Though among the oldest cultivated crops, beans never gets outdated from the list of healthy foods. Beans finds place in our ‘junk food culture’ due to its easy-to –cook nature and wide variety. It is an important source of nutrition as it contains fibres, carbohydrates and many vital nutrients.
The highly soluble fibre present in this vegetable helps in reducing the harmful cholesterol levels. Bean seeds are as effective as oat bran in maintaining a healthy heart. They are high in potassium content and are also rich in other vital minerals such as magnesium. The right combination of potassium and magnesium results in the formation of certain electrolytes that helps in regulating the blood pressure. Thus, beans bring down the risk for stroke.
Yet another advantage of beans is that though high in protein and carbohydrates, it is low in fats and thereby calories. This combination together with the abundance of soluble fibre make beans an important part of an ideal diet.
Soluble fibre slows down the passage of insoluble fibre through the digestive tract. As a result of this process, you will feel ‘filled’ for a longer period.
Moreover, the decreased glycemic index carbohydrates found in beans forms a relatively more sustained source of energy. No wonder, beans are prescribed for obese kids as part of their ‘weight loss’ plan. The ‘sustained energy release’ factor makes beans good for diabetic patients as well. Beans ensure that the complex carbohydrates get digested into simpler sugar forms in a steady manner.
Beans is also an abundant source of insoluble fibre, which helps in cleaning the colon. Beans is also found to bring down the risk of colon and rectal cancer. The presence of antioxidants enables beans to act as an anti-aging agent. Of all the bean varieties, darker ones such as red beans and black beans are found to be excellent sources of antioxidants. Phytoestrogen or dietary estrogen present in beans is found to reduce the risk of breast cancer.