Black beans, also known as turtle beans because of their hard shell-like appearance, are actually the edible seeds of the legume plant. Like other legumes such as peanuts, peas and lentils, black beans are valued for their high protein and fiber content. And according to New Orleans orthopedic surgeon Dr. Richard Meyer, they also contain several other key vitamins and minerals that are known to improve your health.
Maintaining healthy bones: The iron, phosphorous, calcium, magnesium, manganese, copper and zinc found in black beans all help to build and maintain bone structure and strength. Your New Orleans orthopedic surgeon reports that calcium and phosphorus are important to bone structure, while iron and zinc play vital roles in maintaining the strength and elasticity of bones and joints.
Lowering blood pressure: Sustaining a low sodium intake is crucial to lowering one’s blood pressure. Black beans are naturally low in sodium and contain potassium, calcium, and magnesium, all of which have been found to lower blood pressure naturally. Tip: Drain and rinse canned black beans to reduce sodium content.
Managing diabetes: Research reveals that type-1 diabetics who stick to a high-fiber diet have lower blood glucose levels and those with type-2 diabetes may enjoy improved blood sugar, lipids and insulin levels.
Warding off heart disease: The black bean’s fiber, potassium, folate, vitamin B6 and phytonutrient content, along with its absence of cholesterol, all support heart health. According to your New Orleans orthopedic surgeon, the fiber in black beans helps decrease the total amount of cholesterol in the blood and reduce the risk of heart disease.
Preventing cancer: Selenium is a mineral that is not present in most fruits and vegetables but is found in black beans. It plays a role in liver enzyme function, and helps detoxify some cancer-causing compounds in the body. Fiber from fruits and vegetables like black beans are associated with a lowered risk of colorectal cancer.
Healthy digestion: Because of their fiber content, black beans help to counteract constipation and promote regularity for a healthy digestive tract.
Weight loss: Dietary fiber is recognized as an important factor in weight loss and weight management by functioning as a bulking agent in the digestive system. High fiber foods reduce your appetite, making you feel fuller for longer, thereby lowering your overall calorie intake.
Black beans are available year-round and are often found in grocery stores either dried and packaged or canned. They have a dense, almost meaty texture that makes them a popular source of protein in vegetarian dishes.