Black Beans: Health Benefits, Side Effects and How to use it

Black beans should be part of your diet if you want healthy heart and skin. Here are some of the health benefits of black beans.

Black beans are not only tasty, but also nutritious. They are full of nutrients such as fiber and protein that can help in weight management and keep your gut healthy. The small, black-coloured beans, that are classified as legumes, can also help with blood sugar regulation. Know more health benefits of black beans and ways to include them in your diet.

What are black beans?

Black beans are legumes commonly used in various cuisines across the globe. They are small, black-coloured beans with a creamy texture and a slightly sweet flavour. They are a rich source of various vitamins, and minerals, making them a nutritious addition to meals, says dietician Shruti K. Bhardwaj.

Black beans on a small wooden plate
Black beans are legumes. Image courtesy: Freepik

What are the health benefits of black beans?

Black beans are loaded with nutrients needed by your body. Here are some of the benefits:

1. May help in muscle repair and growth

Black beans are an excellent plant-based source of protein, essential for muscle repair and growth. Hundred grams of boiled black beans give 8.86 grams of protein, according to the United States Department of Agriculture.

2. Can be good for gut health

With a high fiber content, black beans promote digestive health by preventing constipation and regulating bowel movements. Fiber also helps in maintaining a healthy weight by keeping you feeling full for longer periods. As per the USDA, 100 grams of boiled black beans consist of 8.7 grams of fiber.

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3. May improve heart health

Black beans contribute to heart health by lowering cholesterol levels and reducing the risk of heart disease, says Bhardwaj. Their fiber, potassium, and folate content also help in maintaining healthy blood pressure levels.

4. Antioxidant properties

Loaded with antioxidants like anthocyanins, black beans help in combating inflammation and oxidative stress in the body, which can contribute to chronic diseases like diabetes.

5. Blood sugar regulation

The complex carbohydrates in black beans are digested slowly, preventing spikes in blood sugar levels. So, it can be consumed by diabetics or those looking to manage their blood sugar levels. According to a 2017 research published in the Nutrients, black beans can improve blood sugar control and reduce risk of developing certain chronic diseases, including type 2 diabetes.

6. Weight management

Black beans are low in fat and calories, but high in fiber and protein, making them a nutritious option for those aiming to lose or maintain weight. They provide satiety and help control cravings.

7. May boost bone health

Black beans contain essential minerals like calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus, which are crucial for maintaining bone strength and preventing osteoporosis, says the expert.

8. May lead to improved cognitive function

The folate and magnesium content in black beans support brain health and cognitive function. Folate plays a role in neurotransmitter function, while magnesium is essential for nerve transmission and muscle contraction.

9. May improve skin health

Black beans are beneficial for skin due to their antioxidant properties. Antioxidants help combat free radicals that can damage skin cells and contribute to premature ageing, says the expert. Also, the protein content in black beans supports collagen production, promoting skin elasticity and firmness.

Black beans on a wooden spoon placed next to a bag of black beans
Black beans are good for skin. Image courtesy: Freepik

How to include black beans in diet?

You don’t have to always make a curry out of black beans. Here are more options:

  • Toss black beans into salads for a nutritious boost.
  • Blend black beans with spices and herbs to make flavourful dips and spreads.
  • Use mashed black beans as a base for veggie burgers and patties.
  • Include black beans as a filling in burritos, tacos, or quesadillas.

What are the side effects of black beans?

Consuming black beans may cause flatulence and bloating in some people due to their high fiber content. To minimise these side effects, soak the beans before cooking and gradually increase your intake to allow your body to adjust, suggests Bhardwaj. But you should avoid eating black beans if you have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or other digestive disorders, as they can be difficult to digest.

While it is generally safe to consume black beans as part of a balanced diet, have them in moderation to avoid potential digestive issues.