Beans Health benefits | NutritionFacts - Health & Food
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                                 Beans health benefits nutritional facts

Beans are among the oldest cultivated and most widely used foods in the world. They also are relatively inexpensive to produce, are portable, and have a long storage life Their low cost and high nutritional value have contributed to their global popularity.

Fruit, Vegetable, Meat Alternative:

Beans are an inexpensive and flavorful source of protein, fiber, carbohydrates, and micronutrients, which often are lacking in American diets.

beans are the fruits of bean plants, they function in the diet as a vegetable and as a nonmeat protein source, as well as an excellent source of fiber. Still, many consumers view beans erroneously as a starch, like rice or pasta.ben1

Nutrients and Other Beneficial  in Beans:

  • Beans have a nutritional profile that suits all ages, providing cholesterol-free protein, fiber, magnesium, potassium, B vitamins, resistant starch, and the more recently discovered phytonutrients.
  • Their nutrient profile fits with the dietary needs of growing children and teenagers as well as adults. Protein is critical for growth and development in children and adolescents, and beans cooked until tender are an easy-to-chew protein source and an appealing finger food for young children.
  • Children who eat beans have significantly greater intakes of fiber, magnesium, and potassium than do those who do not eat beans. Bean eaters between the ages of 12 and 19 years also weigh significantly less and have smaller waist measurements compared with nonYbean eaters.
  • For adults who want to moderate their fat and cholesterol intakes, beans are a healthful alternative to meat. Several studies show that beans may help lower blood cholesterol.
  • soluble fiber and resistant starches in beans may help suppress appetite and manage blood sugar. Compared with other sources of carbohydrates,(GI) Glycemic Index  is a measurement carried out on carbohydrate-containing foods and their impact on our blood sugar.  beans exhibit a low glycemic index (GI) and produce a relatively flat blood-glucose response. For example, the GI of kidney beans is 23, and chickpeas is 42.
  • Long-grain, boiled white rice, however, produces a GI of 61, and a baked potato12 has a GI of 85. The glycemic load (GL) is another related indicator of a food’s effect on blood glucose.baer14
  • Whereas GI is based on the effect of a standard 50-g amount of a food on blood sugar, GL accounts for carbohydrate quality and quantity. Calculations are based on a typical single serving of the food.
  • For a half-cup standard serving of kidney beans, the GL is 6, and for chickpeas, the GL is 9. The same size serving of rice exhibits a GL of 22 and of baked potato,12 a GL of 26.
  • Beans contain health-promoting oligosaccharides (short-chain sugar polymers) and another functional carbohydrate, resistant starch.
  • Food starches are classified as either glycemic or resistant. Glycemic starches break down into glucose and then are absorbed into the bloodstream. Resistant starches, however, cannot be broken down by enzymes in the body and, because they cannot be absorbed, pass to the large intestine for fermentation by intestinal bacteria.
  • Similar to the actions of dietary fiber, resistant starch helps decrease intestinal transit time and increase fecal bulk. Beans contain several important minerals.
  • One-half cup of beans supplies 10% or more of the daily values for potassium, magnesium, and iron. (See illustration in Sidebar B on the 12 key nutrients in beans.) Cooked dry beans are very low in sodium, and rinsing canned beans reduces sodium content by approximately 40%.13 Beans also offer even higher antioxidant contents than some wines and many vegetables do.
  • Longevity Several studies have shown that people who eat a Mediterranean-style diet, rich in plant foods, including beans, have lower risks of heart disease and some cancers
  •  Every 20-g increase in daily intake of legumes produced a 7% to 8% reduction in risk of death. Even after controlling for age, sex, and smoking, the link to beans was still statistically significant. No other food or food group affected survival across culturesVnot olive oil, nor fish, nor other fruits and vegetables.ban2

Reducing Cancer

  • Risk Several specific bean constituents offer possible roles in reducing cancer risk: saponins, inositol, resistant starch, and fiber. Saponins, a class of phytonutrients found in beans, may help reduce the risk of lung and blood.
  •  Beans also are an abundant source of inositol, specifically inositol hexaphosphate, an antioxidant compound that can help prevent cancer and control the growth, progression, and spread of tumors in animals.
  • Inositol hexaphosphate has not yet been studied for its effectiveness in human beings. A strong correlation exists between high intakes of resistant starch, present in beans, and lower risks of colorectal cancer.
  • The fiber and resistant starch in beans increase the production of short-chain fatty acids, such as acetate, propionate, and butyrate, as a result of fermentation by intestinal bacteria of the undigested carbohydrates. (Studies suggest that butyrate may help slow the growth of colon tumor cells
  • However, in another recent study, bean consumption had no effect on total short-chain fatty acid production, and propionic and butyric acid production actually was lower.
  • Eating beans also did not affect gut bacterial populations, except for Escherichia coli, which also was lower. Hyperinsulinemia also may be a factor in increasing cancer risk.
  • Several population studies, for example, have found that consuming a diet consisting of low-GL foods, such as beans, is associated with a reduced risk of colorectal cancer.
  •  Epidemiologic data connecting beans and reduced risk of various cancers have been suggestive, and here is a summary of the findings, which may provide the foundation for smaller controlled studies as well as for larger clinical intervention trials.bea2
  • A study of African American, white, Japanese, and Chinese men showed that those people with the highest intake of legumes, such as beans, were significantly less likely to have prostate cancer.
  •  A recent analysis of more  Studies revealed that a high intake of legumes, including beans, was associated with a significantly lower risk of pancreatic cancer among overweight and obese subjects.

 

Controlling Blood Sugar:

  • Beans may reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and improve diabetes control.Over the years, several dietary-intervention studies have shown that increasing dietary intakes of legumes, including beans, as well as whole grain foods and other vegetables, positively affects blood glucose management and insulin sensitivity.
  • For example, in one study, the glycemic responses to 5 kinds of beans were tested and compared with the glycemic response to bread. Although glycemic responses to different beans varied, all were significantly lower than the response to bread.

Promoting Cardiovascular :

  • Health Several components of beans decrease cardiovascular disease: soluble fiber, phytosterols, magnesium, potassium, copper, and folate. Consuming enough fruits and vegetables (including beans) rich in potassium and magnesium is a critical component of the DASH Diet approach to controlling hypertension.
  • As part of the long-term, 4,000-person Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) Study, researchers found that greater consumption of legumes was linked to a lower incidence of hypertension
  •  Less well documented are the effects of copper, highly available in beans, which may help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
  • Folate, too, may help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke.

 

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