Adding Black Beans for a Healthy Diet

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Black beans are a protein and fiber packed source of carbohydrate that can contribute to your daily fiber needs. This makes them a good part of a healthy diet. In general, legumes are a very important food source in vegetarian diets as well, because they provide plant-based protein and are a good source of iron.

Black Beans Nutritional Facts:

Serving Size ½ cup canned (130) g per serving

Calories     100

Calories from Fat 0

Total Fat 0.0g

Saturated Fat 0g

Cholesterol    0mg

Sodium 490mg 20% Daily Value

Potassium 420mg   12% DAILY value

Carbohydrates 18g 6% Daily value

Dietary Fiber 4g 16% daily value

Sugars 1g

Protein 6g

Vitamin A 0%. Vitamin C 0%

Calcium 4%. Iron 8%

The nutritional value of dried and canned beans can be a part of a healthy diet. However, they are rich in sodium. In comparison to dried beans. Those in a can contain around 420 mg of sodium per ½ cup serving. That’s significant compared to just 1mg of sodium in dried varieties. In addition, according to the National Bean Institute, dried beans contain about 8 grams of fiber and 8 grams of protein. That’s 30 percent more than canned beans. Although canned beans are convenient, you will get more nutritional value if you choose dried beans.

Health Benefits of Black Beans:
They are an excellent source of fiber both soluble and insoluble. Studies show that a fiber-rich diet can help maintain weight goals and aid in weight loss. It can also reduce the risk of heart disease and certain cancers.

Black beans, like other legumes, contain resistant starch. This means that the carbohydrates in black beans are slowly converted to glucose, some of which is not digested in the large intestine at all. Research has shown that replacing rapidly- digested carbohydrates such as white rice with legumes can improve glycemic control in people with diabetes. Consuming foods high in resistant starch may also improve digestive health, including the promotion of healthy gut flora. Resistant starch may even improve insulin sensitivity. It is important to note, however, that canned beans are likely to have less resistant starch than dried beans. Black beans are a very good source of folate. This is responsible for producing red blood cells and plays a role in preventing neural tube defects during pregnancy. Black beans are a very good source of manganese, magnesium, and thiamin, and a good source of potassium and iron. If you’re a vegetarian who relies on beans as a source of iron, it is good to know that eating foods with vitamin C, such as citrus fruit and tomatoes, helps increase iron absorption.

Can Sodium Be Reduced By Washing Beans?
Canned foods can serve as convenient, inexpensive, and useful sources of food, however, this longer shelf life also means they’re often rich in sodium, which acts as a natural preservative. Good news is that research has found that simply draining and rinsing beans can reduce sodium significantly. Draining beans can reduce sodium up to 36 percent, whereas rinsing and draining can reduce sodium by 41%. Therefore, if ½ cup of beans contains about 400 mg of sodium, draining and rinsing the beans can reduce the sodium content to about 236mg.

Black beans can certainly be a healthy addition to almost any diet. Keep in mind that dried beans are better, though you can rinse canned beans to make them healthier if convenience is a factor. Also, try to keep portions in control, but have fun as you explore all the different ways to incorporate black beans into your meals.

For more information on Black Beans for a Healthy Diet contact Lethia Lee at the Cooperative extension Office. Or Lethia_lee@ncsu.edu or 910-592-7161.

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