Beans, kidney beans, kidney beans, beans or kidney beans, are undisputed protagonists of many typical dishes, especially from Central America.
However, versatility is not its only beneficial trait. According to different investigations, they also have many ideal properties to take care of health.
What are beans?
Beans are the seeds, although the plant is also often called that, from Phaseolus vulgarisbelonging to the family Fabaceae.
For this reason, it is related to other recognized legumes, such as peas, chickpeas, huizaches, lentils, mesquites, and soybeans.
There are many types of beans, it is estimated that around 150. Among the most popular are:
The white bean, boston, broad bean or white pea is one of the best known varieties of P. vulgaris. The lima or butter bean falls into this category.
It is smaller than other types of beans, oval in shape and slightly flattened. It is usually cooked in the oven, in cakes or in soups.
In a 100 g portion of white beans we can find 60 g of carbohydrates, 4 g of sugars, 24 g of fiber and 22 g of protein. In addition, it provides 338 calories.
The bean, poroto or black bean is a grain produced by different varieties of P. vulgaris.
It is common to find it in different cuisines of America, such as in Brazil (feijoiada), Cuba (mixed with white rice), Guatemala (fried or blended), Mexico (refried black beans), or Venezuela (pasta or Creole pavilion).
In 100 g of black beans we find 341 calories, 62 g of carbohydrates, 2 g of sugars, 15 g of fiber, 21 g of proteins.
It is believed that the azuki bean or adzuki bean (Vigna angularis) is native to the Himalayan region. Subsequently, its consumption spread and became popular in Japan, being the second most consumed legume, only surpassed by soybeans.
It has an intense red hue and a sweet flavor, which is why it is often used to make cakes and even ice cream.
In a 100 g serving of azuki we find 57 g of carbohydrates, 16 g of fiber, 17 g of protein and 295 calories. In addition, they have less fat and are easier to digest than their relatives.
Another very common variety of P. vulgaris It is the kidney bean, a name that comes from its enormous similarity with the renal organ. The kidney bean should not be confused with the azuki bean, which, although similar, are two different varieties.
A 100 g serving of kidney beans offers 127 calories, 22 g carbohydrates, 0.4 sugar, 7.5 fiber, and 9 g protein.
how to cook beans
To cook beans you can follow these recommendations:
- Cleaning: to remove branches or soil from the beans, you must rinse them with the help of a strainer.
- Soaking: once clean, it is advisable to let them rest in water so that they soften and we achieve adequate cooking. To do this, place them in a pot with water (the ratio of liquid is 3 cups of water to 1 cup of beans) and let them boil for 2 to 3 minutes. Then remove from heat and let stand for an hour. Drain and rinse with cold water. Another option for soaking is to cover them directly with cold water and leave them for 8 hours or overnight.
- Cooking: once soaked you must boil water and place them in the pot. They usually take between half an hour and two hours. Try to stir them so they don’t stick, add hot water if necessary (so as not to lose temperature) and add a tablespoon of oil to avoid foam. When they are soft or tender remove from heat, and drain immediately.
- Discover the fantastic powers of legumes
benefits of beans
Beans have been part of the cuisine of many cultures for centuries. For this reason, many researchers decided to analyze its effects on the body, and found certain benefits:
Most bean varieties share a rich fiber content, an essential component for good gastrointestinal health and digestion.
This is because fiber helps increase the volume of stool, normalizes bowel movements, prevents problems such as constipation or diarrhea and promotes intestinal cleansing, preventing the appearance of ulcers.
Supports cardiovascular health
Beans are rich in iron and copper, two minerals that play a fundamental role in the functioning of the circulatory system.
Iron helps produce red blood cells, thus improving blood circulation and oxygenation of the body. Without it, we are prone to anemia, weakness, and bone problems. While copper is involved in the synthesis of hemoglobin.
Another key mineral for the heart is magnesium, which works in a similar way to potassium, as a natural vasodilator. This reduces the tension in the blood vessels, and therefore blood pressure, preventing heart attacks or strokes.
Many investigations ensure that, due to their nutritional composition, beans are excellent options to add to the diet of people with diabetes and facilitate blood sugar control.
This is because they are rich in protein and fiber that improve insulin sensitivity, have a low glycemic index (a measure of how quickly a food can raise blood sugar), and also offer antioxidant properties.
Another remarkable property of beans is their antioxidant effects. The researchers explain that this is due to the presence of copper and manganese, two minerals that are involved in the production of enzymes that prevent the propagation and impact of free radicals.
These are unstable molecules that affect healthy cell structures and favor the appearance of many diseases, including cancer. For this last reason, many studies have evaluated the anticancer potential of beans.
Although its consumption is shown to be beneficial for most people, beans were also associated with side effects.
Professionals believe that this is due to an excessive intake of fiber or the presence of hemagglutinin in these legumes, which are associated with gastrointestinal problems, such as flatulence, pain, bloating or constipation.
However, these effects have been recorded when bean consumption exceeded three cups per day. Remember, the key is in moderation.
Beans have been part of the human diet for centuries. We can find them of many types, such as white, black, kidney or azuki, although there are 150 varieties.
They are not only a delicious option to complement your dishes, they can also offer many benefits thanks to their nutritional composition: take care of the heart, control diabetes, prevent digestive problems and even the appearance of certain diseases.
But be careful, when eating them moderation is essential. Otherwise, you may suffer from flatulence or stomach pain.
Sources consulted: Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database, US National Library of Medicine, US Department of Agriculture, US National Cancer Institute, National Institute of Complementary and Alternative Medicine, American Society for Nutrition .