How Beans Promote A Healthy Lifestyle
Beans are typically an excellent source of Folate and Thiamin.
Beans are loaded with essential minerals including iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, copper, manganese, and zinc.
Beans are an excellent source of protein and fiber and contain a unique antioxidant profile.
Click on each type of bean for an in-depth breakdown of their nutritional profile.
How Beans Prevent Chronic Disease
Beans are absolutely packed with vital nutrients and contain a unique nutrient profile, as they are also one of the best plant-based protein sources. Beans’ unique profile make them a great resource for chronic disease prevention.
How Beans Prevent Cancer
Consumption of beans is associated with prevention of several cancers, including breast, colorectal, and prostate. (1, 2, 3)
- 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 antioxidants. (4, 5) Antioxidants protect your body from dangerous free radicals–molecules that can damage your cells and lead to cancer. By consuming a wide variety of antioxidants, you can protect your body from a wide range of dangers. Isoflavones have been most rigorously studied for their 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 or 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 you obtain the benefits of a variety of antioxidants is to consume a variety of colors.
How Beans Prevent Cardiovascular Disease
Beans are an excellent resource for the prevention of cardiovascular diseases, having been shown to reduce biomarkers associated with them.
- Magnesium and Potassium: Intake of sufficient magnesium and potassium is essential for the regulation of blood pressure. Consuming these nutrients has been shown to reduce overall 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 lead to major cardiac events like heart attack. (11)
- Soluble Fiber: Beans are a great source of soluble fiber, which clumps together when moving through the digestive tract and picks up LDL cholesterol, preventing it from entering the bloodstream. Thus, soluble fiber helps lower LDL cholesterol levels. (12) Keeping LDL cholesterol levels low reduces your risk of heart attack and stroke. (12)
- Anti-Inflammatory: Beans are anti-inflammatories. They take strain off the arteries and heart to protect against heart attack and stroke. (13)
- Antioxidants: The antioxidants mentioned previously also protect blood vessels. Oxidative stress from free radicals can place extra strain on our blood vessels and cause them to weaken over time. By neutralizing free radicals, antioxidants help preserve the integrity of the vascular system.
How Beans Prevent Diabetes
- Legumes are a great resource for diabetes prevention. They are categorized as low on the glycemic index, meaning they do not impact blood sugar levels drastically. Increased blood sugar is a hallmark of type 2 diabetes. (14)
- Legumes also increase insulin sensitivity. Insulin moves glucose into cells and helps keep blood 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 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 with 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
How Beans Promote Weight Loss
Beans are a great resource for weight loss, as they are loaded with fiber and protein. Fiber helps fill you up quicker. Proteins are broken down slower compared to carbs. So, beans will keep you fuller for a longer period and help prevent overeating.