When looking for dishes that are wholesome, tasty, and part of a well-rounded diet, beans are a natural choice. In this post, we share information on the benefits of eating beans. These are just some of the reasons why we want people to eat more beans.
*** Please note that I am not a nutritionist. Nothing in this food blog is meant to constitute medical advice. Before making any drastic changes in your diet please consult with a medical professional or nutritionist.
Why Are Beans Good For You
Beans Are A Great Alternate Protein
We may not be trying to cut out meat completely, but we are always looking for an alternate source of protein. This is either because we try to do Meatless Mondays, or are trying to reduce the amount of meat protein we use in a recipe. We have a goal of eating beans every day, but even most days a week can make a big difference.
Beans are rich in protein. This helps to fill the belly and keeps you from getting hungry quicker. The toughest thing we deal with when trying to eat healthier is trying to find ways to stay full longer. A simple salad with nothing but veg rarely does that for us. But a salad packed with beans helps.
Check out some of our most classic bean recipes all made in an Instant Pot:
Amino Acids And Complete Proteins
A little note about protein. There are 20 amino acids, which are the base for protein. Nine of these amino acids are considered essential. When it comes to protein, there are complete sources and incomplete sources.
To be considered a complete source of protein, the protein must include the nine essential amino acids. For example, animal proteins, soy, and quinoa include all nine essential amino acids. This makes them complete proteins.
Most beans don’t include all nine essential amino acids. So as much as beans can be a great source of protein, they have to be part of a well-rounded diet to ensure your body gets all the nutrients it needs. This means pairing beans with meat proteins, nuts, cheese or other dairy products.
Eating Beans To Lose Weight
We often say we are professional eaters. It’s part of the job when we write about food and travel. Often times we don’t have much of a say in what we eat. Other times we are voluntary gluttons because oh that pizza in Naples is oh so good.
That’s why we try to pay more attention to what we eat when we are at home and in control of our diet. We started learning more about eating beans for weight loss.
Beans are a healthy plant-based, non-meat protein. They are low in fact and high in fiber. When people increase their fiber intake, they tend to weigh less. Adding beans and legumes to your diet even a few times a week can help with healthy weight management.
Is it a cure-all? Of course not. But it’s a step in the right direction.
Beans Are High In Fiber
In 2019, Eric was diagnosed with diverticulitis. This is one of the reasons why we started to change our diet. He needs a constant source of fiber to keep his gut healthy. Beans are a great source of fiber and a perfect addition to a diet of fruits and veg to help give Eric more protein.
Beans Are Good For Digestion
In addition to being a good source of protein, beans help aid in digestion. As much as people think that beans make you gassy (“beans beans are good for the heart…”) the gassy effect dissipates over time if you eat a lot of beans. Plus the benefits of eating beans offset concerns about gassiness.
Beans Are Good For People With High Cholesterol
Eric’s not the only one with recently diagnosed medical issues – a problem lots of people face in their 40s. I have high cholesterol. It’s not worryingly high, but high enough that I need to make some dietary changes.
I live in Spain and I can’t completely cut out the things I love, like cheese! But I can make some substitutions and dietary changes that help to lower my cholesterol.
The soluble fiber that is contained in beans can help to reduce the bad cholesterol from being absorbed into the body. This means that if you eat beans daily you can also help to reduce your cholesterol.
Beans Are Good For The Heart
Similar to lowering cholesterol, beans can also be good for the heart. While possibly reducing cholesterol there is also a reduction in risk of heart problems.
Beans Are Great Antioxidants
I am not a scientist, so I won’t pretend that I fully understand what an antioxidant is. I just know I’ve done a lot of reading that says they are good. I know antioxidants fight the effects of aging and help improve metabolism. Beans have a lot of polyphenols, which is a type of antioxidant, so that’s good.
Beans Are High In All Sorts Of Good Stuff
From my research, I’ve seen references to beans being high in potassium, magnesium, and iron. These are all minerals we should consume regularly. They’re also a good source of B vitamins, which can help to boost energy. Beans are also high in folate, which helps to keep red blood cells healthy.
Beans And Sustainability
There are a lot of people who are concerned about the amount of meat they eat and whether it is sustainable for the environment. I don’t buy into a lot of the hype that we need to all stop eating meat. If we all stopped consuming meat products it actually could be devastating to the world economy and the balance of nature.
That said, for people who are looking to reduce their intake of food proteins, this is a good way to do it. Beans are a type of pulse, all of which are good alternative sources of proteins.
Beans Are Economical
Beans are a great alternative protein when it comes to cost. They are cheap to buy. They last forever. Dry beans can be kept in your cabinet forever. They don’t spoil easily, which reduces food waste. Even keeping some canned beans in the cabinet can make cooking with beans easier.
Beans Combatting Certain Diseases
Without getting into all of the technical stuff, beans are a great way to combat all sorts of diseases. There are reports that beans can help manage diabetes. They may reduce certain types of cancer, in conjunction with being a natural source of antioxidants.
Risks And Concerns
Are Beans Bad For You?
There are some drawbacks or risks of eating beans for some people.
Again, not a doctor or nutritionist, but just because beans are packed with all of these benefits it doesn’t mean you should be on an all-bean diet. Some people have allergies to some beans or legumes.
As much as if you eat beans daily it can reduce the gassiness that comes with eating beans, some people still have problems digesting beans. For example, some people with IBS, irritable bowel syndrome, or other similar health issues might have difficulty digesting loads of beans.
Always listen to your body.
Eating Beans As Part Of A Balanced Diet
Of course, this doesn’t mean that you can get everything you need for life from beans. We in no way recommend an all-bean diet, but look at all of these great health benefits from adding more beans to your diet!
FAQs – What Are The Benefits Of Eating Beans
Beans are unfortunately most associated with flatulence. They are, however, very good for you especially if they are consumed on a regular basis. Many experts believe consuming up to three cups of the beans, pulses, or legumes per week is good for your health. Consuming beans provides vital nutrients and minerals. It can also help with certain ailments including those associated with the digestive system.
Certain beans, legumes, and pulses can be beneficial for losing weight. Lentils, black beans, and kidney beans are among the most effective. They are high in protein and fiber, two nutrients helpful in weight loss. Other factors like exercise are also important factors in losing weight.
Beans contain high levels of soluble fiber, an important factor in the production of “good gut bacteria”. This bacteria lowers the inflammation linked to belly fat. As a result, eating more beans can lead to a reduction in belly fat. Doctors recommend eating at least one cup of beans per day.