The humble black bean is actually considered to be one of the most nutritionally packed foods that humans consume. With many diets (such as Mexican) based around this ingredient it’s easy to see why it’s packed with nutritious goodness! The nutritious power of the bean comes from its mix of quality protein and low in fat combined with high levels of dietary fibre and micronutrients.
Among all groups of food commonly eaten worldwide, no group has a more health-supportive mix of protein-plus-fibre than legumes (beans). Included here, of course, is the amazing protein-plus-fibre content of black beans.
From a single serving of black beans you get 16 grams of fibre and 15 grams of protein (equivalent to the amount in 80g of a meat like chicken or a fish like salmon). You won’t find this outstanding protein-fibre combination in fruit, vegetables, grains, meats, dairy products, nuts and seeds, or seafood. The almost magical protein-fibre combination in black beans explains important aspects of their health benefits for the digestive tract, the blood sugar regulatory system, and the cardiovascular system.
Not only do they taste delicious, they really are doing you so much good! You can find them in all our Burritos and Mexican Plates, and in our eat in Quesadillas. They fill you up and will power you through your afternoon!
Total Fat 1.1 g = Saturated fat- 0.4 g; Polyunsaturated fat-0.6 g; Monounsaturated fat-0.1 g;
Potassium (1483 mg) 42%*, Dietary fibre (16 g) 64%*, Calcium (89mg) 12%*, Iron (2.55mg) 27%*, Vitamin B-6 (0.4mg) 15%*, Magnesium (120mg) 32%*
(Percentages are Recommended Daily Amounts (RDA) per 100g. Figures provided by USDA database)
Digestive Tract Benefits
Unlike simple sugars, which move quickly through the digestive tract into the bloodstream, or fat, which move slowly through the digestive tract and into the lymphatic system or bloodstream, both protein and fibre can move through the digestive tract at a moderate pace. In terms of digestion, both protein and fibre help to “steady” digestive processes. This steadying of the digestive process helps lessen the burden on any one part of the digestive tract. This allows food to move along in a way that supports optimal biochemical balances and populations of normal gut flora levels.
Benefits for Blood Sugar Regulation
This “protein-plus-fibre” combination in black beans and other legumes is also a key to their outstanding support for blood sugar balance and blood sugar regulation. Protein and fibre can move through our digestive tract at a moderate pace, unlike dietary sugar (which can move too quickly), or fat (which can move too slowly. By steadying rate of movement through the digestive tract, protein and fibre help to steady the breakdown of food into component parts, including simple sugars. This better-regulated breakdown of food helps to prevent extremes with respect to simple sugar uptake from the digestive tract. Too much simple sugar uptake all at once can result in an unwanted blood sugar spike. Too little simple sugar uptake can result in an unwanted blood sugar drop.
Much of the original research on bean intake and decreased risk of cardiovascular disease focused on the outstanding soluble fibre content of beans. One 170g of black beans provides over 4 grams of soluble fibre, and this is precisely the type of fibre that researchers have found especially helpful in lower blood cholesterol levels. Decreased risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) and myocardial infarct (heart attack) have both been associated with increased intake of soluble fibre from food.
More recent research has gone beyond this soluble fibre story and added new aspects of black bean nourishment to its list of cardiovascular benefits. Included here is the impressive variety of phytonutrients (both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory) contained within black beans.
When addressing the issue of cardiovascular support, it would be wrong to ignore the rich supply of conventional nutrients in black beans. One serving of black beans provides nearly two-thirds of the Recommended Daily Amount (RDA) for folate – arguably one of the most important B vitamins for decreasing risk of cardiovascular disease. Black beans also provide about 120mg of magnesium per serving. That’s nearly one-third of the RDA for a mineral that is more commonly associated with cardiovascular protection than any other single mineral. Antioxidant minerals like zinc and manganese are also plentiful in black beans.