Everything you need to know about black beans

Black beans are classified as legumes. Also known as turtle beans because of their hard, shell-like appearance, black beans are, in fact, the edible seeds of the plant.

Like other legumes, such as peanuts, peas, and lentils, black beans are prized for their high protein and fiber content. They also contain several other key vitamins and minerals that are known to benefit human health.

This MNT Knowledge Center feature is part of a collection of articles on the health benefits of popular foods.

It provides a nutritional profile of the black bean and an in-depth look at its possible health benefits, how to incorporate black beans into your diet, and any potential health risks of consuming black beans.

Fast facts on black beansHere are some key points about black beans. More detail and supporting information is in the main article.

  • Among other benefits, black beans may help strengthen bones.
  • Black beans contain quercetin and saponins which can protect the heart.
  • Black beans contain around 114 kilocalories per half-cup.

Benefits

The potential health benefits of black beans include:

1) Maintaining healthy bones

black beans

Black beans are high in protein and fiber.

The iron, phosphorus, calciummagnesium, manganese, copper, and zinc in black beans all contribute to building and maintaining bone structure and strength.

Calcium and phosphorus are important in bone structure, while iron and zinc play crucial roles in maintaining the strength and elasticity of bones and joints.

Roughly 99 percent of the body’s calcium supply, 60 percent of its magnesium, and 80 percent of its phosphorus stores are contained in bone. This means it is extremely important to get enough of these nutrients from the diet.

2) Lowering blood pressure

Maintaining a low sodium intake is essential for keeping blood pressure at a normal level. Black beans are naturally low in sodium and contain potassium, calcium, and magnesium, all of which have been found to decrease blood pressure naturally.

Be sure to purchase low sodium canned options and still drain and rinse to further reduce sodium content.

3) Managing diabetes

Studies have shown that individuals with type 1 diabetes who consume high-fiber diets have lower blood glucose levels. Additionally, people with type 2 diabetes may have improved blood sugar, lipids, and insulin levels. One cup, or 172 grams (g), of cooked black beans contributes 15 g of fiber.

The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends 25 g of fiber per day based on a 2,000-calorie diet. This may vary depending on overall intake of calories.

4) Warding off heart disease

The fiber, potassium, folate, vitamin B6, and phytonutrient content of black beans, coupled with its lack of cholesterol, all support heart health. This fiber helps lower the total amount of cholesterol in the blood and decrease the risk of heart disease.

Vitamin B6 and folate prevent the buildup of a compound known as homocysteine. When excessive amounts of homocysteine accumulate in the body, it can damage blood vessels and lead to heart problems.

The quercetin and saponins found in black beans also aid in cardioprotection. Quercetin is a natural anti-inflammatory that appears to reduce the risk of atherosclerosis and protect against the damage caused by low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol.

Research also indicates that saponins help lower blood lipid and blood cholesterol levels, which prevents damage to the heart and blood vessels.

5) Preventing cancer

Selenium is a mineral that is not present in most fruits and vegetables but can be found in black beans. It plays a role in liver enzyme function and helps detoxify some cancer-causing compounds in the body. Additionally, selenium may prevent inflammation and decreases tumor growth rates.

Saponins prevent cancer cells from multiplying and spreading throughout the body.

Fiber intakes from fruits and vegetables like black beans are associated with a lowered risk of colorectal cancer.

Black beans are high in folate, which plays a role in DNA synthesis and repair, thus preventing the formation of cancer cells from mutations in the DNA.

6) Healthy digestion

Because of their fiber content, black beans help to prevent constipation and promote regularity for a healthy digestive tract. They also provide fuel for the healthy bacteria in the colon.

7) Weight loss

Dietary fiber is commonly recognized as an important factor in weight loss and weight management by functioning as a “bulking agent” in the digestive system. High fiber foods increase the sense of fullness after eating and reduce appetite, making an individual feel fuller for longer, thereby lowering overall calorie intake.

Many studies have suggested that increasing consumption of plant foods like black beans decreases the risk of obesitydiabetes, heart disease, and overall mortality while promoting a healthy complexion and hair, increased energy, and overall lower weight.

Nutrition

According to the National Nutrient Database one-half cup (86g) of cooked black beans contains approximately:

  • Energy: 114 kilocalories
  • Protein: 7.62 g
  • Fat: 0.46 g
  • Carbohydrate: 20.39 g
  • Fiber: 7.5 g
  • Sugars: 0.28 g
  • Calcium: 23 milligrams (mg)
  • Iron: 1.81 mg
  • Magnesium: 60 mg
  • Phosphorus: 120 mg
  • Potassium: 305 mg
  • Sodium: 1 mg
  • Zinc: 0.96 mg
  • Thiamin: 0.21 mg
  • Niacin: 0.434 mg
  • Folate: 128 mg
  • Vitamin K: 2.8 mg

Black beans also offer a variety of phytonutrients like saponins, anthocyanins, kaempferol, and quercetin, all of which possess antioxidant properties.

As with many beans and legumes, black beans contain starch, a form of complex carbohydrate. Starch acts as a “slow burn” energy store that is slowly digested by the body, preventing a spike in blood sugar levels.

Diet

Black beans are available year-round and are often found in grocery stores either dried and packaged or canned. They have a dense, almost meaty texture that makes them a popular source of protein in vegetarian dishes.

If you are using canned black beans, be sure to select those with no added sodium and to drain and rinse them.

When preparing dried black beans, it is important to sort them, picking out any small rocks or other debris that may have wound up in the package. Wash and soak them in water for at least 8 to 10 hours before cooking to achieve optimum flavor and texture.

You can tell they are finished soaking when you can split them easily between your fingers. Soaking dried legumes reduces the amount of time needed to cook them, and also helps remove some of the oligosaccharides that cause gastrointestinal distress. Soaking beans for longer periods can help to reduce phytates, which may reduce mineral absorption.

Quick tips:

black bean tacos

Mix black beans with vegetables, cheese, and salsa to create a delicious taco salad.

  • Make a hearty black bean soup by blending cooked black beans with onions, tomatoes, and your favorite spices
  • Add black beans to burritos
  • Blend cooked black beans with garlic, onion, fresh cilantro, and lime juice for a quick and easy bean dip
  • Mix black beans, onions, lettuce, tomatoes, avocado, sharp cheddar cheese, and salsa together for a simple taco salad

Try these healthy recipes using black beans:

Risks

Legumes contain oligosaccharides known as galactans – complex sugars that the body cannot digest because it lacks the necessary enzyme – alpha-galactosidase.

Because of this, eating legumes, including black beans, is known to cause some people intestinal gas and discomfort.

If you experience these symptoms associated with legume intake, you may consider slowly introducing them into your diet. Another option is to soak beans longer, opt for sprouted beans, or drain the water used to soak dried legumes. This removes two oligosaccharides, raffinose, and stachyose, and eliminates some of the digestive issues.

It is the total overall eating pattern that is most important in preventing disease and attaining good health. It is better to eat a diet with a variety than to concentrate on individual foods as the key to good health.

Organic Black Beans is available to purchase at SFMart.com

This article is originally posted on Medical News Today

15 High-Protein Bean Recipes to Celebrate #NationalBeanDay!

Protein is a popular topic in the plant-based world. To celebrate National Bean Day, we put together 15 high-protein bean dishes for you to try! We even snuck a healthy and delicious dessert in there! Beans are great because their flavor is easily masked by the other ingredients. They also store nicely (either dry or canned) to be used all year long! We have spicy, sweet, savory, meaty, and even salty bean dishes to fit anyone’s taste buds!

Hope you enjoy some of our favorite, high-protein bean dishes from the Food Monster App!

1. Hearty High-Protein Lentil, Kidney Bean, and Chickpea ChiliVegan 3 bean kidney beans, lentils, and chickpea chili

Loaded with lentils, kidney beans, and chickpeas, this chili is low in fat while being very high in pure plant-based protein! This Hearty High-Protein Lentil, Kidney Bean, and Chickpea Chili will help to keep you fuller longer and less inclined to grab at that bag of potato chips later on in the evening.

2. Black-Eyed Pea and Leek Sausages Vegan Black-Eyed Pea and Leek Sausages with peppers

Infused with an abundance of spices and aromatic leeks, these Black-Eyed Pea and Leek Sausages are best served with a plate of vegetables and a side of sauerkraut or with pasta. They’re a cinch to make, too! Wheat protein flour gives them a delightfully meaty texture that’s reminiscent of classic sausages.

3. Ayurvedic Spinach-Mung Detox Soup Ayurvedic Spinach-Mung Detox Soup

We all know how stress can take the life out of us! This is the time to slow down, take time to rest, enjoy nature, and savor warm, soothing soups… like this Ayurvedic Spinach-Mung Detox Soup! The combination of mung beans and spinach makes this dish not only protein-rich but also a nutritiously dense, balanced meal. When we eat according to our body constitution and in tune with the changing seasons, the natural outcome is detoxification and feeling healthier.

4. White Bean and Pumpkin Veggie Burgers

Nothing beats a good ol’ veggie burger, especially when it can be made easily at home and is loaded up with nothing but the BEST ingredients. Not only that, but these White Bean and Pumpkin Veggie Burgers are perfect for autumn, filling, healthy, and just plain adorable. The burgers are also healthy, easy to make, jam-packed with flavor, and will satisfy anyone’s taste buds, vegan or not.

5. Colombian Black Bean Stew colombian black bean stew

Not only is this Colombian Black Bean Stew super easy to make and utterly delicious, but it’s also extremely healthy, full of plant-based protein and fiber. It’s proof that healthy plant-based food does not need to be complicated or expensive. It uses inexpensive foods like black beans, onion, and garlic to make a hearty meal, especially when served with a side of grains and topped with sliced avocado.

6. White Bean Croutons Vegan Gluten-Free White Bean Croutons over salad

Whether you want to eat more beans or if you’re looking for gluten-free or healthier ”croutons ” then this White Bean Croutons recipe is for you! Some beans are delicious if they are a bit smaller and a bit more crispy (not undercooked!), but the larger beans such as giant white beans are really delicious if you overcook them so they fall apart. It’s such comfort food and also so satiating because of the fibers. Delicious!

7. Veggie Protein BurritosVegan Gluten-Free Veggie Protein Burritos cut in half

These protein-packed  Veggie Protein Burritos are the perfect make-and-freeze meal for quick, convenient lunches and dinners. They’re stuffed with quinoa and black beans, plus you can boost the protein content by throwing in tofu or meatless crumbles, so you can customize them to your favorite plant-based proteins.

8. Celery, Mushroom, and White Bean StewVegan Grain-Free Celery, Mushroom, and White Bean Stew with lemon wedge

If you’re craving a good, hearty stew, you can’t go wrong with this one! White beans, celery, and savory mushrooms are simmered in a tomato-based broth. This Celery, Mushroom, and White Bean Stew tastes even better the next day, once the flavors have had more time to marry.

9. Sweet Potato Black Bean Breakfast Hash Vegan Gluten-Free Sweet Potato Black Bean Breakfast Hash Topped with Avocado

This hearty Sweet Potato Black Bean Breakfast Hash packs your meal with flavor and a load of simple, whole food ingredients. Tender sweet potatoes and black beans are cooked with aromatic garlic and onion and seasoned with smoky paprika and cumin. Serve with avocado or a side of toast!

10. Pressure Cooker Hoppin’ John Vegan Gluten-Free Pressure Cooker Hoppin’ John with garnish

A Southern classic, made vegan! This easy, meat-free Pressure Cooker Hoppin’ John is the perfect dish to throw together whether you’re pressed for time or seeking a filling, budget-friendly meal. Black-eyed peas, wild rice, and tomatoes are stewed together in a pressure cooker for fast cooking. If you don’t have a pressure cooker, fear not! You can make this recipe on the stovetop as well.

11. Black Bean S’mores Brownies Vegan Grain-Free Black Bean S’mores Brownies with marshmallow topping

Utilizing black beans in brownie recipes is amazing because they are accessible, affordable, packed with protein, easy to use and create the perfect, buttery soft texture! These protein-packed Black Bean S’mores Brownies combine two of your all-time favorite sweets: fudgy brownies and ooey gooey s’mores. If you are in the mood for an indulgent treat that really isn’t that bad for you, whip up a batch of these brownies.

12. Bean and Vegetable Loaf Vegan Bean and Vegetable Loaf with tomatoes and spinach

Beans are the perfect base for a vegan take on the classic meatloaf. They provide all the protein, umami flavor, and dense texture that you expect from a meatloaf but are packed with fiber and are much healthier! This Bean and Vegetable Loaf is the perfect combination of meaty, savory, and filling!

13. Wild Rice and Beet Salad with Muhammara Bean Purée Vegan Gluten-Free Wild Rice and Beet Salad with Muhammara Bean Purée

This Muhammara is a roasted pepper based purée that is simple, seasonal, and so delicious to pair with the beet and rice salad. Traditionally, it is a Syrian roasted pepper, walnut, and pomegranate relish/dip for bread or meat but of course, we left all of that out in order to let its flavors truly shine.

14. Hearty Black Bean Soup Vegan Grain-Free Hearty Black Bean Soup with cream topping

This is a savory and Hearty Black Bean Soup that is chock full of black beans and is perfect on a cold wintery day. To give it a rich and smoky taste without bacon, this recipe includes some sun-dried tomatoes and grated smoked tofu. And if you don’t care for tofu, don’t worry; you only taste the smokiness, not the tofu.

15. Charred Corn and Black Bean Stuffed Sweet Potatoes Charred Corn and Black Bean Stuffed Sweet Potatoes [Vegan, Gluten-Free]

Forget pizza and take-out, Charred Corn and Black Bean Stuffed Sweet Potatoes are now the ultimate feel-good dish! Top it up with some hearty black beans, some deliciously charred corn, and the perfect garlic-y tahini and you’ve got yourself a meal to cure any heartache! The beans give it a certain rich and earthy meatiness which pairs perfectly with the sweetness of the potato and the corn. Together with the velvety tahini sauce, you’ve got something that is completely addictive and absolutely good for you!

For more high-protein recipes, we suggest downloading the Food Monster App, which is available for both Android and iPhone, and can also be found on Instagram and Facebook. The app has more than 10,000 plant-based, allergy-friendly recipes, and subscribers gain access to new recipes every day. Check it out!

Lead image source: Colombian Black Bean Stew

Organic Beans is available to purchase at SFMart.com

This article is originally posted on One Green Planet

15 Amazing Health Benefits of Barley Tea

Barley tea benefits

Only second to water, tea is the most consumed beverage on the planet. In fact, people have been drinking tea since ancient times to combat illness and disease; barley tea is no exception. While the taste and aroma draw attention, it is the barley tea benefits that have people turning to a cup of the tea.

Made from the cereal grain barley, barley tea has been found for centuries in homes and shops in Asia, and in more recent years, in the western hemisphere. It is also used in North America as a caffeine-free substitute for coffee. In Japan, mugicha is normally served as a cool drink whereas, in China, maicha is served warm in the summer and cool in the winter. Korea also serves it year-round and is known as boricha. The caffeine-free barley tea can surely benefit when used as a substitute for coffee.

 15 Health Benefits of Barley Tea 

Barley tea benefits are innumerable. Here are listed few of the barley tea benefits:

1. Cancer Prevention

The barley grain contains phytonutrients that may help prevent certain types of cancers.

2. Helps With Blood Circulation

It regulates blood sugar levels by cleansing the blood for a better flow throughout the body. Good circulation of the bloodstream is key to good health.

3. Helps With Congestion

Barley itself helps with congestion and phlegm brought on by colds, asthma, and bronchitis with its cleansing power.

4. Treats Constipation

It can treat constipation and keep bowel movements regular as it detoxifies the intestines.

5. Proper Digestion

The tea works as a digestive aid, resulting in complete digestion by reducing acidity, gas, and bloating.

6. Rich in Anti-oxidants

Barley is filled with anti-oxidants; it treats fever symptoms and helps to prevent infections.

7. Reduces Inflammation

It can help reduce inflammation and treat cardiovascular problems.

8. Eases Nauseatic feeling

Barley tea eases the feeling of nausea and helps lessen migraines and tension headaches.

9. Anti-bacterial Properties

It works as an antibacterial in the mouth to fight tooth decay and other oral health issues.

10. Stomach Cleansing

With its bacterial-fighting agents, barley treats bacterial infections in the stomach.

11. Reduces Stress

It eases stress, tension, and anxiety by relaxing the brain muscles.

12. Helps With Sleep

Warm barley tea encourages better sleep patterns with its components of amino acids, tryptophan, and melatonin. The fact that it is caffeine-free helps many as well.

13. Helps in Keeping Prostate Healthy

Barley contains selenium, which helps in the male reproduction role and helps to maintain a healthy prostate.

14. Induces Weight Loss

The effects of some of these health benefits of barley tea can also be used to promote weight loss.

15. Detox

Barley tea benefits further extend to aiding digestion issues, easing stress, and detoxifying the body, some people may see their weight decrease.

These issues, as well as sleep deviation, have been known to cause people to gain weight. Barley tea reverses these potential problems. In addition, a cup of barley tea has no sugar.

Uses of Barley

As one of the top grains produced today, barley is used for more than just cereal and processing beer. Barley is also known to be used to treat boils when applied directly to the skin.

Roasted Barley Tea Benefits

When consumed as roasted barley tea, the barley tea can be beneficial to treat a wide variety of common ailments. Although there is more scientific research to be done on how and why certain treatments occur, barley does have vitamins and minerals such as fiber, magnesium, vitamin B1, and vitamin B3.

In fact, the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published findings on a study that the fiber in barley helped with lowering cholesterol levels in a group of men and women, all of who had been diagnosed with high cholesterol.

Who Should Avoid Barley Tea?

Though barley tea is beneficial, it can also cause health issues for some people such as those with gluten sensitivity or celiac disease.

Diabetics should monitor their blood sugar levels very closely and refer to their physician in regards to their medications, as barley may lower their blood sugar levels. Furthermore, those undergoing surgery may want to stop consuming barley at least two weeks before their surgery date to avoid issues with blood levels during the procedure.

Make Barley Tea at Home

To reap the barley tea benefits to the fullest, you can sip a homemade barley tea.

To make your own barley tea, place two to three tablespoons of the grain in four cups of boiling water. Leave the mixture to simmer for approximately 10 minutes before straining the kernels. If you wish to drink it cold, place the mixture in the fridge to chill or combine the grain kernels in a pitcher of cold water to soak overnight.

Sources:
Motoya Ikeguchi, Masahito Tsubata, Akira Takano, et al., “Effects of Young Barley Leaf Powder on Gastrointestinal Functions in Rats and Its Efficacy-Related Physicochemical Properties,” Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, vol. 2014, Article ID 974840, 7 pages, 2014. doi:10.1155/2014/974840

Organic Teas is available to purchase at SFMart.com

This article is originally posted on Food For Better Health