The benefits of bean contain very good properties for the body and are allies of the health of those who consume them regularly. In this article we will describe the characteristics and benefits of bean provide for health.
What are Beans?
The beans are legumes, perhaps the best known in the world from Central America, whose scientific name is Phaseolus vulgaris. The bean or bean plant is an annual climber, belonging to the legume family, which also includes lentils, peas, chickpeas, lupins, beans, green beans, peas, peanuts and soybeans. There are many varieties of beans, whose main characteristic is the fruit of various shapes and colors found in a pod.
History of the Beans:
The oldest known domestic beans were found in the Guitarrero cave in Peru and date back to the second millennium BC (about 4,000 years ago). The genetic analysis of common beans, Phaseolus, shows that it originated in Mesoamerica and subsequently spread south. The Egyptians considered that beans were an emblem of life and had temples dedicated to them. Later, the Greeks and Romans used them at festivals to worship their gods.
Nutritional Value and Calories of Beans:
Beans are mainly composed of carbohydrates, beans are an excellent source of fiber and vegetable protein, so much so that they are called “meat substitute.” They contain a variety of vitamins and minerals that mainly supply potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, vitamin C, vitamin B3 and folic acid. In terms of caloric intake, beans develop 345 calories per 100 grams. Let’s take a look at the properties of beans and the characteristics of the nutrients present in the legume.
Beans are considered a source of vitamins and iron, it is undoubtedly one of the main foods to maintain good nutrition and enjoy good health. Then know the main nutritional properties of beans:
- Proteins: The protein content of beans is quite high (¼ of the weight), which makes these legumes particularly interesting for vegetarian or vegan consumption. In addition, the richness in proteins, fibers and low sugar intake make them the ideal food also for those suffering from glycemic disorders.
- Carbohydrates: The main carbohydrate present in beans is starch, which represents approximately 48% of the total caloric content. Starch is composed of two polymers, amylose and amylopectin.
Source Rich in Nutrients:
Beans have a relatively high percentage of amylose compared to most other starchy food sources, a characteristic that defines the starch of these “slow-release” legumes, since it is digested less easily than amylopectin. The consumption of foods rich in slow-release starch causes a smaller and more gradual increase in blood sugar compared to other types of starch, which makes the consumption of beans particularly indicated in people suffering from diabetes or suffering from other disorders glycemic
Fibers : Benefits of Beans are an excellent source of fibers whose benefits are increased satiety, improved intestinal transit and reduced absorption of simple sugars and fats, especially cholesterol.
Vitamin C: Antioxidant par excellence, very common in fruits and vegetables and present in good quantities in beans, is an essential cofactor in the synthesis of proteins and hormones, it contributes to the protection of cells from oxidative stress, to the normal function of immune system.
Folic acid (vitamin B9): Essential for normal cellular function, tissue growth, to reduce physical and mental fatigue, folate and is very important for women’s health, especially during pregnancy and lactation.
Potassium: Beans are a good source of potassium, the essential mineral involved in the control of blood pressure, heart health, nerve transmission and hydro saline exchange at the cellular level.
Isoflavones : Class of antioxidants present in high amounts in soy. They have a series of more or less positive effects on health and are classified as phytoestrogens due to their similarity to the female sex hormone, estrogen.
Anthocyanins: antioxidants and pigments present in large quantities in the skin of beans and that give food its characteristic color.
Phytohemagglutinin: Toxic lectin found in large quantities in raw beans, especially in red beans, which degrades with cooking.
Health Benefits of Bean:
The synergy of the elements just seen gives the beans the beneficial properties for the whole organism. Let’s see in detail what are the benefits of bean that they bring.
1. Weight Loss:
Several studies have associated the consumption of beans with the lowest risk of developing overweight and obesity, and this thanks to the fiber and protein content. A 2010 study, published in the European Journal of Nutrition, would have shown that, in overweight subjects, the consumption of legumes 4 times a week for 2 months would lead to a reduction in proinflammatory status and greater weight loss compared to a diet that excludes these foods.
2. Breastfeeding and Pregnancy:
Beans are a good source of folate (vitamin B9), essential to prevent megaloblastic anemia and, above all, serious fetal malformations, such as neural tube defects (including spina bifida, anencephaly and encephalocele) and other malformations. Adequate intake of vitamin B9 allows the primary prevention of congenital malformations with a risk reduction of up to 70%.
3. Diabetes Prevention:
The benefits of bean also extend to the prevention of diabetes: being rich in proteins, fibers, slow-release carbohydrates and a low glycemic index, these legumes are particularly effective in regulating blood glucose levels and, therefore, to prevent diabetes
4. They are Low in Cholesterol:
Studies have confirmed that regular consumption of beans not only helps reduce total cholesterol, but also bad cholesterol (LDL), which increases the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases.
5. Colon Cancer Prevention:
An observational study in 2009 and a 2013 meta-analysis linked the consumption of legumes (including beans) to the lowest risk of developing colon cancer. Thanks to the action of the fibers, resistant starch and alpha-galactosides (prebiotics), which, upon reaching the colon, are fermented by beneficial bacteria, which stimulate their growth and cause the formation of different compounds, such as butyrate, acetate and propionate, which act by improving the health of the colon and reducing the risk of cancer in this area.
6. Maintains Heart Health:
Beans are “heart healthy” because they contain a large amount of soluble fiber, which can lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels. If you prefer canned beans, you can get rid of up to 40 percent of the sodium by rinsing them with water.
7. The World’s Longevity Food Number 1:
Low fat, full of fiber beans are recognized as the longevity food of all diets.
8. They are Economical:
Black beans are one of the most affordable sources of protein available. Since they are much cheaper than meat or chicken and much healthier, many people choose to consume two or 3 times per week beans in their food or diet dishes.
9. Feeling Full with Fewer Calories:
It has been shown that benefits of bean increases the feeling of fullness by 31 percent, resulting in less food intake and less body fat, even if calories are not restricted.
Beans Uses and Storage:
For more absorption of the properties of beans, the ideal portion is 150 g if they are fresh or frozen, 30-50 g if they are dry, 50 g for flour. To be consumed at least 3-4 times a week. We must avoid tin grains since they are rich in sodium (added to the storage liquid) and nickel due to the erosion of the metal container that would then be absorbed by our body. If for practical reasons you want to buy them ready to use, it is better to opt for frozen beans, but it is recommended that you drain them and rinse them well before using them. Adding beans to the diet is very simple, they can be a main dish, the dressing of pasta dishes, the central ingredient of a soup, or they can be consumed as an appetizer (excellent black bean hummus!).
Contraindications and Possible Negative Effects:
Beans bring a number of benefits to our health; their consumption is not without contraindications and can also cause unpleasant side effects.
- Toxicity: Raw beans are toxic to both humans and animals and this is caused by phytohemagglutinin, a lectin particularly present in red beans.
The main symptoms of bean poisoning include diarrhea and vomiting and may require hospitalization. Soaking and cooking the beans eliminates most of the toxin, making the beans safe.
- Antinutrients : Like all plant seeds, they contain a series of so-called anti nutrients; they are substances that alter nutrient absorption.
The main antinutrients present in beans are: phytic acid, a substance that hinders the absorption of certain minerals, such as iron and zinc; protease inhibitors, which inhibit the function of various digestive enzymes, compromising protein digestion; Starch antagonists: alter carbohydrate absorption from the digestive tract.
- Flatulence and swelling: Among the most well-known contraindications of beans are intestinal disorders. In some people, the consumption of these legumes can cause unpleasant effects such as abdominal bloating, flatulence and diarrhea.
It is a reaction caused by some compounds, the fiber oligosaccharides that, when fermenting in the intestine, form gas.
Why Eat Beans?
- Very nutritious, a source of protein and iron, among other things.
- Very frugal, especially if you use dried beans.
- Quite easy to acquire, they can be found in several presentations.
- It doesn’t consume much time and you can make great meals that are easy to freeze for simple dinners later.