Nutritious Benefits of Black Beans
By Carol DiPirro • March 16th, 2010 • 38516 Views
Beans, beans the magical fruit! If you're wondering how to replace meat in your menus, enjoy the rich taste of black beans. They are a good source of protein, and when combined with a whole grain such as whole wheat pasta or brown rice, provide protein comparable to that of meat or dairy foods.
Black beans are also rich in dietary fiber. For this reason, black beans and other beans are helpful foods for people with diabetes and those with hypoglycemia, because beans have a low glycemic index. This means that blood sugar does not rise as high after eating beans as it does when compared to white bread. This beneficial effect is probably due to two factors: the presence of higher amounts of absorption-slowing protein in the beans, and their high soluble fiber content. The presence of fiber is also the primary factor in the cholesterol-lowering power of beans. Black beans also contain insoluble fiber, which research studies have shown helps prevent digestive disorders like irritable bowel syndrome and diverticulitis.
Black beans are also as rich in antioxidant compounds as cranberries, a fruit considered an antioxidant superstar. It has been found that the darker the bean's seed coat, the higher its level of antioxidant activity. In addition to providing slow burning complex carbohydrates, black beans can increase your energy by helping to replenish your iron stores. A cup of black beans contains 20% of the daily value for this important mineral.
The flavor of black beans is hearty and rich, and sometimes compared to mushrooms. Dry beans have to be cooked for an extended period of time before they are digestible, softening during the cooking stage. Canned black beans are an easy, fast alternative.
This is a quick Southwestern style black bean soup that is made with canned beans for a healthy meal in minutes. Trust me when I say if you try it once, it will become a favorite.
Black Bean Soup
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- 1 Tablespoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 2-15oz cans black beans, rinsed
- 3 cups of water
- 1/2 cup salsa
Sour cream (optional) *Vegan sour cream recipe follows