Beans (legumes) are one of the most versatile and nutritious foods eaten throughout the world. They are inexpensive and offer many potential health benefits. Here are five that may prompt you to start eating more beans:
Making beans a regular part of your diet could improve heart health. This is because beans are high in fiber, plant protein, and other micronutrients, but low in fat, and has been shown to improve blood cholesterol levels — a leading cause of heart disease. One study reported that having one serving (1/2 cup) of beans per day was associated with a 38% lower risk of heart attack.
Blood Sugar Control
Since beans are high in fiber, they help to lower and stabilize blood glucose. Eating a high-fiber diet has been shown to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. Studies also report that consuming beans regularly can help lower blood sugar in people who already have the condition and lower blood pressure.
Lowers Cancer Risk
Beans contain a wide variety of cancer-fighting plant chemicals, such as isoflavones and phytoterols, which can help reduce cancer risk. Some studies have shown that beans act as antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents. These effects could reduce the risk of cancer. Research also report that black beans has the highest antioxidant activity and works by preventing cancer cells from multiplying.
The fiber and healthful starches in beans help create a feeling of fullness and satisfaction. Research indicates that, as a long-term dietary strategy, this could help prevent overeating and may lead to weight loss. Studies show that obese men on a protein-rich diet tend to lose more weight with beans as their top protein source.
Improves Gut Health
Research has shown that a variety of legumes (beans) enhance gut health. Beans provide a wide range of fiber types, such as some that work as prebiotics, which feed good gut bacteria (microbiome). Maintaining a healthy microbiome can positively impact both digestive health and overall health, including immune system support; and may promote weight loss.
Consuming beans regularly can be a great part of a healthy eating plan. If you would like to enhance (or maintain) heart health, better manage blood sugar, lose weight, lower cancer risk, nurture good gut bacteria, or improve your overall health ,you will want to make sure that you eat more beans!
Photo by: Tijana Drndarski