How Beans Promote A Healthy Lifestyle
Beans are typically an excellent source of Folate and Thiamin.
Beans are loaded in essential minerals including iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, copper, manganese, and zinc.
Beans are an excellent source of protein and fiber while containing a unique antioxidant profile compared to most vegetables.
Click on each type of bean for an in-depth breakdown of their nutritional profile.
How Beans Prevent Chronic Disease
Beans are absolutely packed in vital nutrients and contain a very unique nutrient profile compared to most vegetables, as they are also one of the best plant-based protein sources. Beans’ unique profile helps to prevent several chronic diseases.
How Beans Prevent Cancer
- Beans, or legumes, are packed with a variety of antioxidants that protect against cellular damage, which can cause a number of cancers.
- Isoflavones: Isoflavones are a set of antioxidants that are unique to soy-based foods. Chickpeas and soybeans are good sources of these types of antioxidants. (4, 5) Antioxidants protect your body from dangerous free radicals, which are molecules that can damage your cells and lead to uncontrolled cancer growth. By consuming a wide variety of antioxidants, you can protect your body from a wider range of these dangers. Isoflavones have been most rigorously studied for the positive impact on hormonal cancers like breast and prostate. (6)
- Anthocyanins/Anthocyanindins: Dark and red-colored legumes, such as black beans, lentils, and pinto beans, contain a class of antioxidants called anthocyanins and anthocyanidins (i.e., anthocyanins’ close cousins) that give them their vibrant colors. Anthocyanins have been shown to have potent anti-inflammatory effects and protect against a number of cancers. including gastrointestinal and skin cancers. (7)
- Tannins: The lighter, yellow colors in beans are due to the presence of tannins. Tannins are another group of chemicals that have strong antioxidant activity. (8)
- One really easy way to ensure the benefits of a variety of these antioxidants and their different benefits is to consume a variety of colors.
How Beans Prevent Cardiovascular Disease
Beans are an excellent resource for the prevention of cardiovascular diseases and have been shown to reduce the number of biomarkers associated with an increase in developing major cardiovascular diseases.
- Magnesium and Potassium: Intake of sufficient magnesium and potassium is essential to the regulation of blood pressure. Consuming these nutrients has been shown to reduce your blood pressure. (9, 10)
- Copper: Almost every type of bean is an excellent source of copper. Copper deficiencies are associated with increased risk of heart disease, which can eventually lead to major cardiac events like a heart attack. (11)
- Soluble Fiber: Beans are a great source of soluble fiber, which packs together when moving through our digestive tract and picks up LDL cholesterol to prevent it from entering our bloodstream. Thus, soluble fiber helps lower LDL cholesterol levels. (12) By keeping LDL cholesterol levels low, you reduce your risk for heart attack and stroke. (12)
- Anti-Inflammatory: Beans contain a number of anti-inflammatory properties, which protect against heart attacks and strokes. (13)
- Antioxidants: The antioxidants mentioned previously also protect our blood vessels. Oxidative stress from the free radicals can put extra strain on our blood vessels and cause them to weaken over time. To counter this, antioxidants protect against that damage helping our blood vessels retain proper strength and structure.
How Beans Prevent Diabetes
- Legumes are a great resource for diabetes prevention. They are categorized as low glycemic index, meaning the do not impact blood sugar levels drastically. Increased blood sugar levels is a hallmark of type 2 diabetes. (14)
- Legumes also increase insulin sensitivity. Insulin helps to move glucose into our cells and helps keep sugar levels low. (15) Patients suffering from diabetes have reduced insulin sensitivity, and therefore cannot effectively move glucose into their cells. Thus, their glucose levels will remain high.
- Isoflavones: Isoflavone consumption from soybeans and chickpeas has been shown to reduce your risk of diabetes. (16)
Beans Promote a Number of Health Benefits
How Beans Promotes Digestion
Beans are loaded in both soluble and insoluble fibers. Fiber adds bulk to your stool and helps regulate bowel movements and alleviate constipation. (18)
How Beans Promote Immune Health
Beans are a good source of zinc. Zinc plays an essential role in our immune system. (19)
How Beans Promote Weight Loss
Beans are a great resource of weight loss, as they are loaded in fiber and protein. Fiber helps fill you up quicker and proteins are broken down slower compared to carbs. So, fiber will keep you fuller for a longer period and prevent you from overeating.