Black beans are becoming an increasingly more popular food around the world. Most people heard about them and even tried them.
But how many of us actually know everything there is to know about this legume? To help you stay informed on the food you eat, here are all the essentials on black beans.
Black beans are incredibly nutritious, but that’s not the only incredible thing about this legume type. It’s very versatile and easy to prepare, so you don’t have to be a genius in the kitchen to cook with black beans. Aside from that and their high vitamin and mineral content, there’s a lot to know about black beans.
Without further ado, here are 20 Things You Should Know About Black Beans.
1. One cup of black beans gives you 30% of your daily need for protein.
Protein is the building block of muscles, and who doesn’t want to be strong and healthy? Black beans are a plant-based source of protein, which is beneficial for those on plant-based diets and many other people who want to enjoy a vegetarian meal.
A diet high in protein can also prevent overeating and improve your chances of losing weight. As you can see, it’s a win-win situation.
2. Black beans are an excellent source of folate.
Folate – also called vitamin B9 – is part of the B vitamins group, essential for red blood cells formation. Most of us have heard about its benefits for pregnant women as it helps keep the baby healthy.
More often than not, most of us don’t think about getting enough vitamins and minerals from our foods. So, knowing that eating black beans can help you load up on essential nutrients is good news.
3. Black beans contain complex carbs, which lower your risk of diabetes.
Diabetes is a growing concern in our society. That’s why it’s important to consume foods high in complex carbs instead of simple carbs.
Simple carbs, such as sugars, cause spikes in your blood sugar levels, leaving you tired and unfocused. Black beans contain a good dose of complex carbs, improving your concentration and lowering your risk of type 2 diabetes.
4. A single serving of black beans provides you with almost all your daily fiber need.
If you’ve ever dealt with constipation or other digestive system issues, you know the importance of fiber. It helps food travel through your digestive tract and even contributes to nutrient absorption. A diet high in fiber is also beneficial if you suffer from acid reflux or GERD as it helps soak up excess stomach acid.
5. Black beans contain a lot of magnesium.
In the age of diseases and health issues, ensuring that your immune system is as strong as possible is crucial. So, adding foods high in magnesium, such as black beans, can help you do just that.
Magnesium can also boost exercise performance, which may be important for you if you’re an avid fan of working out. Getting this mineral from black beans is also way better than taking supplements.
6. Eating black beans can help you lose weight.
Since black beans are rich in fiber and protein, they can help you healthily lose weight. Eating black beans reduces how many calories you consume by filling you up, so you can maintain a healthy weight or shed a few pounds.
7. Canned black beans are also nutritious.
Canned beans might be slightly lower in nutrients than fresh black beans, but they still pack a good dose of minerals and nutrients. They’re also easier to prepare and more readily available, so they can be a better alternative to those of us who are a little busier.
8. Black beans can improve your heart health.
The heart is arguably one of the most important organs in our bodies. So, it only makes sense to choose foods that keep it as healthy as possible, and black beans can help you do just that.
The fiber they contain, along with some plant compounds, lowers your cholesterol levels, which are linked with an increased risk of heart attacks and high blood pressure.
Other nutrients like B vitamins and the lack of fat in black beans also prevent plaque buildup in your arteries, making black beans a superfood for your heart.
9. Adding black beans to your diet may improve digestion.
As we’ve already covered, black beans are loaded with fiber. But the type of fiber they contain, called resistant starch, isn’t soluble. So, it travels through your digestive system, feeding the good gut bacteria that contribute to gut health. This can also improve body fat by preventing overeating.
10. Black beans are a low-glycemic food.
Even though black beans are high in carbs, they don’t cause spikes in your blood sugar levels. This means that you can safely add them to your diet even if you have diabetes. In addition, experts recommend eating black beans as they improve blood sugar and insulin levels in people with type 2 diabetes.
11. Black beans can be added to a variety of meals.
There’s no shortage of ways to include black beans in your diet. You can add them to soups, sauces, and even as side dishes. They’re also an excellent swap for animal-based protein, which is becoming increasingly more popular these days.
The most common ways to use black beans are to make a black bean burrito, rice, and beans, black bean soup, but you can get as creative with them as you wish!
12. Eating too many black beans may cause bloating.
Since black beans are high in fiber, there’s also a slight risk of bloating, especially if you consume a lot of them at once. Most people shouldn’t have problems with this, but if you’re sensitive to such foods, try adding black beans to your diet slowly. Generally, if you eat small portions, you shouldn’t experience any issues.
13. Black beans are rich in antioxidants.
Black beans are a type of legume that contains the most antioxidants. These compounds help you stay healthy and prevent various chronic inflammatory diseases. Antioxidant-rich foods are all the buzz these days, so adding black beans to that list can broaden your diet.
14. Adding black beans to your diet may help prevent cancer.
As you may imagine, there aren’t any magical anti-cancer foods. But some contain essential nutrients that may lower your risk of certain types of cancer, and one of those foods is black beans.
One study discovered that eating black beans and getting the special fiber they contain lowers your risk of colon cancer. So, that should definitely encourage you to have some black beans.
15. Black beans contain almost no fat.
If you’re following a low-fat diet, black beans are the perfect food for you. A one-cup serving contains only around 0.9 g of fat, making them an excellent choice for those trying to lower their intake of high-fat foods.
Most of the calories in black beans come from complex carbs and protein, keeping you healthier and fuller after eating than you would have been if you ate a high-fat meal.
16. Black beans can help you load up on iron.
A single serving of black beans provides you with 3.6 mg of iron. Many people don’t get enough of this mineral, which is bad since it’s incredibly important. Iron contributes to red blood cells formation, and it also helps prevent anemia, weakness, and fatigue, which are conditions we should all strive to avoid.
Black beans are especially good at providing you with iron as the type they contain is more easily absorbed by your body than from other plant sources.
This is especially good news for those of us who follow a plant-based diet, as most other iron-rich foods are meats. So, eating black beans can help you avoid issues caused by iron deficiency.
17. Dried black beans can be stored for up to 3 years.
Most commonly sold black bean varieties are canned and dried. Dried beans are easy to store and can last for several years. This makes them a convenient food for people on the go as you can buy them in advance and eat them whenever you’d like.
There’s one downside to dried beans, though: You have to soak them for at least six hours and preferably all night. But once you set them aside to soak, there’s nothing else you have to do, which makes it a very easy process.
18. Black beans are a staple of vegan and vegetarian diets.
Black beans are rich in protein, which is a nutrient that most people on meatless diets don’t get enough of. So, eating black beans can help you get the protein if you follow vegan and vegetarian diet. Black beans are also gluten-free, so people with celiac disease and gluten sensitivity can eat them without worry.
19. Black beans are great for quick meals.
Whether you buy canned black beans or soak them overnight, beans make for a quick meal. They’re nutritious, so they will fill you up without making you feel tired.
You can quickly whip up a bowl of black bean soup or add them to some rice and chicken for a fast and healthy meal. So, whether you’re on the run or budget, black beans are a great food to have on hand at home.
20. The water left after boiling black beans can be used as a natural food coloring.
Many cuisines, especially Latin American, use the water that black beans have been cooked in as natural food coloring or broth for soup. It can add flavor, nutrients, and color to sauces and other soups, so saving it is a good idea.
There’s a lot to know about black beans, especially if you’re a newbie to the world of legumes. Hopefully, these 20 important things you should know give you an overview of this delicious food without making it too complex.
One thing is sure: Black beans are incredibly nutritious and tasty, and everyone should add them to their diets.
Alicia is the senior content editor and writer here at Food FAQ. She has extensive experience with acid reflux, heartburn, GERD, and various supplements. When not eating food for “research”, she’s watching “Friends” for the 100th time.