7 Important Benefits Of Black Beans

The health benefits of black beans include the prevention of cardiovascular diseases and a reduced risk of certain types of cancer. Consuming black beans can also aid in digestion and the regulation of the body’s blood sugar levels. Black beans can be beneficial for various nervous system functions, can reduce the chances of birth defects, neutralize the negative effects of sulfites, and even prevent impotence in men.

What are Black Beans?

Black turtle beans, more commonly known as black beans, are shiny, black members of the bean family Phaseolus vulgaris. [1] They are most commonly found in and have been popularized by Latin American cuisine, and are known by many names in various cultures throughout South and Central America. There are six main types of black turtle beans, with relatively similar appearances and nutritional values.

Although they have been cultivated and cooked for thousands of years in South America, black beans did not cross the Atlanticuntil the 1500s in the boats of European explorers.

The general form of black beans can be changed without losing the nutritional benefits, although some may be lost when they are made into soups or when ground up and exposed to high temperatures. The widespread growth and low cost are what initially made black beans a cultural staple in South America. However, as more information is being gained about the health benefits of black beans, more people are including them in their diet.

One popular preparation technique is to soak black beans in water before cooking or eating them. [2] Studies have shown that by allowing the beans to soak in water, certain phytates and tannins are removed, which lowers the nutrient availability, and the beans also retain beneficial resistant starch while losing some of the total carbohydrate content. In some parts of the world, beans are given an independent box in the Food Pyramid, because they are such a vital part of those cultural diets.

They are very popular among vegetarians because when they are combined with brown rice, a complete protein meal is formed. [3] A common problem in vegetarian diets is acquiring proper amounts of protein, so black beans and brown rice can be a simple and inexpensive solution.

Nutritional Value of Black Beans

Black beans are very high in fiber, protein, and vitamins like vitamin A. They also contain calciumiron, and manganese. Black beans also have high levels of flavonoids, particularly anthocyanin, which have antioxidant abilities. They also contain omega-3 fatty acid, which is considered a good form of cholesterol.

Black beans are a great source of folic acid and have abnormally high levels of the rare compound molybdenum, which is very difficult to find in any other food.

Health Benefits of Black Beans

Adding black beans to your diet will provide you with many nutrients and help prevent various health conditions. Let us look at the benefits in detail below:

Improve Heart Health

One of the best benefits of adding black beans to your daily or weekly diet is the high level of fiber that they contain. They have high concentrations of soluble fiber, which has been proven to help lower blood cholesterol levels. [4] Soluble fiber attracts water and turns into a gel during digestion, whereas insoluble fiber adds mass to food and helps it pass through the digestive system faster. Lowering blood cholesterol can reduce thickening of the artery walls, which in turn can prevent heart attacks and strokes.

Black beans also have small amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, which are good forms of cholesterol that balance the negative effects of omega-6 fatty acids, which are the bad form of cholesterol. [5] They have anti-hypertensive effects, which means that they can improve blood flow, lower blood pressure, and put less strain or oxidative stress on the cardiovascular system.

Prevent Cancer

Black beans have been shown to reduce the risk of certain types of cancers due to the flavonoids found in their seed coat. [6]There are eight different flavonoids that have been found in the seed coat, and three of them are anthocyanins. Flavonoids are basically color-producing phytonutrient pigments that function as antioxidants in the body to fight disease and free radicals.

Anthocyanins are great for preventing cancer. They can effectively inhibit blood vessel growth to cancerous tumors, slowing the growth of cancerous cells and increasing the speed of apoptosis (cell death) within cancer cells. The anthocyanins, along with all the other phytonutrients found on the seed coat, make black beans a very powerful weapon in the fight against cancer.

Relieve Digestive Issues

Black beans are great for treating digestive issues because they contain high levels of protein and fiber, making them a “superfood”. [7] Protein and fiber help food move through the digestive tract, allowing it to eliminate waste in a healthy way. They are also digested slower than meat, which has a similar protein content, so eating beans can leave you satisfied for longer.

Black beans are also smaller in size than other beans, because of which people find them easier to digest. Over time, with a regular addition of black beans to the diet, the soluble fiber content will absorb water into your stool, which can reduce constipation. [8]

Control Blood Sugar

Uneven digestive rates can cause unbalanced blood sugar levels in the body and black beans regulate this issue as well. [9] As mentioned above, the fiber and protein in black beans keep digestion at a steady rate, so concentrated doses of nutrient uptake do not occur. Rather, a steady absorption of nutrients occurs throughout the digestive process. When digestion is unsteady, spikes or crashes in blood sugar can occur, which are dangerous and even fatal to patients with diabetes or similar blood sugar-related conditions.blackbeansinfo

Treat Sexual Dysfunction

Studies have shown that black beans are extremely high in molybdenum, a rare mineral not found frequently in foods. Molybdenum is important for a number of reasons, primarily because it can break down and detoxify sulfites. [10] Sulfites are acidic compounds found in wines, dried fruits, and some vegetables, and many people are very sensitive to their effects, which include a headache and disorientation. The molybdenum found in black beans counteracts these effects, neutralizing the negative effects so people can enjoy those foods again. Molybdenum also helps in cell energy production and development of nervous system. [11]

Also, molybdenum has been shown to reduce impotence and erectile dysfunction in older men when regularly consumed. [12] This rare vitamin has regularly been linked to increased energy and interest in sexual activity in older men.

Boost Nervous System

Black beans can also improve the functioning of the nervous system by helping provide the necessary amino acids and molybdenum. [13] They contain high amounts of vitamin B9 or folate. Folate, also known as folic acid, plays a key part in the regulation of specific amino acids required by the nervous system. Studies have shown that the deficiency of dietary folate leads to an increase in homocysteine levels, which can be a dangerous precursor to neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. Regularly adding black beans to your diet can provide the necessary folate content to levels in your body and reduce the risk of such diseases.

Improve Pre-Natal Health

Another benefit of folate, which is found in such high levels within black beans, is its role in protecting infants in the womb. The folate levels in a woman’s body are integral to the normal and healthy development of the fetus, particularly its brain and spinalcord. [14] Thus, black beans are highly recommended for pregnant women.

Side Effects of Black Beans

Phytic Acid: Beans have natural seed coats that protect their nutritious contents from predators and insects while growing in nature. One of the components of that seed coat is phytic acid, which protects the seed from premature germination. [15] If the phytic acid is not removed from the bean before eating, it can bind to common minerals like calciummagnesium, and copper, preventing them from being absorbed as nutrients in the body. These unabsorbed minerals can build up and cause different conditions, from small irritations like digestive irritability to more serious issues like hormonal disruption and impaired brain function. Basically, cook your beans, and make sure they are soaked in water to neutralize the harmful effects of phytic acid!

Oligosaccharides: Black beans contain a complex sugar called oligosaccharides, and the human body does not produce any enzyme that would naturally break that sugar down. [2] Therefore, oligosaccharides ferment in the digestive system and begin to produce methane, which is released from the body in unpleasant ways. Again, soaking the beans in water and making sure that they are cooked can greatly reduce a number of oligosaccharides in the beans, along with reducing all of the other organicparts of beans that are difficult to digest.

Organic Rice, Grains & Beans is available to purchase at SFMart.com

This article is originally posted on Organic Facts

20 Delicious Ways to Eat Black Beans

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

You’ll almost never find our kitchens without a can or two of black beans stocked in the pantry. This versatile ingredient can be used in so many different ways. From soups and chilis to enchiladas and salads, the possibilities are seemingly endless. We chose our 20 favorite black bean recipes to get you started with something new.

1. Spicy Salmon Black Bean Salad

Hot smoked salmon is a salty, meaty counterpart to earthy black beans. This is a salad that can be tossed together in minutes and is equally satisfying for dinner as it is for lunch.

(Image credit: Maria Siriano)

2. Easy Roasted Vegetable Enchiladas

These lightened-up enchiladas are ones you can feel good about serving your family. They’re filled with black beans and roasted veggies and topped with a creamy cilantro-lime yogurt sauce.

(Image credit: Lauren Volo)

3. 10-Minute Black Bean Tacos

Dinner in 10 minutes sounds like just the kind of thing we can get behind on a busy weeknight. These rely on canned beans and a few store-bought condiments to come together fast.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

4. Cuban Black Bean Soup

To make this soup the right way, use dried black beans and let them soak overnight. You’ll also want to give it ample time to cook on the stove so, really, it makes a better weekend recipe. Finally, don’t skimp on the vinegar — it’s what gives the soup that little extra kick.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

5. Roasted Squash, Corn, and Black Bean Enchiladas

Start with pre-cut butternut squash to make these veggie-filled enchiladas much faster and easier to bring to the dinner table. You can also swap in store-bought enchilada sauce if you’d rather not bother with making your own.

(Image credit: Lauren Volo)

6. Loaded Black Bean Nachos

A couple of cans of black beans add protein to this sheet pan full of ooey, gooey nachos. Top everything with a couple dollops of Greek yogurt and you can feel good about eating chips for dinner.

(Image credit: Michaela Cisney)

7. Chilled Black Bean, Feta & Cucumber Salad

This is one of those salads that actually gets better with more time spent in the fridge to let the dressing work its magic. We recommend making a big batch over the weekend and enjoying it for lunches all week.

(Image credit: Nick Evans)

8. Crunchy Black Bean Tacos

These pan-fried tacos are made with soft tortillas and are somewhere between a taco and a quesadilla. You can fill them with anything you want; they are a great way to use up a small amount of leftovers.

(Image credit: Megan Gordon)

9. Black Bean, Sweet Potato, and Quinoa Chili

While the options for vegetarian chili recipes are nearly endless, we’re partial to this one with sweet potatoes (or you could substitute butternut squash) and quinoa. Just remember — you might have to add a bit more water at the end since the quinoa will soak it up.

(Image credit: Emma Christensen)

10. Slow Cooker Black Bean Enchiladas

Slow cooker enchiladas are a bit magical. They might not be the prettiest meal on the block, but they are one of the tastiest. Plus, they are easily adaptable, so you can basically clean out your fridge and end up with a mouth-watering meal.

(Image credit: Kimberley Hasselbrink)

11. Black Bean Burgers with Chipotle Ketchup

What really makes these veggie burgers stand out is the jazzed-up ketchup, which is sweet and smoky and dangerously addictive.

(Image credit: Emily Han)

12. Kale and Black Bean Tacos with Chimichurri

No, chimichurri wasn’t originally intended for vegan tacos, but the garlicky sauce adds a whole new dimension to these tasty tacos. Of course, the big chunks of avocado and sautéed kale don’t hurt either.

(Image credit: Kimberley Hasselbrink)

13. Baked Black Bean and Avocado Burritos

Somewhere between a burrito and an enchilada, these avocado and black bean delights reside. You can play around with additional fillings, like sautéed peppers or greens; make sure you taste-test the filling to get the spices to your liking.

(Image credit: Joanna Miller)

14. Vegetarian Black Bean Espresso Chili

It can be hard to get that rich, meaty taste in a vegetarian chili, but the addition of instant espresso powder adds a depth that most vegetarian chilis lack. Try making this version, or adding a little espresso powder to your own favorite chili recipe, to get the full effect.

(Image credit: Emma Christensen)

15. Southwestern Pizza with Black Beans and Corn

One of our favorite unexpected black bean recipes is this Southwestern pizza. In place of traditional red sauce is a black bean mash. The whole pizza gets topped with corn, peppers, and a healthy dollop of avocado cream.

(Image credit: Maria Siriano)

16. Smoky Sweet Potato & Black Bean Casserole

Smoked paprika, fire-roasted diced tomatoes, and smoked mozzarella all join forces here to create a comforting casserole that has serious depth of flavor.

(Image credit: Chungah Rhee)

17. Sheet Pan Sweet Potato & Black Bean Hash

This hearty hash is perfect for feeding a weekend brunch crowd. Everything cooks on one sheet pan, which means you can spend time drinking mimosas with your guests instead of standing over the stove.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

18. Slow Cooker Black Bean Chili

A bit of unsweetened cocoa power lends deep, rich flavor to this meatless chili. Let it cook slowly while you’re at work and you’ll be rewarded with a comforting meal as soon as you walk through the door.

(Image credit: Guy Ambrosino)

19. Black Beans and Plantains Breakfast Bowl

Make a big batch of these Cuban-style black beans ahead of time and when morning comes all you’ll need to do is fry up a plantain and some eggs while you reheat them.

(Image credit: Emma Christensen)

20. Freezer-Friendly Roasted Vegetable Burritos with Black Beans and Rice

These hearty burritos are a miracle meal when you discover them tucked away in the freezer for a quick lunch or dinner. They’ll keep well for up to 3 months, so it might be worth doubling the recipe if you have a large family.

Organic Rice, Grains & Beans is available to purchase at SFMart.com

This article is originally posted on The Kitchn

15 Wonderful Benefits Of Chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans)

Chickpeas or garbanzo beans are an excellent source of plant-based protein which helps prevent diabetes and aid in weight loss. The amazing benefits of chickpeas include the ability to improve digestion, prevent heart diseases, stabilize blood pressure levels, and lower the risk of genetic diseases and cancer. They also boost boneskin, and hair health.

What are Chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans)?

Chickpea or garbanzo bean is a famous legume also known as Ceci bean, Bengal gram or Egyptian pea, depending on where you’re eating them. These small, pale-brown beans have been cultivated for the better part of 7,000 years, making them the oldest and most popular legumes on the planet. [1]

Types of chickpeas: There are roughly 90 identified species of chickpea. Although the most common variants are pale-brown, black, green, and red chickpeas.

Chickpeas Nutrition Facts

Chickpeas or garbanzo beans are a powerhouse of nutrients, packed with plant-based protein, dietary fiber, and carbohydrates. [2] They are a rich source of antioxidants and minerals such as ironzincmagnesium, folate, and phosphorous. The nutty seeds also have a number of essential vitamins like thiamin, riboflavinniacinvitamin C, A, B6, B12, and vitamin K.

Health Benefits of Chickpeas

Let’s look at some of the health benefits of chickpeas:

Prevent Diabetes

Chickpeas have a high amount of soluble fiber which helps regulate blood sugar levels by optimizing digestion. [3] They can prevent the development of diabetes by ensuring normal levels of insulin and blood sugar and help people manage the condition.

Weight Loss

Garbanzo beans with their high density of nutrients, combined with the dietary fiber, are perfect for people trying to lose weight. [4] The fiber helps the body feel full for longer, by interacting with ghrelin, the hunger hormone, and inhibiting its release to some degree. The blend of nutrients and minerals also keeps the body energized and active, preventing fatigue and snacking between-meal. This makes chickpeas great for reducing overall caloric intake, because you simply don’t feel hungry, despite the 270 calories per cup of chickpeas.

Improve Digestion

The high levels of dietary fiber found in chickpeas can help to bulk up your stool. [5] This keeps your bowel movements regular while eliminating inflammation, cramping, bloating, and constipation. This can also improve absorption of nutrient digestion and ensure that you’re making the most of the nutritional value of your food.

Boost Heart Health

Our cardiovascular health gets a boost in two different ways from garbanzo beans. First, the high levels of soluble fiber help to balance cholesterol levels and aid in preventing atherosclerosis, heart attacks, and strokes. [6] Second, this legume can also reduce the amounts of LDL (bad) cholesterol in the blood. [7]Furthermore, the only fats that are found in garbanzo beans are omega-3 fatty acids, which are the beneficial polyunsaturated fats that help protect the heart and reduce inflammation throughout the body.

Good Source of Protein

Chickpeas are an important source of the proteins needed for growth and development, as well as proper healing and repair throughout the body. They are an ideal option for vegetarians who want to ensure they have the proper nutrient intake. However, one should not rely on chickpeas as a sole source of proteins. [8] A balanced protein intake is advised.

Rich Source of Antioxidants

The antioxidant compounds found in chickpeas include polyphenols, phytonutrients, beta-carotene, and key vitamins. These reduce oxidative stress in the body and prevent chronic diseases. Antioxidants seek out free radicals, the dangerous byproducts of cellular metabolism, which can cause healthy cells to mutate. [9] These antioxidants can help protect the body from cancer, coronary heart diseases, macular degeneration, and even cognitive disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

Strengthen Bones

Garbanzo beans being rich in iron, phosphorus, magnesium, copper, and zinc are exceptionally good for bone health. [10] Many of those minerals are essential to improve bone mineral density and prevent age-related conditions like osteoporosis.

Prevent Genetic Defects

Folate is an important B-vitamin for many different reasons, especially for women. [11] Low folate levels are closely associated with neural tube defects and other complications with the birth of children. Adding folate-rich chickpeas in the diet during pregnancy is a delicious way to ensure baby’s healthy delivery.

Maintain Blood Pressure

One of the key ways to maintain low blood pressure is to go for a low-sodium (low-salt) diet. Garbanzo beans being naturally low in sodium help in lowering high blood pressure. [12]

Lower Inflammation

Choline in chickpeas is a macronutrient that plays a vital role in the body’s ability to fight chronic inflammation. [13] It also regulates your sleep cycle, increases the range of movement in the muscles, as well as boosts learning and memory.

Prevent Hair Loss

Owing to their high protein and iron content, chickpeas can act as a wonderful natural supplement for those experiencing hair loss. These beans are also rich in vitamin A, B, and E, along with omega 6 fatty acids, all of which improve scalp health and boost blood circulation. [14]

Boost Eye Health

Intake of chickpeas on a regular basis can boost your eyesight. They are a good source of zinc and vitamins such as vitamin A, C, and E, all of which help protect vision.

Skin Care

The presence of manganese in chickpeas enhances skin health and keeps the formation of wrinkles and fine lines at bay. Essentially, manganese prevents wrinkles by reversing the damaging effect of free radicals. This legume also contains the element molybdenum, which eliminates sulfites, providing a detox effect on the skin. Other vital nutrients like folate, zinc, and vitamins repair UV damage and toxin overload while keeping the skin supple and glowing.

Balance Hormones

Consuming garbanzo beans can be a safe and natural way to counter menopausal and postmenopausal symptoms like night sweats, mood swings, and hot flashes. Chickpeas contain plant hormones known as phytoestrogens, which mimic the body’s natural female hormone estrogen. They also guard against diseases that commonly affect women such as breast cancer and osteoporosis.

Other Uses

  • For dandruff, make a paste with chickpea flour and some water. Massage this on your scalp and leave it for half an hour before washing off.
  • Chickpea flour is also good for oily, spotty skin. Simply combine some flour with milk and rose water to make a face mask.

How to Cook Chickpeas?

Chickpeas are available easily throughout the year in dried or canned form. The canned version contains salt and preservatives but offers convenience. Here’s how you cook dried chickpeas:

  • Washing and soaking: Wash and soak chickpeas in water for 8 to 10 hours. Soaking the legumes not only brings down cooking time but also removes some of the harmful compounds and oligosaccharides that can cause problems in the gastrointestinal tract.
  • Cooking: The best way to cook soaked chickpeas is to simmer them for a couple of hours until tender.

Quick Serving Tips

Some quick ways of adding garbanzo beans to your diet include:

  • Chickpea is used as the main ingredient in hummus. [15]
  • Chickpea sprouts or steamed chickpeas can be added to any salad. They can be used to prepare soups, salads, dips, and dishes.
  • Chickpeas are ground to make chickpea flour, also known as Bengal gram flour. It can be used as a substitute for wheat flour as a vegan and gluten-free flour, or in combination with others to enhance taste and nutrition.
  • Flatbread can be made with equal quantities of chickpea and barley flour. This is a beneficial recipe for diabetics.