What You Don't Know About Black Beans (Akidi)

Black beans (known as Akidi by the Igbos) is one of the legumes known for it's high protein content. Most people might not like these legumes due to their gas production and sometimes heart burns, but these are individual effects of consumption. There are overwhelming health benefits of these legumes especially Black beans. 

First of all let us consider the nutritional profile of Black beans. According to the National Nutrient Database, one-half cup (86g) of cooked black beans contains approximately:
  • Energy - 114 kilocalories
  • Protein - 7.62 grams
  • Fat - 0.46 grams
  • Carbohydrate - 20.39 grams
  • Fiber - 7.5 grams
  • Sugars - 0.28 grams
  • Calcium - 23 milligrams
  • Iron - 1.81 milligrams
  • Magnesium - 60 milligrams
  • Phosphorus - 120 milligrams
  • Potassium - 305 milligrams
  • Sodium - 1 milligram
  • Zinc - 0.96 milligrams
  • Thiamin - 0.21 milligrams
  • Niacin - 0.434 milligrams
  • Folate - 128 micrograms
  • Vitamin K - 2.8 micrograms 
      Black beans prepared with rice

Black beans also provide phytonutrients such as saponins, anthocyanins, kaempferol, and quercetin, all of which possess antioxidant properties. Just like some beans and legumes, black beans contain starch - a complex form of carbohydrate which acts as a "slow burn" energy store that is slowly digested by the body, preventing rise in blood sugar levels. This is amazing right? let's get down to some overwhelming benefits then...

Maintaining healthy bones: The iron, phosphorous, calcium, magnesium, manganese, copper, and zinc contents of black beans all contribute to building and maintaining bone structure and strength.  

Rich in protein: Black beans nutrition also provides a high amount of plant-based protein, making it essential for people to avoid eating animal products and need to rely on beans, legumes, nuts and other plant foods for protein. In addition to many other essential antioxidants and nutrients which help naturally slow aging.

 Black beans soup

Lowering the blood pressure: Black beans are naturally low in sodium and contain potassium, calcium, and magnesium, all of which have been found to decrease blood pressure naturally. And according to many researches, low intake of sodium helps in keeping the blood pressure at an optimum level.

Contains Essential Vitamins and Minerals (Folate, Copper, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Vitamins B:
Black beans are an excellent source of numerous vitamins and minerals; They are high in magnesium, iron, and are also very high in folate, phosphorus, and B vitamins and many others. Folate plays an important role in DNA synthesis and repair. Iron is an important trace mineral found in every living cell. Iron is a primary component of two proteins: hemoglobin and myoglobin.
Magnesium like we know is very important in most biochemical functions in the body such as
  1. Energy metabolism
  2. Blood sugar control
  3. Protein synthesis
  4. Nerve functions and so on... 
 Vegetarian chili with red and black beans

Cancer prevention: Selenium is a very important mineral that is not seen in most fruits and vegetables but can be found in black beans. It plays a role in liver enzyme function and helps detoxify some cancer-causing compounds in the body. Also, selenium prevents inflammation and decreases tumor growth rates. Fiber intakes black beans is associated with a lowered risk of colorectal cancer. Black beans are  high in folate, which plays a role in DNA synthesis and repair, thus preventing the formation of cancer cells from mutations in the DNA. Also, black beans contain saponins which prevent cancer cells from multiplying and spreading throughout the body.

Digestive Tract Benefits: Both protein and fiber can move through the digestive tract at a moderate pace. In terms of digestion, they also help to steady digestive processes. The idea of digestive tract support from black beans may sound surprising to many people, due to the fact that people think about black beans (and beans in general) as problem-causing foods in the digestive tract, probably largely because of gas production. But recent research has shown that black beans actually provide special support in the lower large intestine (colon) where this gas is mostly produced. The indigestible fraction (IF) in black beans is larger than that in other legumes. It is the perfect mix of substances for allowing bacteria in the colon to produce butyric acid. Cells lining the inside of the colon can use this butyric acid to fuel their  activities and keep the lower digestive tract functioning properly. By delivering a greater amount of IF to the colon, They provide fuel for the healthy bacteria in the colon.

Why eat meat everyday as your source of protein?

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