You Should Start Eating More Black Beans. Here's Why

Move over superfoods because there's a new bean on the block and in our slow cookers that has us talking about its seemingly boundless health benefits. OK, black beans are not new, but if you've never considered their nutritional value, you may want to. These legumes are native to the Americas and are filled with incredible nutrients that are good for you. Per WebMD, we've been eating turtle beans – another name for black beans – for over 7,000 years. It might surprise you to learn Michigan is the largest producer of black beans. Karen Cichy, a research plant geneticist with the USDA ARS and adjunct associate professor at MSU's Department of Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences, told Michigan State University's 4-H Extension, "Black beans have been steadily gaining popularity among U.S. consumers since the 1980s when they were virtually unknown. In 2016, 164 new food products were launched in the U.S. containing black beans."

Black beans can be friendly to the taste buds and are quite versatile and easy to make whether you opt for the canned or dry variety. They also offer vegetarians a great option when it comes to meeting their daily intake of protein. According to Medical News Today, a half of a cup of black beans contains just 114 calories and is spilling over with vitamins, protein, fiber, and starchy complex carbohydrates, while sporting just a small amount of fat per serving. But it's their potential health benefits that have us excited.

Black beans might help delay and/or prevent loss of eye sight

Black beans are truly amazing. According to WebMD, there are several reasons you should consider eating more of them starting with your eyesight. Brimming with antioxidants, black beans can aid with your eye health and can help guard against both age-related macular degeneration, which can rob you of your eyesight as you progress in years, and cataracts, which can also cause a decrease in your vision. 

The National Eye Institute found that if you are in the high-risk group for macular degeneration, consuming antioxidants like those in black beans can reduce the risk by 25 percent. Additionally, black beans have their fair share of vitamin C which may help slow the growth of cataracts. Trust us when we say, this is reason alone to eat black beans more frequently. But this vital contribution to your eye health is not all that black beans have to offer.

Black beans can help reduce sugar spikes

According to Healthline, black beans clock in at the lower end of the glycemic index. This means after you eat them, you will not experience a big uptick in your blood sugar levels. That's good news for those who may have to be more vigilant when it comes to diabetes and monitoring their weight. Black beans can also be your friend when you are eating rice. A study found that when you eat the two foods together, your blood sugar levels do not rise as much as they do when you eat rice by itself.

There have also been studies related to black beans and your heart health. Per WebMD, black bean consumption can lead to a reduction in the level of bad cholesterol in your blood which in turn has a positive effect on the health of your heart. In fact, they cite a study that found you can decrease your risk of a heart attack by as much as 38 percent simply by eating one serving of dried black beans each day. Sign us up!

Black beans are good for weight control

We can all appreciate a little extra help with weight management, and black beans can really be beneficial in this regard. Black beans boast a significant amount of fiber, helping us to feel full after we've eaten them, which in turn decreases our urge to snack on empty calories. WebMD notes that research has shown that if you eat black beans on a regular basis, it may result in a smaller waist. Medical News Today also points out that the bountiful amount of fiber contained in black beans also helps keep you regular, which is good news for everyone. 

And if all of these incredible health benefits don't convince you of the greatness of black beans, maybe the fact that they taste good will. Black beans are the perfect ingredient to help get your family and friends excited for meatless Mondays. Whether you choose to make black bean burgers, throw some on a pizza, add them to your favorite burrito, use them in the base of a soup, or enjoy them with your Monday night football chips and dip, black beans can be beneficial to your taste buds and your health.