Black Beans-A Must Have in Your Diet


As I sit eating my black bean soup for dinner, I realized that I had just whipped up a bunch of recipes that included black beans lately. I grabbed a ton of black beans at the farmer’s market the other week and cooked them all up before heading to California. I had no idea what I was going to do with them but decided they had to get used up somehow. It left me with a boat load of black beans! Naturally, I made a little black bean hummus, some crockpot stuffed peppers and black bean and sweet potato salad with a zesty lime dressing.

Black beans are a great source of phytonutrients. The shell or “seed coat” on the ban contains three anthocyanins including delphinidin, petunidin, and malvidin. According to the World’s Healthiest Foods, “anthocyanins are an important group of flavonoids that provide deep shades of red and purple in many foods, and in the case of black beans, these anthocyanins are largely responsible for the rich black color that we associate with black beans.” Black beans are similar to red cabbage, red onions, or even blueberries because of their flavonoid composition. Black beans have a ton of zinc.

Want to improve fat metabolism? The phytonutrients found in black beans appear to block expression of genes that would result in the production of enzymes that increase blood fat levels. They also promote expression of genes that produce enzymes that deliver cholesterol back to the liver from other locations in the body. This reduces the amount of cholesterol circulating through the body and lowers blood levels.

It is recommended to eat 3-3 ½ cups of legumes each week. You get about 15 grams of protein from a one-cup serving of black beans. Black beans also about 15 grams of fiber in one cup. Fiber and protein aid in digestion as they help regulate the food passage through the digestive tract. Black beans contain resistant starch, which means the starch is not broken down in the upper digestive tract. There is no increase of simple sugars because the starch is not broken down. This means blood sugar levels do not rapidly increase. The resistant starch hits the large intestine and gets broken down by bacteria, which increases fuel supply for the cells of the large intestine. It is said that this may decrease risk of colorectal cancer.

To cook dried black beans, first make sure all stones, debris or damaged beans are removed. You can spread them out on a light colored plate or towel. Rinse the beans under cool water. Dried black beans should be presoaked because it reduces the raffinose that has been associated with increased flatulence. You can boil about 2-3 cups of water and beans for 2 minutes. Take the pan off the heat and let the beans sit covered for two hours. You can also soak the beans for eight hours or overnight. Keep them in the refrigerator so they don’t ferment. Drain the soaking liquid and rinse the beans before you cook them.

You can use either a stovetop or a pressure cooker to cook the beans. Three cups of water or broth to each cup of dried beans. There should be about one to two inches of water over the beans. Bring the beans to a boil then reduce to simmer, partially covering the pot. You can skim off any foam during the simmering process. They will cook for about 1 ½ hours. They take about half an hour in a pressure cooker. Canned beans just need to be heated briefly for hot dishes.

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