Beans - a Multifaceted Beauty Product
I only started consuming more beans after I got married to a Brazilian from Rio de Janeiro, where beans are on the menu several times a week. I am usual very concerned about what I eat which is why I did some extensive research on these interesting legumes and I found that that besides being very nutritious, beans offer many health benefits and can even help you to lose weight.
The most important nutrients of beans are proteins. For many years, beans were consumed as a substitution for meat due to its high protein content which is why it was considered to be food for poor people for a long time. Nowadays, they are even considered to be a delicacy. The percentage of proteins is between 21 and 24% which is even higher than the percentage in tuna, veal and chicken (18-21%). As beans have a lack of the essential amino acid methionine, the proteins cannot be processed as easily as in other foods such as milk, eggs and meat. However, if combined with other plant-based foods that contain a lot of methionine (grains, sunflower seeds or yeast), the combination of two partly inferior proteins results in the intake of a high-quality protein. Black and dark beans were found to contain proteins that can be processed more easily than red and white beans.
2) Fiber for Lower Cholesterol
Beans are high in fiber with 15.2g of fibre per 100g which is more than half of the recommended daily intake for adults (25g). They prevent constipation and lower the level of cholesterol in the blood. It was found in an experiment that consuming a meal with 120g of beans every day over three weeks decreases cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the blood by 10 percent.
3) Folic Acid against Heart Disease
A warm meal of beans delivers the recommended daily intake of folic acid (200µg). During pregnancy, the need for folic acid even rises (400µg) which is why pregnant women should regularly integrate beans in their diet. People with an increased risk of coronary heart disease should also increase their intake of folic acid.
4) Iron against Anemia
100g of dried beans deliver more than 10mg of iron which corresponds to an adult’s recommended daily intake. One should add a couple of drops of lemon juice to increase the absorption of iron which is facilitated through Vitamin C. The content of iron is significantly higher in beans than in meat and spinach (around 3mg/100g). Thus, beans are recommended for those who suffer from anemia and malnutrition.
5) Vitamins for Healthier Skin and Hair
Two vitamins, niacin and pantothenic acid, are very important for the skin. Niacin is also called Vitamin B3 and supports many chemical reactions in our cells. An acute lack of this vitamin can cause pellagra which is a disease characterized by dermatitis, diarrhea and dementia. Although this disease practically does not occur in industrialized countries, the occurrence of slight chapped or scaly skin is possible. Furthermore, beans are beneficial for people with eczema, skin irritations, dry skin and allergies. It was also found that beans have a positife effect on hair follicles which is why people who suffer from hair loss, an oversecretion of the sebaceous glands or dandruff should increase beans on a regular basis.
6) Lower Blood Pressure
Due to a low level of sodium and a high level of potassium, beans help lower blood pressure. Only one cup of legumes which include beans, peas and lentils can lead to lower blood sugar levels.
7) Cholecystokinin for Weight Loss
A digestive hormone called Cholecystokinin is contained in beans and suppresses the appetite. The level of this hormone was found to be twice as high after a meal rich in fiber than after a low-fiber meal. Beans also help stabilize the blood sugar as they consist of complex carbohydrates and are thus a low-glycemic food. These prevent food cravings and keep you satisfied for much longer.
Now that you have learned about the health benefits of this magic vegetable, I have written a very easy recipe which contains black-eyed beans (or peas) and can be cooked even by those with very little cooking experience. Try Black-Eyed Bean Stew with Mushrooms!
Black-Eyed Bean Stew with Mushrooms
- 250g (8.8oz) Black-eyed Beans
- 5 Big Mushrooms
- 1 Small Onion
- 1 Garlic Clove
- Soak the beans for 6-8 hours or overnight in cold water. If you don't have time to soak the beans, cook them for 2-4 hours and test them every half hour.
- The next day, cook the beans for 1 hour to 90 minutes. Keep stirring regularly and add water as it gets low to avoid the beans from burning.
- Cut the mushrooms in slices and chop the onions and garlic finely. Add them to the beans 30 minutes before you take them off the stove. If you add them earlier, you risk overcooking the vegetables.
- Then add broth or salt.
- Serve the stew with rice as a rice-bean combination delivers you all of the essential amino acids and form complete proteins.