Archive for Beans
Dried beans are probably better, but the nutritional value and taste of canned beans is actually pretty good, so for the convenience I would recommend the canned ones, as it’s just easier. When on a diet, quick and easy meals are the key, so you don’t get sidetracked.
Just rise them well in water before use to remove as much sodium as possible, and only once you have gotten used to including beans in your standard diet you can switch to the dried ones.
For more visit: http://www.squidoo.com/bean-diet
This approach to weight loss is one of the most simple ones I have seen in a long time, so if you love beans, then this diet may be for you. It’s actually quite easy, all you need to do is replace sugars and starches with beans, and you’ll see the immediate effect of consuming slow burning carbs. However beans are not just for weight loss, they are super nutritious, and are great to include in your everyday meals, so here is how to get you started with beans.
For more information visit : http://www.squidoo.com/bean-diet
They may only be small but beans are little powerhouses of nutrition and certainly pack a punch when it comes to health benefits. That’s why we’re all such big fans.
It seems ironic to us that they are often referred to as “poor man’s meat” when in fact they ought to be regarded as healthy man’s meat because they are rich in so many health-giving benefits.
Bring down cholesterol
Soy beans for example can lower cholesterol levels, as well as improving blood glucose control – brilliant news for anyone with diabetes!
They also regulate the function of the colon, prevent and cure constipation and prevent hemorrhoids and other bowel problems.
Tuck into richly-coloured, dried beans and you’ll be giving yourself a healthy dose of antioxidant protection. For example, did you realise that small, red kidney beans rate even higher on the super-foods scale than blueberries?
Ease the misery of menopause and fight cancer
Beans contain high levels of isoflavones – compounds which are similar in structure to the estrogen produced in your body. These isoflavones can ease the symptoms of menopause such as hot flashes or flushes and night sweats, as well as improving bone and prostate health, protect against cancer and reduce the risk of heart disease.
A healthier digestive system
One of the main reasons beans are so good for us is because they contain fiber which is brilliant for the digestive system, mopping up cholesterol from the intestine and helping to cleanse bacteria from our systems.
This info was copy from www.naturalcures.com
What’s New and Beneficial about Garbanzo Beans
There’s now direct evidence about garbanzo beans and appetite! Participants in a recent study reported more satisfaction with their diet when garbanzo beans were included, and they consumed fewer processed food snacks during test weeks in the study when garbanzo beans were consumed. They also consumed less food overall when the diet was supplemented with garbanzo beans.
Garbanzo beans (like most legumes) have long been valued for their fiber content. Two cups provide the entire Daily Value! But the research news on garbanzos and fiber has recently taken us one step further by suggesting that the fiber benefits of garbanzo beans may go beyond the fiber benefits of other foods. In a recent study, two groups of participants received about 28 grams of fiber per day. But the two groups were very different in terms of their food sources for fiber. One group received dietary fiber primarily from garbanzo beans. The other group obtained dietary fiber from entirely different sources. The garbanzo bean group had better blood fat regulation, including lower levels of LDL-cholesterol, total cholesterol, and triglycerides. In some parts of the world (for example, parts of India), garbanzo beans are eaten daily in large amounts and on a year-round basis. But a recent study has shown that we can obtain health benefits from garbanzo beans even when we eat much smaller amounts over a much shorter period of time. In this study, it took only one week of garbanzo bean consumption to improve participants’ control of blood sugar and insulin secretion. Equally important, only one-third cup of the beans per day was needed to provide these blood-sugar related health benefits.
Garbanzos are a food you definitely want to keep on your “digestive support” list – especially if you are focusing on the colon. Between 65-75% of the fiber found in garbanzo beans is insoluble fiber, and this type of fiber remains undigested all the way down to the final segment of your large intestine (colon). Recent studies have shown that garbanzo bean fiber can be metabolized by bacteria in the colon to produce relatively large amounts of short chain fatty acids (SCFAs), including acetic, propionic, and butyric acid. These SCFAs provide fuel to the cells that line your intestinal wall. By supporting the energy needs of our intestinal cells, the SCFAs made from garbanzo fibers can help lower your risk of colon problems, including your risk of colon cancer.
Most garbanzo beans found in the grocery (especially canned garbanzos) are cream-colored and relatively round. This type of garbanzo bean is called the “kabuli-type.” Worldwide, there’s a far more common type of garbanzo bean called the “desi-type.” This second type of garbanzo bean is about half the size of cream-colored type we’re accustomed to seeing in the grocery, and it’s more irregular in shape. The color is also different – varying from light tan to black. Researchers have recently determined that many of the antioxidants present in garbanzo beans are especially concentrated in the outer seed coat that gives the beans their distinctive color. Darker-colored “desi-type” garbanzo beans appear to have thicker seed coats and greater concentrations of antioxidants than the larger and more regularly shaped cream-colored garbanzos that are regularly found at salad bars and in canned products. Of course, it is important to remember that antioxidants can be found in both types of garbanzo beans and you’ll get great health benefits from both types. But if you have previously shied away from darker-colored or irregularly-shaped garbanzo beans, we want to encourage you to reconsider and to enjoy all types of garbanzo beans, including the darker-colored and irregularly-shaped ones. Health Benefits
Digestive Tract Support
Even though legumes are known for their fiber, most people do not know how helpful the fiber in garbanzo beans can actually be for supporting digestive tract function. First is the issue of amount. Garbanzos contain about 12.5 grams of fiber per cup. That’s 50% of the Daily Value (DV)! In addition to this plentiful amount, at least two-thirds of the fiber in garbanzos is insoluble. This insoluble fiber typically passes all the way through our digestive tract unchanged, until it reaches the last part of our large intestine (the colon). Bacteria in our colon can break down the garbanzos’ insoluble fiber into short chain fatty acids (SCFAs) including acetic acid, propionic acid, and butyric acid. These SCFAs can be absorbed by the cells that line our colon wall and can be used by these cells for energy. In fact, butyric acid is the preferred source of energy for the cells lining our colon. With the extra amounts of energy provided by SCFAs from the insoluble fiber in garbanzos, our colon cells can stay optimally active and healthy. Healthier colon cell function means lower risk for us of colon problems, including lower risk of colon cancer. Unique Supply of Antioxidants
Many of our body systems are susceptible to oxidative stress and damage from reactive oxygen molecules. These systems include our cardiovascular system, our lungs, and our nervous system. Plentiful amounts of antioxidant nutrients are critical for the support of these body systems, and garbanzo beans are a remarkable food in terms of their antioxidant composition. While containing small but valuable amounts of conventional antioxidant nutrients like vitamin C, vitamin E, and beta-carotene, garbanzo beans also contain more concentrated supplies of antioxidant phytonutrients. These phytonutrients include the flavonoids quercetin, kaempferol, and myricetin (usually found in the outer layer of the beans), and the phenolic acids ferulic acid, chlorogenic acid, caffeic acid, and vanillic acid (usually found in the interior portion of the beans). Depending on the type of bean and color/thickness of the outer layer, garbanzo beans can also contain significant amounts of the anthocyanins delphinidin, cyanidin, and petunidin. The mineral manganese – a key antioxidant in the energy-producing mitochondria found inside most cells – is also provided in excellent amounts by garbanzo beans. In fact, just one cup of garbanzos can provide you with nearly 85% of the Daily Value (DV) for this key antioxidant. An increasing number of animal and human studies clearly show the ability of garbanzo beans to reduce our risk of heart disease, and we believe that an important part of this risk reduction is due to the fantastic antioxidant make-up of these legumes.
Decreased Cardiovascular Risks
While epidemiologic studies don’t always single out garbanzo beans from other beans when determining their relationship to cardiovascular disease, garbanzo beans are almost always included in the list of legumes studied when heart disease is the focus of diet research. Large-scale epidemiologic studies give us a great look at potential heart benefits from garbanzo beans, and the evidence shows garbanzo beans to be outstanding in this area. As little as 3/4 cup of garbanzos per day can help lower our LDL-cholesterol, total cholesterol, and triglycerides in a one-month period of time. This cardiovascular support is likely to come from multiple aspects of garbanzo beans and their nutrient composition. About one-third of the fiber in garbanzo beans is soluble fiber, and this type of fiber is the type most closely associated with support of heart health. As mentioned earlier in this Health Benefits section, garbanzo beans also have a unique combination of antioxidants, and these antioxidants clearly provide support for our blood vessels walls and blood itself. And while garbanzo beans are not a fatty food, they do contain valuable amounts of polyunsaturated fatty acids, including alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), the body’s omega-3 fatty acid from which all other omega-3 fats are made. There are about 70-80 milligrams of ALA in every cup of garbanzo beans, and there are about 2 grams of other polyunsaturated fatty acids. Risk of coronary heart disease is one of the specific types of cardiovascular risks that has been shown to be reduced by regular intake of garbanzo beans and other legumes.
Better Regulation of Blood Sugar
No food macronutrients are more valuable for blood sugar regulation than fiber and protein. These two nutrients have an amazing ability to help stabilize the flow of food through our digestive tract and prevent the breakdown of food from taking place too quickly or too slowly. When food passes through us at a healthy rate of speed, release of sugar from the food is typically better regulated. Strong vitamin and mineral composition of a food – including strong antioxidant composition – can also help stabilize its digestive impact on our blood sugar. Given these basic relationships between nutrition and blood sugar control, it’s not surprising to see garbanzo beans improving blood sugar regulation in research studies. We’ve seen studies in which participants consumed as little as 1/2 cup of garbanzo beanss per day and still witnessed better blood sugar control in as little as one week. In animal studies, garbanzo-based improvements in blood sugar regulation have partly been linked to better control of insulin output and overall insulin function. We suspect that some of these blood sugar benefits are directly related to improved digestive function. Garbanzo beans are a fantastic food for providing our digestive system with nutrient support. Even though research studies have shown blood sugar benefits with as little as 1/2 cup servings of garbanzo beans, we recommend that you consider more generous single servings of this delicious legume, in the range of up to 1 cup.
Increased Chances for Satiety and Decreased Caloric Intake
We have been excited to see recent studies showing a positive relationship between garbanzo beans and weight management. The best single study we’ve seen in this regard has been a study that measured food satiety. “Food satiety” is the scientific term used to describe our satisfaction with food – how full it leaves us feeling, and how effective it is in eliminating our sense of hunger and appetite. Participants in a recent study were found to consume fewer snacks and fewer overall calories when supplementing their regular diet with garbanzo beans. They were also found to report greater food satiety, with experiences of reduced appetite and greater food satisfaction. We look forward to some large-scale studies in this area, and we expect to see a clear role being carved out for garbanzo beans in terms of weight loss and weight management. Along with their unusual combination of protein and fiber and their great ability to stabilize digestion, garbanzo beans also stand out as a food that is moderate in terms of calories. At approximately 250 calories per cup, we’re talking about 10-15% of daily calories. In return for this moderate calorie cost, we get 50% of the DV for fiber and 29% of the DV for protein. Those nutrient amounts are great trade-offs for anyone struggling with weight loss or weight management.
Read More: whfoods.com
What’s New and Beneficial about Black Beans
Recent research has shown that black beans provide special support for digestive tract health, and particularly our colon. The indigestible fraction (IF) in black beans has recently been shown to be larger than the IF in either lentils or chickpeas. It has been shown to be the perfect mix of substances for allowing bacteria in the colon to produce butyric acid. Cells lining the inside of the colon can use this butyric acid to fuel their many activities and keep the lower digestive tract functioning properly. By delivering a greater amount of IF to the colon, black beans are able to help support this lower part of our digestive tract. Lowered colon cancer risk that is associated with black bean intake in some research studies may be related to the outstanding IF content of this legume.
The soaking of black beans in water has always found fairly widespread support in food science research as a way of improving overall black bean benefits. Yet, the discarding of the bean soaking water has been a topic of considerable controversy. A recent study that may help put this controversy to rest looked at many different advantages and disadvantages of tossing out the water used to soak beans. It found that the advantages clearly outweigh the disadvantages. On the advantage side of things, getting rid of the soaking water also means getting rid of some of the phytates and tannins that can lower nutrient availability. It also means reducing flatulence-related substances like raffinose (up to 33% removed along with the soaking water) and stachyose (up to 20% removed). A final advantage was the retention of resistant starch. While some of the total carbohydrate content in the black beans was lost along with the discarding of the soaking water, the amount of resistant starch remained unchanged. (Resistant starch is a type of carb that will typically make its way all the way down to the large intestine without being digested. Once it arrives in the large intestine, it can help support the growth of desirable bacteria in that area of the digestive tract.) On the disadvantage side of things was that 15% of total phenols were lost, we actually don’t think that that is an amount that is of concern. There was a slight loss of some additional phytonutrients as well as minerals. When adding up all of their findings, the researchers concluded that the many advantages of discarding bean soaking water clearly outweighed the disadvantages and then made this recommendation a firm part of their research conclusions.
We tend to think about brightly colored fruits and vegetables as our best source of phytonutrients, but recent research has recognized black beans as a strong contender in phytonutrient benefits. The seed coat of the black bean (the outermost part that we recognize as the bean’s surface) is an outstanding source of three anthocyanin flavonoids: delphinidin, petunidin, and malvidin. These three anthocyanins are primarily responsible for the rich black color that we see on the bean surface. Kaempferol and quercetin are additional flavonoids provided by this legume. Also contained in black beans are hydroxycinnamic acids including ferulic, sinapic, and chlorogenic acid, as well as numerous triterpenoids.
In Brazilâ”a country that, along with India, grows more black beans than any country in the worldâ”beans have been given an exclusive place on the Brazilian Food Pyramid. In other words, beans are recommended as their own unique food group! The country’s 2006 Food Guide for the Brazilian Population recommends that beans be consumed at least once every day. That recommendation is actually quite close to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which establish 3 cups of cooked legumes per week, or 1/2 cup serving six days per week, as the minimum desired amount. Recent research linking bean intake to lower risk of type 2 diabetes, many types of cardiovascular disease, and several types of cancer was one of the key factors used by the Brazilian government and the U.S. government in establishing their bean intake recommendations.
Many public health organizations–including the American Diabetes Association, the American Heart Association, and the American Cancer Society–recommend legumes as a key food group for preventing disease and optimizing health. The 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans developed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (USDHHS) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends 3 cups of legumes per week (based on a daily intake of approximately 2,000 calories). Because 1 serving of legumes was defined as 1/2 cup (cooked), the Dietary Guidelines for Americans come very close to the recommendation of 1/2 cup of cooked legumes on a daily basis. Based on our own research review, we believe that 3 cups of legumes per week is a very reasonable goal for support of good health. However, we also believe that optimal health benefits from legumes may require consumption in greater amounts. These greater amounts are based on studies in which legumes have been consumed at least 4 days per week and in amounts falling into a 1-2 cup range per day. These studies suggest a higher optimal health benefit level than the 2005 Dietary Guidelines: instead of 3 cups of weekly legumes, 4-8 cups would become the goal range. Remember that any amount of legumes is going to make a helpful addition to your diet. And whatever weekly level of legumes you decide to target, we definitely recommend inclusion of black beans among your legume choices.
You will find many of our recipes containing beans gives you the choice between using home cooked beans and canned beans. If you are in a hurry canned beans can be a healthy option. Unlike canned vegetables, which have lost much of their nutritional value, there is little difference in the nutritional value between canned garbanzo beans and those you cook yourself. Like most packaging processes, canning can take place in a variety of ways, and some aspects of canning have raised research concerns with respect to canning materials and their potential health risk. One special concern in the canning area has been the use of bisphenol A (BPA) in resin-based can liners. For more information on this topic, please click here to see the discussion in our Ask George section entitled, You recommend canned organic beans in many of your recipes. Yet, isn’t there a concern that these cans may contain Bisphenol A (BPA)? Health Benefits
Among all groups of food commonly eaten worldwide, no group has a more health-supportive mix of protein-plus-fiber than legumes. Included here, of course, is the amazing protein-plus-fiber content of black beans. From a single, one-cup serving of black beans you get nearly 15 grams of fiber (well over half of the Daily Value and the same amount consumed by the average U.S. adult in one entire day of eating) and 15 grams of protein (nearly one third of the Daily Value and equivalent to the amount in 2 ounces of a meat like chicken or a fish like salmon). You won’t find this outstanding protein-fiber combination in fruit, vegetables, grains, meats, dairy products, nuts and seeds, or seafood. The almost magical protein-fiber combination in legumes–including black beans–explains important aspects of their health benefits for the digestive tract, the blood sugar regulatory system, and the cardiovascular system. Each area of systems benefit has a strong research basis.
Digestive Tract Benefits
Unlike dietary sugar, which can move very quickly through the digestive tract and out of the digestive tract into the bloodstream, or dietary fat, which can move very slowly through the digestive tract and out of the digestive tract into the lymphatic system or bloodstream, both protein and fiber can move through the digestive tract at a moderate pace. In terms of digestion, both protein and fiber help to “steady” digestive processes. Movement of food from the stomach to the small intestine (called “gastric emptying”) and movement of food through the small intestine and the large intestine can occur at a more desirable pace when foods are rich in protein and fiber. This steadying of the digestive process helps lessen the burden on any one part of the digestive tract. This allows food to move along in a way that supports optimal chemical balances and populations of micro-organisms.
The idea of digestive tract support from black beans may sound surprising. Many people think about black beans (and beans in general) as problem-causing foods in the digestive tract, perhaps largely because of gas production. But recent research has shown that black beans actually provide special support in the lower large intestine (colon) where gas if often produced. The indigestible fraction (IF) in black beans has recently been shown to be larger than the IF in either lentils or chickpeas. It is the perfect mix of substances for allowing bacteria in the colon to produce butyric acid. Cells lining the inside of the colon can use this butyric acid to fuel their many activities and keep the lower digestive tract functioning properly. By delivering a greater amount of IF to the colon, black beans are able to help support this lower part of our digestive tract. Lowered colon cancer risk that is associated with black bean intake in some research studies may be related to the outstanding IF content of this legume.
Benefits for Blood Sugar Regulation
The landmark “protein-plus-fiber” combination in black beans and other legumes is also a key to their outstanding support for blood sugar balance and blood sugar regulation. As described earlier, protein and fiber can move through our digestive tract at a moderate pace. Unlike dietary sugar (which can move too quickly), or fat (which can move too slowly), both protein and fiber can move at a moderate pace. By steadying rate of movement through the digestive tract, protein and fiber help to steady the breakdown of food into component parts, including simple sugars. This better-regulated breakdown of food helps to prevent extremes with respect to simple sugar uptake from the digestive tract. Too much simple sugar uptake all at once can result in an unwanted blood sugar spike. Too little simple sugar uptake can result in an unwanted blood sugar drop. Either extreme can work to destabilize blood sugar balance. The 15 fiber grams and 15 protein grams in one cup of black beans help prevent both extremes – excessive simple sugar release from the digestive tract, and also insufficient simple sugar release.
With respect to prevention of type 2 diabetes, researchers have become especially interested in some of the alpha-amylase inhibitory effects of black beans. Naturally occurring compounds in this legume slow down the activity of alpha-amylase enzymes. Since these enzymes are important for breaking down starch into sugar, their slowing down can result in less sugar release from food starches. We suspect that the alpha-amylase inhibitors in black beans work together with proteins and fibers to help steady blood sugar levels and make this legume especially valuable for blood sugar regulation. Although we’ve seen numerous studies showing decreased risk of type 2 diabetes following increased intake of fiber from plant foods (and especially legumes), we have yet to see a large-scale human study showing particular benefits for type 2 diabetes prevention from increased intake of black beans (versus increased intake of plant fibers, including all legume fibers). But we would not be surprised to see a black bean study that showed this legume to be a standout in the area of type 2 diabetes prevention.
Much of the original research on bean intake and decreased risk of cardiovascular disease focused on the outstanding soluble fiber content of beans. One cup of black beans provides over 4 grams of soluble fiber, and this is precisely the type of fiber that researchers have found especially helpful in lower blood cholesterol levels. Decreased risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) and myocardial infarct (MI, or heart attack) have both been associated with increased intake of soluble fiber from food. In particular, they have been associated with increased intake of soluble fiber from legumes. So it is anything but surprising to see black beans included in the list of legumes that provide us with cardiovascular benefits.
More recent research, however, has gone beyond this soluble fiber story and added new aspects of black bean nourishment to its list of cardiovascular benefits. Included here is the impressive variety of phytonutrients (both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory) contained within black beans. While we tend to think about brightly colored fruits and vegetables as our best source of phytonutrients, black beans are actually a standout food in this phytonutrient area. The seed coat of black beans (the outermost layer that we recognize as the bean’s surface) is an outstanding source of three anthocyanin flavonoids: delphinidin, petunidin, and malvidin. These three anthocyanins are primarily responsible for the rich black color that we see on the bean surface. Kaempferol and quercetin are additional flavonoids provided by this legume. All of these flavonoids have well-demonstrated antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Also contained in black beans are hydroxycinnamic acids including ferulic, sinapic, and chlorogenic acid, as well as numerous triterpenoids. These phytonutrients also function as antioxidants and, in some cases, as anti-inflammatory compounds as well. Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory protection is especially important for our cardiovascular system. When our blood vessels are exposed to chronic and excessive risk of oxidative stress (damage by overly reactive oxygen-containing molecules) or inflammation, they are at heightened risk for disease development. The prevention of chronic, excessive oxidative stress and inflammation is a key to decreased risk of most cardiovascular diseases. We expect to see increased attention to the phytonutrient content of black beans in future research on cardiovascular support from this special legume.
When addressing the issue of cardiovascular support, it would be wrong to ignore the rich supply of conventional nutrients in black beans. One cup of black beans provides nearly two-thirds of the Daily Value (DV) for folate–arguably one of the most important B vitamins for decreasing risk of cardiovascular disease. Black beans also provide about 120 milligrams of magnesium per cup. That’s nearly one-third of the DV for a mineral that is more commonly associated with cardiovascular protection than any other single mineral. Antioxidant minerals like zinc and manganese are also plentiful in black beans. Finally, black beans provide about 180 milligrams of omega-3 fatty acids per cup in the form of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA).
Other Health Benefits
Given the impressive array of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory phytonutrients in black beans, we have not been surprised to see numerous studies connecting black bean intake with reduced risk of certain cancers, especially colon cancer. Chronic excessive oxidative stress and chronic excessive inflammatory are both risk factors for the development of many cancer types. By increasing the body’s supply of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory nutrients, black beans may be able to help lower cancer risk. Most of the studies we’ve seen have been studies on laboratory animals, or laboratory studies on different cancer cell types. (In other words, we have yet to see large-scale human studies showing decreased risk of cancer following increased intake of black beans.) But these preliminary animal and laboratory studies have been relatively consistent in their findings and have shown black beans to inhibit the development of certain cancers and especially colon cancer. Breast cancer and liver cancer are two additional cancer types that have been studied in animals with respect to black bean intake, although the evidence here is not as strong as evidence in the area of colon cancer. As our knowledge of black bean phytonutrients increases, we expect to see increasing interest in this important area of health research.
Black beans could not be more succinctly and descriptively named. They are commonly referred to as turtle beans, probably in reference to their shiny, dark, shell-like appearance. With a rich flavor that has been compared to mushrooms, black beans have a velvety texture while holding their shape well during cooking.
Black beans are actually a variety of the common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris) and belong to the popular legume family of plants. Black beans share many characteristics with their fellow bean family members, including red (kidney) beans, white (navy) beans, yellow beans, pinto (mottled) beans, pink beans, and anasazi beans.
Black beans and other beans such as pinto beans, navy beans, and kidney beans are all known scientifically as Phaselous vulgaris. (This scientific name refers to the genus and species of the plant; navy, kidney, pinto, etc. are different varieties of beans, all found within the species vulgaris). The word “common” is used to describe all of these different varieties, since the word vulgarisin Latin means “common.” The common bean originated in parts of Central and South America. Even though the common bean falls into a different scientific category than the soybean, research in comparative genetics has shown that these two types of beans (Phaselous vulgaris and Glycine max) share many interesting genetic aspects. Beans were introduced into Europe in the 15th century by Spanish explorers returning from their voyages to the New World and were subsequently spread to Africa and Asia by Spanish and Portuguese traders. For a wide variety of reasons – including ease of growth, long-term storage ability, taste and texture, and nutrient content (especially protein)–beans have become popular in many cultures throughout the world. Black beans are an important staple in the cuisines of Mexico, Brazil, Cuba, Guatemala and the Dominican Republic.
Today, the largest commercial producers of dried common beans are India and Brazil. Nearly 18 million metric tons of dry beans are produced in these two countries alone. In their green, non-dried form, beans are produced in the greatest volume in China, where nearly 6 million metric tons are produced annually. Other important areas for bean production are Central America, other countries in South America, Mexico, Indonesia, and the United States.
How to Select and Store
Both dried and canned black beans are available throughout the year. Dried beans are generally available in prepackaged containers as well as in bulk bins. Just as with any other food that you may purchase in the bulk section, make sure that the bins containing the black beans are covered and that the store has a good product turnover to ensure the beans’ maximal freshness. Whether purchasing black beans in bulk or in packaged containers, make sure that there is no evidence of moisture or insect damage and that they are whole and not cracked.
Canned black beans can be found in most markets. Unlike canned vegetables, which have lost much of their nutritional value, there is little difference in the nutritional value of canned black beans and those you cook yourself. Canning lowers vegetables’ nutritional value since they are best lightly cooked for a short period of time, while their canning process requires a long cooking time at high temperatures. On the other hand, beans require a long time to cook whether they are canned or you cook them yourself. Therefore, if enjoying canned beans is more convenient for you, by all means go ahead and enjoy them. We would suggest looking for those that do not contain extra salt or additives. (One concern about canned foods is the potential for cans to be lined with a resin-based material that includes bisphenol A (BPA). To learn more about reducing your exposure to this compound, please read our write-up on the subject. Store dried black beans in an airtight container in a cool, dry and dark place where they will keep up to 12 months. If you purchase black beans at different times, store them separately since they may feature varying stages of dryness and therefore will require different cooking times. Cooked black beans will keep fresh in the refrigerator for about three days if placed in a covered container.
How to Enjoy
Tips for Preparing Black Beans
Before washing black beans, spread them out on a light colored plate or cooking surface to check for, and remove, small stones, debris or damaged beans. After this process, place the beans in a strainer, rinsing them thoroughly under cool running water.
To shorten their cooking time and make them easier to digest, black beans should be presoaked (presoaking has been found to reduce raffinose- and stachyose-type oligosaccharides, sugars associated with causing flatulence.) There are two basic methods for presoaking. For each you should start by placing the beans in a saucepan and adding two to three cups of water per cup of beans. The first method is to boil the beans for two minutes, take the pan off the heat, cover and allow to stand for two hours. The alternative method is to simply soak the beans in water for eight hours or overnight, placing the pan in the refrigerator so that the beans will not ferment. Before cooking the beans, regardless of method, drain the soaking liquid and rinse the beans with clean water. We realize that there has been some debate in the public press over discarding of the bean soaking water. Some websites and commentators have argued that this soaking water contains too many valuable nutrients to discard. We believe that a recent study has helped to put this controversy to rest by comparing a wide range of factors involved with the content of the soaking water. Research analysis has shown that getting rid of the soaking water also means getting rid of some of the phytates and tannins that can lower nutrient availability, as well as flatulence-related substances like raffinose (up to 33% removed along with the soaking water) and stachyose (up to 20% removed). Discarding the water will result in an unwanted loss of total phenols, but the extent of that loss will be relatively small (about 15%). While some of the total carbohydrate content in the black beans will be lost along with the discarded soaking water, the amount of digestion-enhancing resistant starch will remain unchanged.
The Healthiest Way of Cooking
To cook the beans, you can either cook them on the stovetop or use a pressure cooker. For the stovetop method, add three cups of fresh water or broth for each cup of dried beans. The liquid should be about one to two inches above the top of the beans. Bring the beans to a boil and then reduce to a simmer, partially covering the pot. If any foam develops, you can skim it off during the simmering process. Black beans generally take about one and one-half hours to become tender using this method. They can also be cooked in a pressure cooker where they take about one-half hour to prepare.
Regardless of cooking method, do not add any seasonings that are salty or acidic until after the beans have been cooked since adding them earlier will make the beans tough and greatly increase the cooking time.
If you are running short on time, you can always use canned beans in your recipes. If the black beans have been packaged with salt or other additives, simply rinse them after opening the can to remove these unnecessary additions. Canned beans need to only be heated briefly for hot recipes while they can be used as is for salads or prepared cold dishes like black bean salad.
A Few Quick Serving Ideas
Include black beans with your other favorite toppings next time you make a stuffed baked potato.
Black bean soup or chili is certain to warm you up on cold winter days or anytime of the year you want to enjoy its nurturing essence.
For a “mucho bueno” twist on traditional burritos, use black beans in place of refried pinto beans.
Blend cooked black beans with tomatoes, onions and your favorite spices to create a delicious bean soup.
For a simple yet delicious lunch or dinner entrée, serve a Cuban inspired meal of black beans and rice.
In a serving bowl, layer black beans, guacamole, chopped tomatoes, diced onions and cilantro to make a delicious layered dip.
WHFoods Recipes that Feature Black Beans
10-Minute Huevos Rancheros
Poached Huevos Rancheros
15-Minute Black Bean Salad
Mexican Cheese Salad
Zesty Mexican Soup
Southwestern Salmon & Black Beans
Black Bean Burrito, Indian Style
Black Bean Chili
Quick Black Bean Chili
Spicy Black Bean Burrito
Black beans contain purines. Purines are naturally occurring substances found in plants, animals, and humans. In some individuals who are susceptible to purine-related problems, excessive intake of these substances can cause health problems. Since purines can be broken down to form uric acid, excess accumulation of purines in the body can lead to excess accumulation of uric acid. The health condition called “gout” and the formation of kidney stones from uric acid are two examples of uric acid-related problems that can be related to excessive intake of purine-containing foods. Yet, recent research has suggested that purines from meat and fish increase risk of gout, while purines from plant foods fail to change the risk. For more on this subject, please see What are purines and in which foods are they found?
The seed coat (outermost surface) of black beans is an outstanding source of three anthocyanin flavonoids: delphinidin, petunidin, and malvidin. Kaempferol and quercetin are additional flavonoids provided by this legume. Also contained in black beans are hydroxycinnamic acids including ferulic, sinapic, and chlorogenic acid, as well as numerous triterpenoid phytonutrients, Black beans also provide about 180 milligrams of omega-3 fatty acids per cup in the form of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA).
Black beans emerged from our food ranking system as an excellent source of enzyme-supporting molybdenum. In addition, they are a very good source of heart-healthy dietary fiber and folate. In the case of folate, for example, a one cup serving of black beans provided about two-thirds of the DV for folate.
Our food ranking system also qualified black beans as a good source of antioxidant-promoting manganese, muscle-building protein, energy-producing magnesium, thiamin (vitamin B1), phosphorus and iron. In the case of protein, for example, a one cup serving of cooked black beans provided about one third of a day’s protein requirement.
For an in-depth nutritional profile click here: Black beans.
In-Depth Nutritional Profile
In addition to the nutrients highlighted in our ratings chart, an in-depth nutritional profile for Black beans is also available. This profile includes information on a full array of nutrients, including carbohydrates, sugar, soluble and insoluble fiber, sodium, vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, amino acids and more.
Introduction to Food Rating System Chart
In order to better help you identify foods that feature a high concentration of nutrients for the calories they contain, we created a Food Rating System. This system allows us to highlight the foods that are especially rich in particular nutrients. The following chart shows the nutrients for which this food is either an excellent, very good, or good source (below the chart you will find a table that explains these qualifications). If a nutrient is not listed in the chart, it does not necessarily mean that the food doesn’t contain it. It simply means that the nutrient is not provided in a sufficient amount or concentration to meet our rating criteria. (To view this food’s in-depth nutritional profile that includes values for dozens of nutrients – not just the ones rated as excellent, very good, or good – please use the link below the chart.) To read this chart accurately, you’ll need to glance up in the top left corner where you will find the name of the food and the serving size we used to calculate the food’s nutrient composition. This serving size will tell you how much of the food you need to eat to obtain the amount of nutrients found in the chart. Now, returning to the chart itself, you can look next to the nutrient name in order to find the nutrient amount it offers, the percent Daily Value (DV%) that this amount represents, the nutrient density that we calculated for this food and nutrient, and the rating we established in our rating system. For most of our nutrient ratings, we adopted the government standards for food labeling that are found in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s “Reference Values for Nutrition Labeling.” Read more background information and details of our rating system.
Nutrient Amount DV
Density World’s Healthiest
molybdenum 129.00 mcg 172.0 13.6 excellent
folate 256.28 mcg 64.1 5.1 very good
dietary fiber 14.96 g 59.8 4.7 very good
tryptophan 0.18 g 56.2 4.5 very good
manganese 0.76 mg 38.0 3.0 good
protein 15.24 g 30.5 2.4 good
magnesium 120.40 mg 30.1 2.4 good
vitamin B1 (thiamin) 0.42 mg 28.0 2.2 good
phosphorus 240.80 mg 24.1 1.9 good
iron 3.61 mg 20.1 1.6 good
Foods Rating Rule
excellent DV>=75% OR Density>=7.6 AND DV>=10%
very good DV>=50% OR Density>=3.4 AND DV>=5%
good DV>=25% OR Density>=1.5 AND DV>=2.5%
In-Depth Nutritional Profile for Black beans
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