Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Food Feature: Black Beans

You know, I got a brilliant idea this week and I want to run with it. From time to time I want to do a close-up feature on a specific fruit/vegetable/legume/seed/nut or grain.

I'm a genius! Okay, so a few days ago, one of my friends posted on his facebook page that he was deciding to eat healthier and he posted an image of his grocery cart. Inside of it were bulk grains, veggies, fruits, and *cough* Greek yogurt *cough*. My first reaction was "What??! No Meat?" And of course I added a smiley face because I was super excited. And then, of course, my next reaction was "Um, throw that yogurt out."

He I.L'd (Internet Laughed) and told me he still wanted to get lots of protein in his diet (ugh...AGAIN with the protein!) and since a serving of yogurt had 14g of protein, that's what he picked. And so I'm sitting here going, "Pfffftt... 14 measly grams of protein?" So I started throwing out the protein contents of legumes and I'm pretty sure I knocked him off his feet. 

And since I'm making slow-cooker Black Bean soup for dinner tonight, I thought that it might be a good idea to be the kick-off food for our "Food Feature."

So, what's so great about Black Beans? I think most people know one thing: Cafe Rio offers both black beans and pinto beans and because black beans look like black lumpy ooze, we stick with the safe bet. And that's about it. 

Let's start with the big one. Protein. One cup of  of black beans contains 42 grams of protein. Can anyone guess how much protein a cup of chicken has? How about 35 grams?

But let's go beyond that:

                                                                       Black Beans                             Chicken
Total Fat                                                                2.8 g                                     18 g
Saturated fat                                                           0.7 g                                    4.9 g
Polyunsaturated fat                                                  1.2 g                                    3.8 g
Monounsaturated fat                                               0.2 g                                      7 g
Cholesterol                                                              0 mg                                  109 mg
Sodium                                                                  10 mg                                  94 mg
Total Carbohydrate                                                121 g                                      0 g
Dietary fiber                                                            30 g                                      0 g
Protein                                                                    42 g                                      35 g

Recent research shows that black beans provide special support for our digestive tract health, and particularly . . . our colon. Black Beans have been shown to be the perfect mix of substances for allowing bacteria in the colon to produce what's called butyric acid. The cells lining the inside of the colon can use this butyric acid to fuel their many activities and keep the lower digestive tract functioning properly. 

Long story short. You don't get constipated, you reduce the amount of "deadly gas" because your colon and intestines are functioning properly, AND you have a lower colon cancer risk.

Here are some other reasons that this food is "super":

  • Regulates Blood Sugar
  • Decreases the Risk of Cardiovascular Disease
  • Amazing Antioxidant and Anti-Inflammatory Phytonutrients
So, next time you go shopping, pick up some bags or pick up some low-sodium canned Black Beans because you'll be doing something good for your heart, your joints, your colon, and your whole body!

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