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Beans are rich in fiber, proteins, and other minerals that bring a wealth of health to our bodies. They are also low in fat, which is probably one of the reasons why several studies show that consuming beans at least three times a week can lower the risk of heart disease. However, bean consumption has always had a bad rap for giving people tummy trouble. But there are many kinds of beans, and you can find a type that doesn’t negatively affect your digestive system. That said, beans are a staple in many communities around the world, and below, we explore what happens to your body when you eat beans every day.

You May Lose Weight

Many people across the globe are struggling with weight gain. While some turn to exercising, others opt to try out dieting or switching to plant-based diets, like beans. Beans are rich in fiber and other nutrients that may help curb cravings.

Since they are also protein powerhouses, beans are satiating. The protein delays stomach emptying, leaving you feeling fuller for longer. Taking just a half cup of black beans gives you around eight grams of protein. What’s more, they are low fat, which contributes to weight loss.

Beans Are Good for Your Heart

Beans contain soluble fiber, which binds cholesterol in your intestines and excretes it from the body. This means that you absorb less cholesterol, and as you may know, low cholesterol is the key to heart health. A study published in the British Medical Journal investigated the relationship between heart disease and fiber intake. The researchers found that increasing your fiber intake by seven percent per day could significantly reduce your risk of developing heart or cardiovascular disease.

Additionally, beans supply a good amount of potassium and magnesium, the key minerals for good heart health. Potassium removes excess sodium and water from your system, hence reducing blood pressure. Magnesium, on the other hand, aids in nerve function and the regulation of blood pressure.

Beans Help Lower Cholesterol

Doctors recommend taking blood tests to check the levels of cholesterol every four to six years since they tend to sneak up on you without you realizing it. This is an important step in keeping your cholesterol levels in check. Registered dietician, Sandra Gultry, advises us to eat beans frequently if we want to keep our cholesterol levels low. “Your LDL cholesterol levels will drop because beans are rich in soluble fiber,” she says. “Soluble fiber attaches to cholesterol particles and takes them out of the body, helping to reduce overall cholesterol levels,” she adds. What’s more, beans are low-fat foods and can act as a good alternative to meat, which contains saturated fat.

Beans Can Help Prevent and Manage Diabetes

Beans are not only cheap, but they also pack a ton of health benefits. The high fiber content and low-glycemic-index, combined with the high protein content, help to prevent unhealthy sugar spikes and plunges that can lead to insulin resistance. The soluble fiber, high-quality carbs, and lean protein help to stabilize your body’s blood sugar levels and keeps hunger in check. To reap the full benefits of these healthy legumes, combine them with high-quality carbs like brown bread or rice.

Beans Lower Blood Pressure

As discussed, eating beans regularly may help to lower your blood pressure. The CDC reports that nearly 75 million Americans have high blood pressure, which is one in three people. The fiber, magnesium, and potassium in beans help to maintain healthy blood pressure levels.

Beans Are a Good Source of Iron

Red meat has long been known to be a good source of iron. However, if you’re looking for a plant-based, low-fat food that offers sufficient amounts of iron, try out beans. One cup of cooked black beans contains around four milligrams of iron. However, our bodies have a hard time extracting iron from plant-based foods. So, be sure to pair your beans with a good source of vitamin C, like lemon, fresh broccoli, fresh tomatoes, or fresh bell peppers.

Beans Aid in Digestion

People’s views about excessive flatulence caused by beans may be exaggerated. While your tummy may get gassy when you’re starting out, the effects usually dissipate by the second or third week if you eat beans on a regular basis. Beans contain both soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber slows down digestion, making you feel fuller for longer, while the insoluble fiber helps prevent constipation. The trick to reducing the gas is to drink lots of water while eating beans. On top of that, soaking the beans overnight and disposing of the water before cooking greatly reduces the gas. Since beans are rich in fiber, eating them every day adds bulk to your stool, which helps food travel down your intestine, stimulate a bowel movement, and helps you to be regular. However, if you’re starting out, you might want to go slow on your bean intake. Adding too much fiber too quickly can lead to constipation. There you have it! Beans are not so bad after all. Just remember to try out the different varieties a few times a week to ensure you get the different kinds of nutrients and fiber that each variety supplies.

All images by Shutterstock

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