Fit and Healthy 101: Beans Nutrition Facts and Health BenefitsBy Rob Poulos...
For nearly 7,000 years, our ancestors have cultivated it: Beans, the nutritious–and super-fibrous–food that has helped maintain the health of people from Peru to Africa. If you’re struggling to keep your health (or weight) on track, then adding beans can do a lot of good–researchers say it can do everything from improve digestive health to reduce your risk of cancer. It’s also great for slimming down: The extra dose of fiber in beans also acts as an appetite suppressant. Here’s why adding beans to your daily diet is always a nutritionist’s top recommendation
Beans: Nutrition Facts
For a cup of beans, you’ll get a bang of nutrition: According to estimates, most beans carry between 50 to 100 calories per cup, with only 1 gram of fat–and the good kind too! But that’s not all–a cup of beans also provides a whopping 8 grams of protein and 119 percent of your daily recommended allowance of vitamin C. You’ll also get 8 percent of your daily recommended allowance of iron, which you need to help your muscles utilize oxygen to its best advantage.
Beans are also packed with fiber–a healthy additive that your body needs to maintain a healthy digestive system (and makes you feel full in the process).
Here’s how fiber works. When you consume a food, such as beans, into your mouth, your body breaks down the food, including dietary fiber, which then enters your gastrointestinal tract. When this occurs, something magical happens: It actually absorbs water and speeds up the movement of food, allowing you to have more regular, healthier bowel movements. It also works to regulate the health of your gastrointestinal tract, ensuring that you don’t develop any serious health conditions–such as cancer.
The Health Benefits of Beans
Aside from cancer and suppressing your appetite, beans are swimming with antioxidant potential–something you should take advantage of. For instance, vitamin C is an antioxidant that can inhibit excess free radical damage in cells, which some scientists believe can cause everything from cancer to heart disease. Just one cup of beans provides the antioxidant relief you need to stay healthy.
And that’s not all: Beans can also further decrease your heart disease risk thanks to fiber, the additive that really is heart-healthy. Just replacing one piece of junk food with a serving of beans daily could significantly reduce your heart disease risk, which also lowers your risk of a heart attack. A healthier heart also means a healthier life, so it’s a good reason to eat up.
How to Enjoy Beans
Beans are delicious with almost anything, but if you’re not sure how to prepare it right–and healthfully–here are some suggestions for making it delicious:
- Make chili. Beans are a great substitute for turkey or beef in warm, spicy chili, and can help you feel full for hours–and it’s healthy too!
- Put it in meatloaf. Don’t like meatloaf? Consider swapping meat for beans for a healthy, vegetarian-friendly way to make a delicious meal for the whole family.
- Add it to soup. Beans are a great way to bulk up an otherwise thin, brothy soup. They also add a ton of flavor and texture, satisfying every inch of your taste buds–so why not try it today?