Nutrition Profile and Health Benefits of Black Beans

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Black beans, along with navy, kidney and pinto beans, belong to the group commonly called as “common beans”. The history of black beans is ancient. They were first domesticated over 7,000 years ago in the region of South America now known as Peru.


Black beans, also referred to as turtle beans, are small roughly ovoid legumes with glossy black shell. It is scientifically called Phaselous vulgaris. Black bean is the common name for Castanospermum australe and the vegetable is also known as the Moreton Bay Chestnut. The beans have rich smoky flavors, for which they are even compared to mushrooms.

Black beans, along with navy, kidney and pinto beans, belong to the group commonly called as “common beans”. The history of bblack beans is ancient. They were first domesticated over 7,000 years ago in the region of South America now known as Peru. Since the beans grew readily in warm weather and preserved well, they quickly became an integral part of the South American diet. Other varieties of beans also entered cultivation during this period, with different people selecting for different bean traits. The food entered Europe when early Spanish explorers brought beans back with them in the 1500s.

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Nutrition Profile

The seed coat (outermost surface) of black beans is an outstanding source of three anthocyanin flavonoids: delphinidin, petunidin, and malvidin. Kaempferol and quercetin are additional flavonoids provided by this legume. Also contained in black beans are hydroxycinnamic acids including ferulic, sinapic acid, and chlorogenic acid, as well as numerous triterpenoid phytonutrients, Black beans also provide about 180 milligrams of omega-3 fatty acids per cup in the form of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA).

Black beans are rich in the trace mineral molybdenum, which forms a principal part of the enzyme sulfite oxidase.

Black beans are an excellent source of enzyme-supporting molybdenum. In addition, they are a very good source of heart-healthy dietary fiber and folate. Black beans are good source of antioxidant-promoting manganese, muscle-building protein, energy-producing magnesium, thiamin (vitamin B1), phosphorus and iron. In the case of protein, one cup serving of cooked black beans provided about one third of a day's protein requirement.

Health Benefits

? Black beans are rich in fiber, which helps in lowering cholesterol. The soluble fiber content also helps in preventing the rapid rise of blood sugar level, after the meal. In other words, the beans provide steady energy, while balancing the blood sugar level. So they make an excellent food for people suffering from diabetes, insulin resistance and hypoglycemia.

? This bean helps in detoxifying sulfites, the preservatives commonly used in prepared foods like salads. If sulfites are consumed in excess by people sensitive to them, they may experience rapid heartbeat, headache or disorientation. In such cases, black beans prove highly helpful, as just a cup of it contains around 172.0% of the daily value of molybdenum.

? Combination of black beans and brown rice is rich in fat-free, high quality protein. The protein content in black beans is comparable to that of meat or dairy foods.

? The dietary fibers present in black beans make it a healthy food for the people suffering from irregular glucose metabolism, diabetes and hypoglycemia.

? Many people think about black beans (beans in general) as problem-causing foods in the digestive tract, perhaps largely because of gas production. But recent research has shown that black beans actually provide special support in the lower large intestine (colon) where gas if often produced. The indigestible fraction in black beans has recently been shown to be larger than the indigestible fraction in either lentils or chickpeas. It is the perfect mix of substances for allowing bacteria in the colon to produce butyric acid. Cells lining the inside of the colon can use this butyric acid to fuel their many activities and keep the lower digestive tract functioning properly.

? Black beans contain the antioxidant anthocyanins, which are richly found in only some other fruits, like grapes, cranberries and oranges. The beans can help you fight against cancer. They can also help in fighting against the effects of aging.

? Black beans are a hheart-benefit food. It is not just the fiber, but also the folate and magnesium present in these beans that is beneficial to the heart. Folate helps in keeping down the level of amino-acid called homocysteine, which is an intermediate product in the methylation cycle. Magnesium helps improves blood, oxygen and nutrients flow in the veins and arteries.

? The beans contain polyphenols. Polyphenols act as antioxidants in the bloodstream, preventing the free radicals from oxidizing cholesterol.

? Black beans can provide ample iron supply to the body. Iron is most wanted especially in case of menstruating women, who are at the risk of iron deficiency. Unlike red meat, which is another a good source of iron, black beans are low in calories and fat-free. Due to the rich iron content in black bean, they are also very good for pregnant women, growing children and adolescents.

? The manganese capacity present in black beans help in energy production and also acts as an antioxidant.

Note: Black beans contain purines that, if taken excessively, can cause health related problems for people sensitive to the latter. Purines can be broken down to form uric acid, which if accumulated excessively, leads to gout and formation of kidney stones. However, research has found that purines from meat and fish are more dangerous than those in black beans.


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