Superfood 101: Black Beans!

Black beans are a species of the common bean and are native to areas in Central and South America. They were brought to Europe in the 15th century and became a major crop in India and China. Today, they are a staple in many international cuisines. Black beans are rich in nutrients and are used to prevent many diseases. Ayurveda uses black beans to regulate Pitta and Kapha doshas and recommends they be avoided by those with Vata dosha. Other holistic healing modalities also use black beans for many beneficial reasons because they are high in fiber, minerals, vitamins and proteins. Black beans have many healing properties that make them an advantageous food to be added to the diet – but their high fiber content makes them a valuable aid in reducing many diseases.

Here are 4 more reasons to up your black bean intake:

1. Black beans help to aid in digestion because of their high fiber and protein content. This causes a moderate rate of digestion, resulting in less stress on the lower digestive tract and more nutrient absorption. The small bean digests easily and absorbs water into the stool, aiding regularity. The proteins digest slower than meat – thus leaving you more satisfied and less likely to over eat.

2. Adding black beans to the diet reduces the risk of colon cancer and can have a positive effect on reducing the risk of liver and breast cancers. This is due to the variety of types of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory phytonutrients found in black beans. The reaction of these substances reduces the stress factor in the body.

3. Black beans reduce the risk of heart disease due to their high soluble fiber content. This helps to lower the levels of blood cholesterol, reducing the risk of heart disease. Soluble fiber absorbs water, turning it into a gel during the digestive process. This increases the digestion time, resulting in lower development of cholesterol build-up on arterial walls and thus reducing the risk of heart attacks or strokes.

4. There is a definite tendency for the reduction of the risk of developing type 2 diabetes in those who add black beans to their diet. The naturally occurring substance known as the alpha-amylase inhibitory found in black beans has shown to slow the assimilation of sugar from food starch. These enzymes work with proteins to regulate blood sugars.

Black beans are a very versatile food that can be added as a main dish or a side dish. It can be incorporated into many recipes. What’s your favorite way to consume black beans? Tell us in the comments below!