Beans are so loaded with nutrition and taste and may help to prevent health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer.
Beans have a number of characteristics that make them heart-healthy. They are low in fat and saturated fat, and contain soluble fibre and a number of phytochemicals, both of which help lower your cholesterol levels.
The folate in beans is also beneficial, since it helps lower levels of homocysteine, an amino acid that may increase the risk of heart disease when found in high amounts in the blood.
Consuming more legumes may lower your risk for type 2 diabetes. People who consumed more beans are less likely to develop diabetes, perhaps due to the fibre and antioxidants contained in the beans or due to the low glycaemic index of the beans compared to other carbohydrates.
The glycaemic index measures the effect of carbohydrate-containing foods on blood sugar, with foods low on the index causing blood sugar levels to rise.
Men who consumed more legumes may be less likely to get prostate cancer. Eating more beans may help lower your risk for other types of cancer as well, due to the combination of fibre, antioxidants, phytochemicals, vitamins and minerals and the fact that they are low in fat.
Beans contain both soluble and insoluble fibre, so they work double to keep the digestive system running smoothly.
The first slows down digestion, which gives one that full feeling, and the second helps prevent constipation. And beans are not as bad for gas as you think.
High levels of LDL cholesterol (the bad kind) can stick to the walls of your blood vessels, causing inflammation and plaque build-up.
A healthy cardiovascular system starts with what you eat, and beans are one low-fat food you want on your team. The soluble fibre in beans binds to cholesterol in the GI tract, which prevents it from being absorbed in the blood.
Eating one serving of beans daily can reduce your LDL levels by five per cent and your chances of developing cardiovascular disease.
In addition to belly-filling fibre, beans are loaded with protein, another nutrient that curbs cravings. Because the protein and fibre in beans delay stomach emptying, you feel fuller longer and have a delayed return of hunger.
A half cup of cooked black beans for example contains nearly eight grams of protein and even better, its low-fat nature makes it easier for you to lose weight.
A Freelance Journalist, Entrepreneur and Philanthropist. Editor-in-Chief of www.233times.com. A contributory writer for Ghanaian Chronicle Newspaper. An alumnus of Adisadel College where he read General Arts. He holds first degree in Bachelor of Arts from the University of Ghana; Political Science (major) and History (minor). He has also pursued MSc Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Energy with Public Relations (PR) at the Robert Gordon University in the United Kingdom. His mentors are Rupert Murdoch, Warren Buffet, Sam Jonah, Kwaku Sakyi Addo and Piers Morganview all posts by: Nana Kwesi Coomson
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