Despite their small seize, beans contain a surprisingly rich and varied array of substances that are vital for good health.
First of all, beans are a great source of dietary fiber, according to Joe Hughes, PhD, assistant professor in the nutrition and food sciences program at California State University in San Bernardino, whose research is centered on beans.
Beans are also a good source of minerals, protein, and surprisingly: antioxidants.
They are one of the best foods to lower cholesterol. The soluble fiber in beans traps cholesterol-containing bile, removing it from the body before it’s absorbed.
Eating a cup of cooked beans a day can lower total cholesterol about 10% in 6 weeks.
While 10% may not seem like much, keep in mind that every 1% reduction in total cholesterol means a 2% decrease in your risk for heart disease.
Beans can lower cholesterol in just about anyone, but the higher your cholesterol level, the better they work. It appears that all types of beans can lower cholesterol, even canned beans.
Another benefit from beans is that they keep blood sugar levels steady.
Beans are rich sources of phytochemicals, which are plant components that have antioxidant and other disease fighting properties. Beans may contain hundreds of types of antioxidant chemicals.
Remember that antioxidants help protect you from cancer by limiting damaging attacks on your cells from free radicals.
Some other compounds in beans – like lignans, isoflavons, saponins, phytic acid, and protese inhibiters- have been shown to inhibit cancer-cells growth.
Beans are also a great source of vitamins and minerals.
A half-cup of black beans contains 128 micro grams, or 32% of the Daily Value (DV) for folate, a B vitamin that may lower risk of heart disease and fight birth defects. That same cup has 2 milligram of iron, 11% of the DV , and 305 milligram of potassium, or 9% of the DV. Potassium is a mineral that has shown to help control blood pressure.
All beans are a good source of fiber. They have the highest concentration of lectin, which protect our cells for viruses, bacteria and cancer cells.
They have to be properly prepared and cooked.