ve seen a major takeover in beans as a main ingredient in recipes, especially since they can replace less-nutritious refined grains. Here’s everything you need to know about these health-boosting powerhouses.
The numbers (aka nutrition stats) of black beans:
This is for one cup of black beans
14.5 g protein
0.7 g fat
40 g carbohydrates
1 g sugar
16.6 g fiber
5 mg iron (28% DV)
84 mg magnesium (27%)
259 mg phosphorus (37%)
739 mg potassium (16%)
331 mg sodium (22%)
1.3 mg zinc (16%)
0.4 mg thiamin (33%)
0.3 mg riboflavin (27%)
146 µg folate (36%)
The antioxidants, fibre, protein, and carbohydrates in black beans make them nutritionally powerful. A diet rich in beans can reduce your risk of several serious medical conditions and help your body process calories more effectively.
Unlike many other foods that are high in carbohydrates, black beans don’t cause a spike in blood sugar.
Studies have actually found the opposite. When people eat black beans with rice, their blood sugar levels tend to be lower than if they only ate rice. For people with diabetes, adding beans to a healthy diet can improve blood sugar control while reducing heart disease risk. Black beans may also help reduce the spike in blood sugar that occurs after eating a meal, which may help reduce the risk of diabetes and weight gain.
This beneficial effect is because black beans have a lower glycemic index compared to many other high-carbohydrate foods. This means they cause a smaller rise in blood sugar after a meal.
A couple of studies have shown that if people eat black beans with rice, the beans can reduce this rise in blood sugar compared to when people eat rice alone. Black beans also cause a lower blood sugar rise than bread
Research has shown that a diet rich in beans may help to reduce your risk of certain cancers, including those of the stomach, kidney, and colon. Early studies on animals show that beans might also help to fight the growth of breast cancer tumours, but more studies on humans are needed.
The antioxidants in black beans can help to protect your eyes against age-related macular degeneration and cataracts. A major research project by the National Eye Institute showed that when people at high risk of advanced macular degeneration took high doses of antioxidants, their risk of the condition decreased by 25%. Antioxidants also reduced vision loss in the same high-risk group by 19%.
Packed with protein
One of the best qualities of black beans is their very high protein content. Protein is important for our whole body, from supporting healthy muscles and other tissues to helping maintain healthy skin, hair and nails.
As black beans are plant-based, you get all the veggie benefits as well as the protein – a double nutrition whammy, if you like!
Supports healthy bones
Magnesium is one of the most important minerals we can consume. It plays a part in over 300 enzymatic actions in the body, including our metabolism. It’s also essential for maintaining healthy bones, and black beans can certainly help you get your fill.
In one study, a group of obese men who ate mostly beans and other legumes lost more weight and had larger decreases in “bad” cholesterol compared to men following other types of diets.
Scientists believe that these effects come from beans’ high levels of protein, fiber, and slow-digesting carbohydrates. These can all help your body to feel fuller for longer and absorb nutrients better.
Boost heart health with black beans
The very same fibre that makes black beans a good choice for weight loss also has a positive impact on your heart health. Black beans have been found to lessen some of the key factors that increase your risk for heart disease.
Studies show that eating beans can lower the total amount of cholesterol and levels of “bad” cholesterol in your blood. This may reduce your risk of developing heart disease. One study showed that eating a single serving of dried beans per day can reduce the risk of heart attack by up to 38%
Eating fibre-rich black beans has been shown to help lower high cholesterol levels. Specifically, these beans can lower both your total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol, or your “bad” cholesterol. This can decrease your risk for plaque buildup in your arteries, which can ultimately lead to blockages – and dangerous concerns like heart attacks and strokes.
Your gut health improves with black beans
Here’s yet another advantage that comes from black beans’ fibre: better gut health.
Black beans don’t contain just any kind of fibre. They provide resistant starch, a dietary fibre that doesn’t break down when it moves through the digestive system. Instead, it stays whole. As your gut tries to break down that resistant starch, your gut microbiota create short-chain fatty acids – kickstarting the fermentation process. Overall, this fermentation process can help you achieve better gut health with a good balance of “good” gut bacteria. It can also help reduce your body fat, playing a role in weight loss.
A quick summery of all they can offer:
- Less constipation and bloating: The fiber helps you stay regular.
- Lower “bad” cholesterol levels: Eating adequate fiber (at least 25 to 35 grams per day) can help decrease LDL cholesterol levels and reduce your risk of heart disease.
- Protection for your bones: The magnesium in black beans plays a role in over 300 enzymatic reactions in the body including metabolism, and it’s key for bone health as well.
- Healthier blood pressure levels: The potassium in black beans can help improve your numbers.
- A good source of protein
- Safe and encouraged for diabetics
- Can encourage weight loss
- Full of antioxidants to fight nasty diseases and illnesses in your body
- Black Bean meal ideas:
- Baked Chipotle-Black Bean Taquitos
- Shrimp and Black Bean Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette
- Roasted Garlic and Black Bean Crostini.
- Black Bean Dip.
- Black Bean Tostadas.
- Roasted Black Beans.
- Spicy Black Bean and Mango Salsa
- Mediterranean Black Bean Crostini
- And last but not least burritos, are the most popular and yummy choice available!
You can find organic and yummy black beans in our online shop where we offer Spanish ingredients full of nutrients and beautiful flavours! Find them (and more) here: https://sibarita.co.uk/product/dried-black-kidney-beans-500g/