Healthy eating can often seem complicated, time-consuming, and expensive. After wading through the latest list of superfoods, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the only way to eat healthily is to spend a fortune on exotic foods and then using all your free time following intricate recipes.
In reality, healthy eating, even if you want to lose weight, is actually very simple. After all, ancient populations learned to eat healthily without the aid of fitness gurus, influencers, and the internet. Instead, they ate natural foods they found growing near where they lived.
Most people would benefit by following this example.
That means eating more vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and beans, and less processed food. Healthy eating really is that simple!
And speaking of beans, this unsung food hero is a nutritional staple for lots of people. They’re cheap, healthy, and easy to prepare. There are lots of bean varieties to choose from, and one of the most popular is black beans.
Also known as turtle beans because of their hard, shiny appearance, black beans are very nutritious, but are they good for weight loss?
Long story short, black beans could help you lose weight, and in this article, we reveal how and what makes them such a healthy food.
Are Black Beans Good for Weight Loss?
What are Black Beans?
Black beans are a type of legume. Other legumes include kidney beans, lentils, peas, and peanuts. In simple terms, beans are seeds of leguminous plants.
Black beans are sold dried and need to be soaked and rehydrated before cooking and also come ready to eat in cans. However, even canned black beans should be rinsed before eating.
Beans are very nutritious and contain a lot of beneficial vitamins, minerals, and plant compounds. A half-cup (86 gram) of cooked black beans provides the following:
Protein: 7.62 g
Fat: 0.46 g
Carbohydrate: 20.39 g
Fiber: 7.5 g
Sugars: 0.28 g
In addition, beans contain the following vitamins and minerals:
- Vitamin K
Black beans are high in plant compounds called antioxidants, which also have health-boosting benefits. The antioxidants in black beans include saponins, anthocyanins, kaempferol, and quercetin.
Black Beans and Weight Loss
Black beans are high in carbs, which means they are not suitable for low-carb keto dieters. However, providing you aren’t following keto, eating black beans can help you lose weight in several different ways:
Low in calories – by weight, cooked black beans contain a lot of water and fiber, both of which are free from calories. Even a large serving of black beans provides relatively few calories. Replacing high-calorie foods with beans means you can eat plenty of food while still creating the calorie deficit necessary for weight loss and fat burning.
Filling – beans are high in protein and fiber. Protein and fiber are gastric inhibitors, which means they keep food in your stomach for longer. Despite being low in calories, a serving of beans should keep you feeling full for several hours. With less hunger to contend with, you should have no problem sticking to your diet.
Boost your metabolism – black beans contain protein, and protein has a high thermogenic cost. That means eating protein uses energy. Eating beans will give your metabolism a small but beneficial bump, leading to an increase in caloric expenditure.
Stable blood glucose – the fiber in beans can help regulate your blood glucose. Low, stable blood glucose levels help prevent fat storage and promote fat burning. Black beans are also low in sugar, and the carbs are the slow-digesting kind.
The Health Benefits of Black Beans
Black beans are undeniably good for weight loss, but they offer some additional health benefits, too, including:
Healthier bones – black beans contain several minerals that are linked to stronger, healthier bones, such as calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium.
A lot of people think that the best place to get calcium is milk, but black beans are an equally beneficial source.
Reduced risk of heart disease – fiber, folate, and the antioxidants in black beans are all linked to a lower risk of heart disease.
Heart disease is characterized by a buildup of fatty deposits in the blood vessels that supply your heart with oxygenated blood.
Better digestive health – most processed foods are very low in fiber. This can have an adverse effect on digestive health. A half-cup of cooked black beans contains a whopping 7.5 grams of fiber, which is roughly 20% of the recommended amount most adults need.
Reduced cancer risk – beans contain anti-cancer nutrients, including selenium, fiber, and saponins. Beans offer protection from several different cancers, including colorectal, liver, and stomach.
Better cholesterol ratios – black beans have been shown to decrease bad LDL cholesterol and increase good HDL cholesterol. A balance of low LDL to good HDL cholesterol can help reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke, as well as coronary heart disease.
Reduced risk of type 2 diabetes – eating black beans can lead to lower, more stable blood glucose levels. Prolonged high blood glucose is a known cause of type 2 diabetes. People who eat beans are less likely to develop type 2 diabetes than non-bean eaters, and eating black beans can make managing diabetes easier.
Muscle repair and growth – black beans are a good source of muscle-building protein. Add them to meals that contain meat to increase the protein content cheaply and easily, or eat beans instead of animal proteins if you are vegetarian, vegan, or just want a meat-free meal.
There are very few downsides to eating black beans. They’re highly nutritious, low in calories, contain protein and fiber, and are also cheap and easy to prepare.
The main issue with black beans is that some people find them hard to digest and experience bloating and gas as a result.
This is because black beans contain oligosaccharides called galactans.
People who produce too little of the enzyme needed to break down galactans (alpha-galactosidase) may find that eating black beans leads to uncomfortable stomach upsets.
In many cases, this problem can be avoided by soaking black beans for 24 hours and then rinsing them, which removes some of the galactans.
Alternatively, you can take a digestive enzyme supplement to make beans easier to break down.
Also, if you have a sensitivity to black beans, start off eating them occasionally and in small amounts. Increase volume and frequency gradually to give your body a chance to get used to digesting black beans.
Black beans are a very useful weight-loss food. They’re cheap, versatile, and low in calories. Because they contain plenty of protein and fiber, eating beans will keep you feeling full for many hours, which could help prevent overeating and make sticking to your chosen diet a whole lot easier.
Black beans aren’t just good for weight loss; they’re very healthy too. Eating black beans could reduce your risk of heart disease, cancer, and diabetes, and the fiber in black beans is especially good for your digestive system.
Black beans are rich in vitamins, minerals, and other plant compounds, which only adds to their nutritional status.
If there is a downside to black beans, it is that some people find them hard to digest and feel bloated and gassy after eating them. Minimize this problem by increasing your intake of black beans slowly and soaking and then rinsing them before eating. Taking a digestive enzyme supplement may also help.
Black beans are high in carbs, so they’re not suitable for low-carb diets. But, providing you’re not doing keto, black beans could help you lose weight when eaten as part of a calorie-controlled diet.