7 Health Benefits Of Black Beans

Last updated July 9, 2017

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The black bean (Phaseolus vulgaris) or black turtle bean is a small variety of the common beans found especially in Central and South America. The black bean contains a dense, meaty texture, which makes it attractive for serving vegetarian dishes. Black beans can be cooked in a variety of ways without losing much of its nutritional properties, even when exposed to high temperatures. When combined with brown rice, the combination has shown to form a complete protein.

Here are the 7 health benefits of black beans.

1.     Black beans may help improve your digestive system.

The black bean is loaded with fiber. A one-cup (194 grams) serving of black beans contains 29 grams of dietary fiber. The daily recommended dietary fiber intake for men and women are 38 grams and 25 grams, respectively. Fiber may help prevent constipation, making one’s bowel movement easier to manage.

2.     Black beans can help individuals with diabetes maintain their blood sugar levels.

The high content of fiber and steady digestion also prevent spikes and crashes in the blood sugar levels. Unsteady sugar levels can be fatal for diabetics.

3.     Black beans are low in the glycemic index.

The glycemic index ranks food and drinks based on their blood sugar increase potential. Foods high on the glycemic index like such as white rice and white bread will break down easily and cause blood sugar and insulin level spikes after meals, which is followed by rapidly dropping blood sugar levels. Black beans are slowly absorbed into the bloodstream, which prevents sugar crashes, sugar cravings, and mood swings.

4.     Black beans contain more antioxidants than one may think.

The black bean contains more antioxidant activity than any other bean. A study, published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry in 2003, revealed that beans with darker seed coats contained more flavonoids. Flavonoids are a color-producing phytonutrient pigments that function as antioxidants in the body to fight disease and free radicals. Phytonutrients are plant compounds, some more responsible for the plant’s color than others, that helps the plant’s ability for survival from UV radiation and diseases.

Black beans also contain a high concentration of anthocyanins, such as delphinidin, petunidin, and malvidin. One hundred grams of black beans contain 214 milligrams of anthocyanins.

5.     Black beans can help you stay looking young.

Antioxidants like anthocyanins do not only fight against diseases. Black beans contain the potential to prevent premature aging caused by sunlight overexposure.

6.     Black beans can help individuals detoxify.

Sulfites are acidic compounds found in wines, dried fruits, and some vegetables, which can cause side effects, such as headaches and disorientation. Studies have shown that black beans are extremely high in molybdenum, a rare mineral not frequently found in foods. This mineral counteracts these side effects.

7.     Black beans can also boost your nervous system.

Molybdenum also helps in cell energy production and development of the nervous system. Black beans also provide the brain the necessary amino acids, vitamins, and minerals. Some vitamins, including vitamin B9 and folate, play an important role in the regulation of specific amino acids that the nervous system requires. Studies have shown that a deficient amount of dietary folate can increase the homocysteine levels, which can be a dangerous precursor to neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.

Additional Resources:

  1. Mattson, M. P., & Shea, T. B. (2003). Folate and homocysteine metabolism in neural plasticity and neurodegenerative disorders. Trends in neurosciences26(3), 137-146.
  2. Plitzko, B., Ott, G., Reichmann, D., Henderson, C. J., Wolf, C. R., Mendel, R., ... & Havemeyer, A. (2013). The involvement of mitochondrial amidoxime reducing components 1 and 2 and mitochondrial cytochrome b5 in N-reductive metabolism in human cells. Journal of Biological Chemistry288(28), 20228-20237.
  3. Beans, black, mature seeds, raw Nutrition Facts & Calories. (n.d.). Retrieved July 09, 2017, from http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/legumes-and-legume-products/4283/2
  4. Hungria, M., Johnston, A. W. B., & Phillips, D. A. (1992). Effects of flavonoids released naturally from bean (Phaseolus vulgaris) on nodD-regulated gene transcription in Rhizobium leguminosarum bv. phaseoli. Mol Plant Microbe Interact5(3), 199-203.
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  6. Carmona‐García, R., Osorio‐Díaz, P., Agama‐Acevedo, E., Tovar, J., & Bello‐Pérez, L. A. (2007). Composition and effect of soaking on starch digestibility of Phaseolus vulgaris (L.) cv.‘Mayocoba’. International journal of food science & technology42(3), 296-302.
  7. Thorburn, A. W., Brand, J. C., & Truswell, A. S. (1987). Slowly digested and absorbed carbohydrate in traditional bushfoods: a protective factor against diabetes?. The American journal of clinical nutrition45(1), 98-106.
  8. Van Der Put, N. M., Van Straaten, H. W., Trijbels, F. J., & Blom, H. J. (2001). Folate, homocysteine and neural tube defects: an overview. Experimental Biology and Medicine226(4), 243-270.

Reviewed and Approved by a member of the DoveMed Editorial Board
First uploaded: July 16, 2014
Last updated: July 9, 2017

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