More than just a meat substitute, legumes such as black beans deserve a place on your weekly menu because they offer many health benefits. Research revolving legumes point to increasing our intake from 1 cup up to 3 cups a week as a way to prevent some diseases. Does 3 cups sound daunting? Not really if you consider replacing one animal protein meal with 1 serving of beans (1-1/2 c) and have the other 1/2 cup servings as a side dish spread through out the remainder of the week. Just the other day I decided to have my scrambled egg white omelet with spinach with a side of sautéed black beans instead of my usual Ezekiel English muffin. Yummy.. and held me longer due to the high fiber content and added protein. Beans are not just for tacos and chili and can be eaten at any meal!
FOUR REASONS TO EAT BLACK BEANS AND OTHER LEGUMES:
1 .intestinal health-beans contain soluble and non-soluble fiber. Eating foods high in fiber helps keep the digestive tract healthy by moving solids through your system so be sure to also drink plenty of water. Most people should aim for a range of 25-30 grams of fiber a day also from other sources such as green leafy plants such as kale and spinach, as well as other brightly colored veggies and fruits. Consuming foods rich in fiber has been linked to reduced risk of colon and other cancers.
2. lowers cholesterol-fiber helps mop up cholesterol in the digestive tract, preventing it from being absorbed by the body. Beans are rich in folate, which plays a role in lowering cholesterol levels, as well as being high in magnesium, which may lower blood pressure. Lowering both cholesterol and blood pressure levels can be a huge factor in reducing your risk of heart disease as well.
3. control of blood sugar levels-fiber in the beans binds to sugar in the GI tract and prevents its absorbtion. Although
beans are rich in carbs, they are of the complex kind which can help regulate blood sugar since they are slow to digest (low on the glycemic index scale). Diabetics can benefit from eating beans as it may help regulate high and low spikes, thus controlling insulin levels in the body.
4. great source of protein-combined with whole grains, beans offer a complete protein with all the 8 essential amino acids. Most beans can be swapped out for one another so experiment to find the ones you like best suited for your recipe for taste and texture. One thing vegans need to be watchful of is getting adequate iron, which is high in most animal based diets. The good news is that black beans are rich in iron so be sure to include them regularly in your diet.
A tasty and satisfying recipe for Spicy Black Bean Burrito Bowl (pictured above) can be found on the web at