Beans Balance Blood Sugar and 4 More Things You Should Know

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November 05, 2014

Beans Balance Blood Sugar and 4 More Things You Should Know

Plant based diets are all the rage, and beans can play a central role as they are full of health benefits. Here are five things you need to know.

Plant based diets are all the rage, and beans can play a central role as they are hearty, protein rich, filling, and full of health benefits. Here are five things you need to know.

Soak Your Beans. Why? Dry beans should always be soaked; soaking means getting rid of some of the phytates and tannins contained in the beans that can lower nutrient availability and inhibit digestion of certain minerals. Soaking beans also reduces flatulence-related substances like raffinose (up to 33 percent) and stachyose (up to 20 percent).

Food for Probiotics. Beans contain an indigestible fraction (IF) that fuels the good bacteria in the colon to produce butyric acid. Cells lining the inside of the colon can use butyric acid to fuel their many activities and keep the lower digestive tract functioning properly. Decreased colon cancer risk that is associated with bean intake may be related to the IF content.

Boost Iron. Iron is an integral component of hemoglobin, which transports oxygen from the lungs to all body cells, and is also part of key enzyme systems for energy production and metabolism. Because of this, beans can help increase your energy, focus, and athletic performance by helping to replenish your iron stores. A one cup serving of beans provides 24 percent of the daily recommended intake of iron.

Stabilize Blood Sugar. The fiber in beans helps you balance blood sugar levels while providing steady, slow-burning energy. Studies of high fiber diets and blood sugar levels have shown the dramatic benefits. Researchers compared two groups of people with type 2 diabetes who were fed different amounts of high fiber foods. One group ate 24 grams of fiber per day, while the other group ate a diet containing 50 grams of fiber per day. Those who ate the diet higher in fiber had lower blood sugar and reduced their total cholesterol by nearly 7 percent, their triglyceride levels by 10 percent and their VLDL (the most dangerous form of cholesterol) levels by 12.5 percent.

Boost Your Memory. Beans are rich in vitamin B1 or thiamin, which is central to the synthesis of acetylcholine, the important neurotransmitter essential for memory and whose lack has been found to be a significant contributing factor in age-related impairment in mental function and even Alzheimer’s disease.