Pros and Cons of Consuming Beans in your Daily Diet
- 03 06
Beans are commonly known to be an inexpensive way to add proteins to your diet. They can be added to salads, soups, pasta, stews, side dishes, dips, and puree in baked goods. A half-cup serving of beans provides 6 grams of fiber, 8 grams of protein, and negligible amounts of fat. Beans are rich in copper, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, and iron.
Advantages of eating beans
Good for the heart
Eating beans is good for the heart. Beans have soluble fiber and phytochemicals such as saponins and phytosterols that help lower "bad" cholesterol levels. The folate content of beans helps reduce the amount of homocysteine (an amino acid) in the body, which may increase the risk of heart disease in large amounts.
reduces the risk of developing Type II diabetes
The consumption of beans reduces the risk of developing Type II diabetes. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that people who ate more beans were less prone to suffering from diabetes, possibly due to the low glycemic index of the beans or due to the high fiber and antioxidant content.
Reduces the risk of developing prostate cancer
Eating beans reduces the risk of developing prostate cancer. A study published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention in 2000 showed that men who ate more beans had a lowered risk of prostate cancer. The risk of developing other types of cancer is also reduced due to the presence of isoflavones and phytosterols. Another study conducted by scientists at the Harvard School of Public Health showed that women who ate beans twice a week had a 25 percent lower risk of developing breast cancer than those who ate beans only once a month.
Helps reduce weight
Regular consumption of beans helps reduce weight. Since beans are rich in fiber, the stomach remains full for longer and the blood sugar levels take time to rise. Thus, the body gets a steady supply of glucose for longer and you feel less hungry. A study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition reported that people who ate more beans had a 22 percent lower risk of being overweight and were more likely to have a narrower waist than those who did not eat beans. A cup of black beans (250 mL) provides 60 percent of the daily recommended value of fiber.
Disadvantages of eating beans
- Beans contain a large amount of indigestible fiber that may cause gastrointestinal issues. One way to get around the problem is to change the water in which beans are soaked at regular intervals. When including beans in your daily diet, ensure that you drink adequate amounts of water and get plenty of physical exercise. This will boost your body's metabolism and aid bowel movement. You can also increase the quantity of beans consumed daily in gradual amounts. If symptoms such as intestinal cramps and gas persist despite taking these measures, you can use an over-the-counter digestive enzyme and sprinkle it over the beans before you eat them.
- Beans such as kidney beans, soybeans, white beans, and lima beans contain high amounts of iron. The problem is that this iron is in the form of non-heme iron, which is difficult for the body to absorb as compared to heme iron or meat sources of iron. In order to aid the absorption of iron from beans, they should be eaten along with poultry, seafood, or meat. Beans can also be eaten along with foods rich in vitamin C, such as bell peppers or oranges to improve the absorption of iron.
- Beans contain proteins, however these proteins do not contain all the essential amino acids. In order to gain all the essential amino acids, you should eat grains such as rice and other legumes rich in protein.
- Other disadvantages of eating beans is that they may trigger attacks of migraine or other allergies in some people.
- Fava beans may interact with blood pressure controlling medication containing monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAO) and interfere with its functioning.
- Soybeans contain substances that interfere with the absorption of vitamin B12, vitamin D, and beta-carotene. Cooking them does inactivate these substances. But, you should also eat fresh fruits, dark green or yellow vegetables, and lean meat in order to compensate for the loss of these vitamins.
- Beans, lentils, dried peas, and other legumes have a high purine content that can increase the levels of uric acid in people susceptible to attacks of gout.
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