Black Beans Benefits: Are They Good Your Health?

8 min read
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Feb 9, 2024
Black Beans Benefits: Are They Good Your Health?
Although black beans are rich in antioxidants, dietary fiber, and plant-based protein, they also contain anti nutrients that can make them difficult to digest. It is important to soak or boil them before to ingestion.
The common bean, or Phaseolus vulgaris L., is another name for black beans. Along with chickpeas, they are among the most often ingested dry grain pulses or legumes (1).
Originating in South America, black beans are a common ingredient in Caribbean and Latin American cooking.
They are nutrient-dense powerhouses with additional health benefits, such as better blood sugar regulation and a lower chance of acquiring certain chronic illnesses including type 2 diabetes and heart disease (1).
This page examines black beans in more detail, including their advantages, nutrition, and preparation methods.

Nutrition

Legumes, sometimes referred to as pulses, include black beans and have a distinct nutritional makeup (2).
A cup (172 grams) of black beans, boiling and unsalted, contains (3):
  • Calories: 227
  • Protein: 15 grams
  • Fat: 1 gram
  • Carbs: 41 grams
  • Fiber: 15 grams
  • Folate: 64% of the daily value (DV)
  • Copper: 40% of the DV
  • Thiamine: 35% of the DV
  • Manganese: 33% of the DV
  • Magnesium: 29% of the DV
  • Iron: 20% of the DV
  • Phosphorus: 19% of the DV
  • Potassium: 13% of the DV
  • Vitamin B6: 7% of the DV
  • Calcium: 2% of the DV
  • Selenium: 2% of the DV
As you can see, black beans are incredibly high in fiber and plant-based protein—nutrients that many Westernized diets lack but which significantly reduce the risk of chronic disease (1).
Their protein has a 79% digestibility, which is very high. When compared to animal-based sources of protein, black beans are actually thought to be a more environmentally friendly option (4, 5).
This nutrient-dense legume offers resistant starch, soluble fiber, and insoluble fiber—all of which are linked to numerous health advantages (4).
In addition, black beans offer several B vitamins, calcium, and selenium. However, the provenance of the beans might have a significant impact on their overall mineral content (4).
Furthermore, even if they are high in iron, they also include certain antinutrients, which are substances that could prevent the absorption of the mineral (4, 6).

OVERVIEW

Black beans are high in fiber, several vitamins and minerals, and plant-based protein. However, due to the existence of anti nutrients , their mineral composition may vary and your body may not absorb its iron efficiently.

Black Beans Benefits

Black beans are known for their antioxidant and fiber content, which contribute to their many health advantages.

Rich in antioxidants

Antioxidants abound in black beans. These substances have the ability to inhibit oxidative processes associated with chronic illnesses by neutralizing free radicals (4).
Because of this, antioxidants included in black beans may help reduce the incidence of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and several cancers (4).
Specifically, black beans include an abundance of polyphenols, particularly anthocyanins (4, 7, 8).
Potential benefits for type 2 diabetes have been related to anthocyanins. They are mostly found in the seed coat of the bean and give it its black color. They are also in charge of giving red and pink bean types their color (4).
Black beans also contain flavonoids, which include kaempferol, myricetin, quercetin, and catechin. These may have heart-protective and anti-cancer effects (4, 8).
It should be noted that boiling and storing beans may cause their antioxidant content to decrease, with losses occurring more quickly at higher temperatures. Therefore, make sure to keep them in a cool pantry (4).

May promote heart health

Including black beans in your diet can help reduce hypertension and cholesterol.
Black beans, for instance, contain saponin chemicals that function as antioxidants and reduce cholesterol. The fiber in the beans may also lower triglyceride and total cholesterol levels (4).
In fact, research suggest that the chance of dying from heart disease may drop by 27% for every 10 grams of total fiber ingested. In a similar vein, 5-7 grams of soluble fiber daily can lower LDL (bad) cholesterol by 5% (4, 9).
Additional data demonstrates that bean eaters, especially those who eat black beans, had an 11% lower risk of heart disease than non-bean eaters (10).
A different study, however, discovered that eating 1/2 cup (113 grams) of beans every day had no appreciable impact on cholesterol levels. Thus, it's probable that the benefits to heart health won't become apparent unless you consume more beans per day than this serving size (10).
Additionally, studies have discovered an inverse relationship between blood pressure and bean fiber intake, showing that larger fiber intakes correspond to lower readings (4).
Furthermore, black beans contain flavonoids that may promote muscle relaxation and inhibit platelet aggregation, both of which further lower blood pressure (4).
In a similar vein, another study found that eating 3/4 cup (129 grams) of black beans had a vasorelaxant effect, which helps reduce blood pressure by relaxing the blood vessel muscles (11).

May help manage blood sugar levels

Black beans' fiber and antioxidants may help regulate blood sugar.
First of all, it has been demonstrated that their anthocyanidin content increases insulin sensitivity, or the way your cells react to the hormone insulin. Lower blood sugar levels following a meal may result from this (7, 8).
Furthermore, anthocyanidins may suppress the activity of three enzymes that aid in the digestion of carbohydrates: alpha-amylase, maltase, and sucrase, which further encourages lowering blood sugar levels after meals (7).
Second, a meal's glycemic index (GI) could be enhanced by the fiber in black beans (1, 4).
The GI gauges the amount that a meal raises your blood sugar.
Black beans are regarded as a low-GI food because their GI falls between 29 and 38. This indicates that your blood sugar levels rise gradually as a result of them (4).
According to studies, eating meals with as little as 1/2 cup (86 grams) of black beans can lower the meal's GI and aid in blood sugar regulation for up to 120 minutes following consumption (1).
This occurs as a result of the fiber in the beans, which lengthens the transit time through the colon and increases stool volume, enabling delayed glucose absorption. Furthermore, the fiber reduces the rate of digestion, which further delays the bloodstream's absorption of glucose (4).

OVERVIEW

The fiber and antioxidants in black beans assist in lowering blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol.

Downsides

Black beans, like most legumes, have substances called antinutrients. They are called thus because they interfere with the body's ability to absorb specific minerals and digest food (4, 12, 13).
Black beans include the following antinutrients (41213).  
  • Lectins: impede digestion and perhaps modify gut function
  • Protease inhibitors: disrupt the digestion of legumes
  • Tannins: impede the absorption of iron and adversely affect iron reserves
  • Phytic acid: minimizes the bioavailability of proteins and prevents the absorption of calcium, iron, and zinc
Cooking beans conveniently lowers their antinutrient content. For instance, soaking and boiling beans successfully lowers the amount of antinutrients in them. Fermentation and germination are also very helpful (4, 13).
Though a great source of plant-based protein, black beans are not a complete protein source, so it's important to keep that in mind. This indicates that they lack the nine essential amino acids that your body need in diet (14).
Rather than consuming just black beans, it is crucial to have a balanced diet that includes a range of plant-based foods that provide all of the required amino acids.

OVERVIEW

Cooking techniques can help reduce the anti nutrients in black beans that hinder mineral absorption and impede digestion. Aim to eat a range of plant-based meals to obtain all essential amino acids, as black beans do not provide a complete protein supply.

Black beans vs. pinto beans

Another type of bean that is popular in Mexico is pinto. They and black beans are very similar.
Boiling pinto beans gives you almost the same amount of protein, carbohydrates, fiber, and fat that black beans do. Additionally, they have a comparable mineral composition, albeit with somewhat higher levels of calcium, copper, and folate (3, 15).
Additionally rich in antioxidants are pinto beans. Thus, they share many of the health benefits of black beans, such as their ability to decrease blood sugar and cholesterol (16, 17, 18).
Pinto beans are a different kind of bean, yet they have the same antinutrients as black beans (12, 13).
This implies that if pinto beans are more to your liking than black beans, you can still take advantage of the same health advantages.

OVERVIEW

Black beans and pinto beans both offer comparable nutritional profiles and health advantages.

How to prepare black beans

To lower the amount of anti nutrients in dried black beans, it is preferable to soak them before cooking. This implies that it could take some time to prepare black beans.
There are two ways to soak beans: one is to cover them with water and let them overnight, but you can also soak them sooner.
The following instructions will help you quickly soak and prepare dry black beans:
  1. Put the beans in a big pot and add water to cover. After bringing the water to a boil, let it boil for around two minutes. After that, turn off the heat and leave the pot with the beans inside for a few hours.
  2. After draining, put the beans in a pot with fresh water. Bring the water to a boil once more. After then, reduce the heat and cover.
  3. For two hours, simmer the beans, adding more boiling water as needed. To keep the beans from clinging to the saucepan or to each other, stir them occasionally.
  4. When the beans are soft, drain them. Add your preferred seasoning or salt, then savor.
As an alternative to making dry black beans from scratch, canned black beans are simpler, more available, and more convenient. This is a result of the precooked beans in cans.
They are also very healthy, but they also have a lot of sodium in them. For certain people, high blood pressure may be a result of eating excessive amounts of sodium. To lower the amount of salt in the beans, make sure to drain and rinse them before consuming them (19).
Additions of black beans to salads, curries, and quesadillas are fantastic. In addition, they can be added to rice, stews, chiles, and corn tortillas.

OVERVIEW

Black bean cooking is simple but takes time. Don't forget to soak them first to get rid of some of the anti nutrients .

The bottom line

Among the dry pulses that people eat the most commonly worldwide are black beans.
Rich in fiber, plant-based protein, and antioxidants that support blood pressure, sugar regulation, and cholesterol management, they are regarded as nutritional powerhouses.
Black beans, like most legumes, have anti nutrients that could interfere with your body's ability to absorb minerals and digest food. They become pleasant and soft and lose some of their antinutrient content when soaked or boiled before eating.