If you've heard that black beans are brain food, you've heard about only one of the multiple health benefits they offer. Black beans are a popular legume used in soups, stews and entrees like enchiladas and burritos. They can be used in refried bean dishes and blended with jalapeno peppers to make a spicy hummus.
Black beans are a nutritional powerhouse. A single cup of cooked black beans contains only 227 calories but less than one gram of fat. This little bean has 15 grams each of protein and dietary fiber. In addition, each one-cup serving has calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium and folate. Folate is the naturally occurring, water-soluble B vitamin also found in leafy greens and organ meats.
Importance of folate
Folate and folic acid are considered crucial for the development of fetuses. After birth, we still need this B vitamin. Folate is essential for normal brain function. Early evidence has shown that low folate concentrations could be linked to Alzheimer's disease, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Electrolytes and the brain
Electrolytes like potassium found in black beans are minerals that help your body maintain a healthy system, including brain function. Other important electrolytes needed by the body are magnesium and calcium. Magnesium, according to LiveStrong.com, helps make sure that the body has sufficient energy for brain function through carbohydrate metabolism.
Black beans contain anthocyanins, which are a type of antioxidant compound found within the dark seed coating. In general, anthocyanins are part of what gives some fruits, vegetables and legumes their deep colors. Foods like black beans that are rich in antioxidants might help to prevent heart disease, certain cancers and aging issues.
Other health benefits
Black beans are rich in dietary fiber. which can help reduce cholesterol levels and keep blood sugar levels from spiking after meals. They are a rich source of protein, as well. Protein is a nutrient necessary for healthy tissue development and function.
Adding more fruits, vegetables and legumes to your diet can provide essential nutrition to keep your body healthy and functioning. Consider black beans as part of your daily diet for your brain, your heart and your overall health.