Ahh, beans, the magical fruit! You love them in burritos, in chili con carne, and a whole lot of other preparations, but did you know that they are one of the healthiest foods on the planet? It’s recommended by the US Government that you eat at least three cups of legumes per week, and with so many types of beans to choose from–brown beans, black beans, pinto beans, kidney beans, navy beans, and the list goes on–it’s a food you’ll never get sick of! Here are a few reasons to eat more beans every week:
They’re packed with protein
The beauty of beans is that they’re a great source of protein, but with none of the fat you get from fish, meat, eggs, chicken, and dairy products. It’s a plant-based protein, so it may not contain as many amino acids as animal proteins, but there’s still enough to produce new muscle fibers.
They’re an amazing source of fiber
Fiber is a nutrient you always need A LOT of. Fiber helps to scour your intestinal tract, getting rid of waste materials and the (literal) crap clinging to the intestinal walls. Soluble fiber also bonds with sugars, chemicals, toxins, cholesterol, and fats, stopping them from being absorbed into your bloodstream. Beans contain about 20 grams of fiber per cup of cooked beans. That’s nearly the amount of fiber you need per day, and all from just one cup of beans!
They regulate blood sugar
Want to reduce your risk of diabetes? Have a few more bean meals per week! Beans are very low on the Glycemic Index, thanks to all of the fiber and protein they contain. They’re a low-carb legume, and the carbs they contain will be absorbed slowly into your body. According to one study, eating beans (just one cup per day) was enough to keep blood sugar AND blood pressure at healthy levels.
As mentioned above, beans are great for your digestive system. The fiber they contain will improve waste elimination, as well as protect your body from toxins, excess fat and sugar, and even cholesterol. Beans may cause a bit of gas, but that’s only as your body gets accustomed to eating them more. Within a few weeks, the gassy problem should dissipate! (Or, be smart and drop a whole potato into your beans during cooking to eliminate gas.)
They’re heart smart
Red meat, chicken, dairy products, and eggs all have one thing in common: they contain saturated fat. Saturated fat causes your body to produce cholesterol, which can stick to the walls of your arteries, harden, and crack–leading to clots and ultimately heart attacks, strokes, and peripheral arterial disease. But beans contain no fat, and the fiber in beans will actually bond with the cholesterol in your intestines and stop it from being absorbed into your bloodstream. Beans help to reduce your risk of heart disease thanks to their high fiber content!
They’re great for weight loss/control
Struggling with your weight loss? Trying to stop yourself from gaining weight? If you want to lose or control your weight, you need more beans in your life! Beans are loaded with fiber, which expands when it absorbs moisture. The moment the beans hit your digestive system, they suck up liquid and expand. This causes you to feel full more quickly, stopping your hunger pangs in their tracks. The fiber and protein in beans also take longer to absorb into your body, so beans sit in your digestive tract longer. This keeps you full for longer, preventing you from overeating or getting cravings!