Beans may get a bad blow for making people gassy, but that’s no reason to cut them out of your diet. Experts recommend you consume up to 3 cups of the legumes a week—because they are so good for your health. And the more you eat, the less likely you are to have tummy trouble.
“People who eat beans on a consistent basis experience less gas and bloating than people who consume them less often,” says Cynthia Sass, MPH, RD, Health’s contributing nutrition editor and author of Slim Down Now.
You can chose any type of bean that you like most—black beans, navy beans, and kidney beans etc.
Following are some of the benefits of beans:
Rich in fiber
Fiber helps your body feel full, so you don’t need to eat as much throughout the day. While current dietary guidelines recommend women get about 25 grams of fiber a day, many fall short. “The fiber in beans doesn’t really break down,” Sass says. That means it won’t wear off much, even after you cook them. Plus, beans have fiber in both the skin and the flesh. “So when you make a white bean dip or black bean hummus, you’re really using the whole bean,” Sass says.
Helps regulate blood sugar
Most beans also score low on the glycemic index, a ranking of foods based on how they affect blood sugar. “Because of the fiber and protein, the carbs in beans get absorbed at a slower rate over a longer period of time,” Sass says. That helps keep your blood sugar steady—one reason beans are thought to help keep diabetes at bay. A study in the Archives of Internal Medicine even found that people with type 2 diabetes who consumed one cup of beans daily for three weeks were able to maintain a lower blood sugar and blood pressure than when they started the diet.
Helps keep cholesterol low
High levels of LDL cholesterol can stick to the walls of your blood vessels, causing inflammation and plaque buildup. A healthy cardiovascular system starts with what you eat, and beans are one low-fat food you want on your team. “The soluble fiber in beans binds to cholesterol in the GI tract, which prevents it from being absorbed in the blood,” Sass says. Even more reason to get in at least 3/4 cup every day: a study in the Canadian Medical Journal found that eating one serving of beans, peas, chickpeas, or lentils daily can reduce your LDL levels by 5% and your chances of developing cardiovascular disease by 5 to 6%.
In many bean varieties, you’ll find thiamin, niacin, riboflavin, B6, and folate—B vitamins that help you convert food to energy, boost good cholesterol, and reduce inflammation, among other things. Research has shown that folate and B6 may be helpful for lowering your risk of cardiovascular disease, too. A Japanese study in Stroke found that higher consumption of folate and B6 was associated with fewer deaths from heart failure in men, plus fewer deaths from stroke, heart disease, and total cardiovascular events in women. While you can also get your intake of B vitamins from fish, whole grains, and veggies, adding beans to your diet is a great way to keep your body going strong.
Reduces cancer risk
Beans are rich in antioxidants, which protect against free radicals that could damage your cells and lead to cancer. Women who ate beans or lentils at least two times a week over 8 years were less likely to develop breast cancer than those who only ate them once a month or less in a study of more than 90,000 women published in the International Journal of Cancer. Another study in The Journal of Cancer Research found women who consumed four or more servings of legumes a week had a lower incidence of colorectal polyps, a precursor to both colon and rectal cancers. Other natural substances in beans could also play a part in fighting cancer. “One in particular called saponins has been shown to block the reproduction of cancer cells and slow the growth of tumors,” Sass says. Just another reason to give beans more love.
In short, beans is a must for a whole some diet.
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