Alphabetical Plant Listing

Why Beans Are Good for Your Health

Beans, Black Beans, Bush Beans, Cannellini Beans, Cranberry Beans, French Beans, Green Beans, Kidney Beans, Lima Beans, Navy Beans, Pinto Beans, Pole Beans, Snap Beans, String Beans, Wax Bean

Beans bring a number of health benefits. Because of their nutritional composition, they have the potential to improve the diet quality and long-term health of those who consume them regularly.

1. Beans are a Rich Source of Fiber

  • Nutrition experts recommend that adults consume 25 to 38 grams of dietary fiber daily.
  • Beans are a rich source of soluble and insoluble fiber.
  • Fiber helps maintain the functioning of the digestive system and seems to reduce cholesterol, heart disease, stroke, hypertension, diabetes, obesity, and digestive illness.
  • Navy beans have about 20 grams of fiber per cup; Cranberry beans have 18 grams; Pinto and black beans have 16 grams.

2. Beans are Packed with Plant-based Protein

  • Beans contain between 21% and 25% protein by weight, much higher than other vegetable protein sources.
  • Most adults need around 0.8g of protein per kilo of body weight per day - for the average woman, this is 45 grams or 55 grams for men.
  • Most beans contain approximately 12 to 18 grams per cup. The USDA My Plate food guidance system has identified dry beans as a meat alternative.
  • Beans with the highest protein content per cup are Edamame (18 g), Cannellini beans (17 g), Adzuki beans (17g), Pinto beans (15 g), and Red kidney beans (15 g).

3. Beans Boost your Iron Intake

  • When iron intake is too low, the body can not produce enough red blood cells, causing fatigue, headaches, and dizziness, among other symptoms.
  • Most dry beans are rich sources of iron, making them essential for vegetarians and vegans who do not get an animal source of iron.
  • One cup of Cannellini beans provides 37% of the daily iron requirement, Adzuki beans (26%), Navy beans (24%), Red kidney beans (22%), and Edamame (20%) based on a 2000-calorie diet.

4. Beans Build Strong Bones with Magnesium

  • A lack of magnesium may increase the risk of hypertension, diabetes, bone loss, and migraine headaches.
  • The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for adults 19-51 years is 400-420 mg daily for men and 310-320 mg for women. Pregnancy requires about 350-360 mg daily and lactation 310-320 mg.
  • A half-cup of black beans provides about three times the magnesium as 3 ounces of beef or chicken and twice as much as most vegetables.
  • One cup of Black beans provides 120 mg of magnesium; Pink beans provide 110 mg; Navy beans provide 96 mg,

5. Beans are a Rich Source of Potassium

  • Keeping bones strong and healthy requires more than calcium and vitamin D. A host of vitamins and minerals are involved in building bones and preventing them from weakening. One of these is the mineral potassium.
  • The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for adults is 4700 mg daily.
  • White beans and adzuki beans have around 1200 mg per cup. Pinto beans, Navy beans, Lima beans, and Great Northern beans all have more than 700 mg per cup. Soybeans and Edamame are also good sources of potassium.
  • As a matter of comparison, one medium banana provides only 422 mg.

6. Beans contain Substantial Amounts of Zinc

  • Zinc is a mineral that plays many essential roles in your overall health, including cell division, immune function, wound healing, fertility in adults, and growth in children.
  • The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) is 11 mg daily.
  • One cup of Adzuki beans provides 37% of the recommended daily amount (4.1 mg); Chickpeas and Cannellini beans provide 22% (2.5 mg) each.

7. Beans are Especially Rich in Folate

  • The B vitamin folate is essential for producing red blood cells and developing an embryo’s nervous system during the early stages of pregnancy. Adequate intake of folic acid has been shown to reduce the risk of neural tube defects in newborns significantly.
  • The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for adult men/women (not pregnant or lactating) is 400 mcg.
  • One cup of Cranberry beans provides 91% of the recommended daily amount (366 mcg), Pinto beans provide 73% (294 mcg), and Pink beans provide 71% (284 mcg).

8. Beans can be beneficial for weight loss

  • Adding just a single serving of beans can improve your daily diet and weight loss efforts.
  • Consuming beans may contribute to feelings of short-term satiety due to the beans’ fiber and protein content.
  • Studies show that obese men following a diet high in proteins from legumes reported the greatest weight loss and significant reductions in waist circumference, body fat mass, blood pressure, and total cholesterol.

9. Beans may Reduce the Risk of Heart Disease

  • Elevated blood levels of triglycerides and cholesterol, especially LDL cholesterol, are significant contributing factors to heart disease.
  • A varied diet low in saturated fat with ample fiber (especially soluble) and B vitamins is among the recommendations for reducing cardiovascular disease risk factors.
  • Studies show that regular consumption of beans can help lower total and LDL cholesterol and other risk factors for heart disease.

10. Beans are Valuable in the Prevention of Diabetes and the Management of Blood Sugar Levels

  • Beans are rich in complex carbohydrates, which are digested more slowly. As a result, bean consumption has been shown to increase feelings of fullness and help regulate plasma glucose and insulin levels after meals.
  • Eating a variety of legumes, including beans, may be valuable in the prevention of diabetes and the management of blood sugar levels.


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