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Beans are within the oldest man-known foods, forming an important part of our diet since ancient times.

The common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris) began to be grown around 7000 a. C. in America and when the conquerors of the Iberian Peninsula arrived in the New World, there were species of various sizes, colors and flavors, such as the very sabotaged black bean.

This legume stands out for being an excellent source of protein and fiber, as well as vitamins and minerals. However, the greatest health benefits of black beans are found in their high concentration of antioxidants.

Antioxidant properties

The antioxidant effect that we all want to find in foods, is present in the bean, given by the content of anthocyanins. These substances belong to the group of flavonoids, widely known for their power to inhibit free radicals.

Needless to say, free radicals are dangerous because they are unstable and highly reactive molecules, which, when interacting with neighboring molecules, generate new radicals around them. This can create a chain reaction that becomes undefined if antioxidants do not intervene.

It has been shown that the darker the bean grain cover, the higher the anthocyanin content, with the black bean variety having the highest concentration of antioxidants of this type. The anthocyanin content is approximately 214 mg per 100 g of black bean.

Thus, they provide natural antioxidants that help prevent cellular oxidative stress, responsible for diseases such as atherosclerosis and inflammations, Alzheimer’s disease, cardiovascular disease, immune system problems, diabetes, eye disorders and many types of cancer.

Anti-aging properties

The anti-aging effect of black bean is closely related to the antioxidant properties described above. Anthocyanins and other flavonoids in black beans prevent signs of premature aging caused by free radicals that are generated by exposing the skin to ultraviolet light.

Free radicals often cause collagen and elastin to rupture and cause wrinkles, an effect that is reduced by flavonoids in beans.

Detoxifying properties

These properties are given by the presence of molybdenum, which is a trace element necessary to form and activate several important enzymes in the detoxification of the human body. One of the enzymes favored by the presence of molybdenum is aldehyde oxidase, responsible for neutralizing acetaldehyde, which is a toxin from the metabolism of various substances in our body and has carcinogenic properties.

Molybdenum also provides a detoxifying effect through the activation of the sulfite oxidase enzyme responsible for converting sulphites (potentially harmful) into (harmless) sulfates. The action of this enzyme helps to properly metabolize the amino acids methionine and cysteine, which are part of the proteins that the body needs to build muscle tissue and produce neurotransmitters needed in the function of the central nervous system.

Thus, molybdenum is a mineral that should not be lacking in the diet of a bodybuilder interested in creating muscle mass.

Molybdenum is also key in the creation of uric acid, which is a waste product of protein and carbohydrate metabolism; so it’s another reason why it’s considered detoxifying.

There are many properties of molybdenum, but the best known is its indispensable role in the metabolism and intestinal absorption of iron. Our diet is very low in molybdenum and bean consumption can help us acquire this important mineral.

Low glycemic index

Black beans have a glycemic index of 30, so it is considered a low glycemic index food (potential to raise blood glucose). This type of food is slowly absorbed into the bloodstream, which helps prevent blood glucose spikes and this allows us to control cravings for sweet foods.

Most of the carbohydrates in beans are complex, such as starch and dietary fiber; while the fraction of sugars (mono, di and oligosaccharides), is significantly smaller. In addition, of the total starch contained in black bean, 65% corresponds to digestion-resistant starches, ideal for keeping our gut flora healthy.

Nutritional value

Proteins: Black beans provide us with most of the essential amino acids for protein synthesis. For every 100 g of bean, 20 g are protein and the black bean variety has the most. Unlike meat, they contain very little saturated fat and no cholesterol, which makes them essential for people who follow a healthy diet, especially for vegetarians.

Because high protein content is an alternative to red meat, therefore they can help maintain an accelerated metabolism and an active lifestyle. This makes them recommended to recover after exercising or lifting weights.

Fiber: A proper diet in fibers is associated with a healthy body weight. This is because fibers are substances that are not well digested in the digestive tract and help to have a feeling of fullness with a minimum amount of calories.

Men should ingest 38 g of fiber per day and women 25 g to get the recommended daily intake. Cooked beans provide 7 g of fiber in half a cup, so it is recommended to include them in your diet several times a week.

The fibers present in this legume are soluble and insoluble. The first helps good cardiovascular health, regulates the body’s sugar levels, making them ideal for diabetic patients; in addition to decreasing the chance of high cholesterol. The second regulates intestinal transit and prevents constipation, it is very useful for people with hemorrhoids and other disorders in the colon.

Essential vitamins and minerals: They are rich in vitamins, especially in B vitamins, such as thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3) and vitamin B9 or folic acid. The latter is required for DNA synthesis and repair, cell division and growth, among other functions.

Of all varieties, black beans have the highest contribution of iron, as a cup provides 25% of the minimum iron needed daily. Iron is an essential mineral used to transport oxygen through red blood cells and its deficiency causes anemia.

It can be difficult to obtain enough magnesium in the diet, being this important mineral to avoid osteoporosis, because of its role in the absorption of calcium. Magnesium is ideal to help control blood pressure, prevents thrombus formation and therefore facilitates circulation. Beans provide 19% of the daily value of this mineral.

They are a good source of potassium, which helps maintain the normal rhythm of the heart, important for muscle function and an adequate balance of water in the body. They also present other minerals such as calcium, phosphorus, zinc, selenium, manganese etc.

Anticancer

The effects previously treated related to the presence of anthocyanins and their action as antioxidants also explain the anticancer property of them, as free radicals are an important source of cellular damage. A relationship has been established between the usual consumption of flavonoid-rich and fiber-rich foods at a lower incidence of a wide variety of malignancies.

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