Beans sometimes get a bad rap for their, um, digestive side effects, but they're one of the best foods out there to round out your diet. With several varieties to choose from, you can use beans in multiple ways in your diet to get their benefits.
What makes beans so great? We have five reasons you should be eating more of them.
Reason No. 1: Fiber
The average adult woman should consume between 21 and 25 g of fiber per day and the average adult male should have between 30 and 38 g in order to support digestive and cardiovascular health and also to maintain a healthy weight. The insoluble fiber found within beans helps fill you up and keep you that way for longer between meals because the body digests it more slowly, resulting in a lower caloric intake both during and between meals. Fiber also promotes digestive regularity and may help maintain proper cholesterol levels for a lower risk of heart disease.
If you need more fiber in your diet, add garbanzo beans, or chickpeas, which contain about 11 g of fiber per serving.
Reason No. 2: Protein
Protein is essential for building strong, lean muscles and keeping the metabolism going for weight management. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), between 10 and 35 percent of the calories we consume on a daily basis should be from protein. Many of us think we can only get adequate protein from animal products like meat, but that just isn't the case. Beans are a fantastic source of complete protein that can provide you lasting energy and help you reach your fitness goals.
To get more protein into your diet, try eating more kidney beans, which have approximately 8 g of protein per serving.
Reason No. 3: B Vitamins
The eight vitamins that make up the B complex, or family, of vitamins are needed for cognitive support as well as energy production. Consuming adequate B vitamins can keep your memory sharp as you age, your blood flowing optimally throughout the body and your metabolism going at an ideal rate for weight management. B vitamins are water soluble, which means once the body has gotten what it needs for the day, it will expel the rest through waste, so eating foods rich in B vitamins while taking a multivitamin will more than cover your needs.
To up your intake of B vitamins, go for navy beans, which are particularly high in folate. Folate is very important during pregnancy to support both mother and child and make sure the baby's spine develops properly.
Reason No. 4: Minerals
There are six minerals essential for health: Calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc, selenium and chromium and they have countless functions within the body. Minerals make up a the majority of the bones and teeth and also support the central nervous system, which includes the brain. Proper mineral consumption helps you sleep better at night and have more energy during the day, and beans are a wonderful way to get the minerals you need from a natural source.
If you're looking for a bean that packs some serious minerals, go for black beans which provide, on average, 88 percent of your daily iron, 73 percent of your magnesium and 29 percent of your recommended daily calcium.
Reason No. 5: Antioxidants
The cells of the body need protecting against free radicals and toxins that can cause damage, leading to aging of the cells and well as illness. Antioxidants are the cells' first line of defense against them. Antioxidants are abundant in beans and can help protect the cells of the vital organs as well as the tissues, like the skin. A diet rich in antioxidants is recommended to ensure balanced nutrition to support whole-body health.
Broad beans, also known as fava beans, provide both vitamin A and vitamin C, two of the most potent antioxidants that keep the immune system on guard and the tissues healthy.
Beans are incredibly versatile. You can add them to soups and stews, puree them into dips or add them to salads or even top pizza with them. We carry a wide selection of beans at eVitamins to help you get the most of their benefits. Try some today and let us know what you think. Stay well!