The Advantages of Eating Beans
Beans are an inexpensive and easy-to-use source of protein that can be very versatile. Use them in salads, soups, stews, pasta, side dishes and dips, or puree them for use as a fat replacement in baked goods. They are nutrient dense and may help to prevent health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer.
Although the exact nutritional composition of beans depends on the type you consume, beans contain an average of approximately 116 calories per 1/2-cup serving, along with 8 grams of protein, 6 grams of fiber and almost no fat. Beans are good sources of fiber, copper, folate, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium and zinc. Their high fiber and protein content helps to fill you up so you eat fewer calories, making it easier to maintain a healthy weight.
Beans have a number of characteristics that make them heart-healthy They are low in fat and saturated fat, and contain soluble fiber and a number of phytochemicals, both of which help lower your cholesterol levels. The folate in beans is also beneficial, since it helps lower levels of homocysteine, an amino acid that may increase the risk of heart disease when found in high amounts in the blood.
Consuming more legumes may lower your risk for type 2 diabetes. iIn the research Participants who consumed more beans were less likely to develop diabetes during the course of the study, perhaps due to the fiber and antioxidants contained in the beans or due to the low glycemic index of the beans compared to other carbohydrates. The glycemic index measures the effect of carbohydrate-containing foods on blood sugar, with foods low on the index causing blood sugar levels to rise the least.
Eating more beans may help lower your risk for other types of cancer as well, due to the combination of fiber, antioxidants, phytochemicals, vitamins and minerals, and the fact that they are low in fat.