Beans provide good nutrition. Raw bean sprouts or cooked beans provide protein, vitamins and fiber. Here are some of the lesser known facts of bean nutrition.
1) Beans Help Prevent Cancer
Besides being a good source of protein and vitamins, beans can help prevent cancer. Here's how:
- Beans are high in isoflavones, which can help stunt the growth of breast cancer cells. Isoflavones prevent cancerous cells in the breast from taking in estrogen, which can prevent and help treat this type of cancer.
- Beans are high in antioxidants. Antioxidants help eliminate free radicals from your body, which can slow the signs of aging and prevent a variety of cancers.
- Beans are high in dietary fiber, which can help prevent colon cancer.
2) Beans Rate Low on the Glycemic Index
The glycemic index measures the effect different foods have on blood sugar, or glucose, levels. Foods that rate high on the glycemic index raise your blood glucose levels quickly, but typically that spike in blood sugar levels doesn't last long, and when your glucose levels fall again, they could fall to levels even lower than before. If this happens too often, you put yourself at risk for conditions like diabetes and hypoglycemia.
You want to eat foods that rate low on the glycemic index. Such foods raise your blood glucose levels in a stable manner, so that you don't experience huge spikes in blood sugar, nor do your sugar levels bottom out, leaving you feeling weak and shaky. Here are some of the benefits of eating low-GI foods:
- They help you manage your weight.
- They reduce your risk of diabetes and heart disease.
- They improve your physical stamina.
3) Beans Are Good for Your Digestion
Beans are easy to digest and the high amounts of dietary fiber they contain can help relieve the symptoms of constipation. For those of you who are concerned about flatulence, here are some tips to keep beans from embarrassing you socially:
- Soaking beans prior to cooking removes many of the sugars, oligosaccharides, that they contain. It's these sugars that cause the bacteria in your intestines to produce the gas commonly associated with beans. Reduce the sugars, reduce the gas.
- Drink plenty of water with your beans.
- Once you've cooked your beans, rinse them in fresh water.
- Eat beans regularly, and your digestive tract will become more accustomed to them.
- Eat softer varieties of beans, like string beans, wax beans and snap beans. Avoid hard varieties of beans, like kidney and black beans.
- Eat bean sprouts, which offer all the nutrition of beans, without the embarrassing side effects.
4) Coffee Beans Are Nutritious, Too
The average cup of coffee contains between 80 and 135 mg of caffeine, which is a good reason not to drink more than two cups per day. However, many people don't realize that coffee has nutritional value. A cup of black coffee contains:
- 4.7 mg of calcium
- 71 mg of magnesium
- 116 mg of potassium
- 2.4 mg of omega-3 fatty acids
Coffee also contains B vitamins and protein.