Black Beans

Black beans are also known as turtle beans because of their hard shell-like appearance. They are not to be confused with Chinese black beans, which are dried, salted and fermented soy beans and widely used in many Asian recipes and of course, black bean sauce.

 Look at the punch these little black beauties pack.

 One-half cup (92g) of raw black beans contains approximately 312 calories.

This measure will also contain 19.5 grams of protein, 0.8 grams of fat, 0 grams of cholesterol, 58 grams of carbohydrate and 14 grams of dietary fibre.

That same half cup serving provides approximately 44% of daily iron needs, 55% of thiamin, 100% of folate, 37% of magnesium, 40% of phosphorus, 39% of potassium and 13% of zinc needs.

Black beans also offer a variety of phytonutrients like saponins, anthocyanins, kaempferol and quercetin, all of which possess antioxidant properties.

The iron, phosphorouscalcium, magnesium, manganesecopper and zinc in black beans all contribute to building and maintaining bone structure and strength.

Calcium and phosphorus are important in bone structure, while iron and zinc play crucial roles in maintaining the strength and elasticity of bones and joints. 99% of the body’s calcium supply and 80% of its phosphorus stores are contained in bone, which makes it extremely important to get sufficient amounts of these nutrients from the diet.

Maintaining a low sodium intake is essential to lowering blood pressure. Black beans are naturally low in sodium and contain potassium, calcium, and magnesium, all of which have been found to decrease blood pressure naturally. Be sure to drain and rinse canned black beans to reduce sodium content.

The black bean’s fibre, potassium, folate, vitamin B6 and phytonutrient content, coupled with its lack of cholesterol, all support heart health. The fibre in black beans helps lower the total amount of cholesterol in the blood and decrease the risk of heart disease.

Vitamin B6 and folate prevent the buildup of a compound known as homocysteine. When excessive amounts of homocysteine accumulate in the body, it can damage blood vessels and lead to heart problems.

The quercetin and saponins found in black beans also aid in cardio-protection. Quercetin is a natural anti-inflammatory that appears to reduce the risk of atherosclerosis and protect against the damage caused by low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. Research also indicates that saponins help lower blood lipid and blood cholesterol levels, which prevents damage to the heart and blood vessels.

Selenium is a mineral that is not present in most fruits and vegetables but can be found in black beans. It plays a role in liver enzyme function, and helps detoxify some cancer-causing compounds in the body. Additionally, selenium prevents inflammation and also decreases tumour growth rates . Saponins prevent cancer cells from multiplying and spreading throughout the body

Fibre intakes from fruits and vegetables like black beans are associated with a lowered risk of colorectal cancer

Black beans are high in folate, which plays a role in DNA synthesis and repair, thus preventing the formation of cancer cells from mutations in the DNA.

Because of their fibre content, black beans help to prevent constipation and promote regularity for a healthy digestive tract.

Dietary fibre is commonly recognized as an important factor in weight loss and weight management by functioning as a “bulking agent” in the digestive system. High fibre foods increase satiety and reduce appetite, making you feel fuller for longer and thereby lowering your overall calorie intake.

Consuming fruits and vegetables of all kinds has long been associated with a reduced risk of many lifestyle-related health conditions. Many studies have suggested that increasing consumption of plant foods like black beans decreases the risk of obesitydiabetes, heart disease and overall mortality while promoting a healthy complexion and hair, increased energy and overall lower weight.

I wonder if they can also do the ironing and laundry too?

Wander around Brazil, and you’re bound to find the black turtle bean in the country’s national dish, feijoada (a stew of beans, beef and pork). In Cuba, a Gallo Pintt (rice and beans fried with spices, chillies and onion). In Mexico, a black bean burrito.

Armed with all this wonderment for this not so humble legume, I bought a packet of the dried beans and am waiting for a kitchen opportunity and some inspiration, to experiment with these little black pearls.


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