Written by Dan Jackowiak Nc, HHP
Beans, widely used as food for humans as well as animals, are edible seeds of many leguminous species belonging to family Fabaceae of the plant kingdom. The word bean is used as synonym for “pulse” or “legume” but there is a difference and beans are type of pulses. The production of beans in 2017 was 31.41 million metric tons. India, Myanmar, Brazil, USA, and China are top producing and consuming countries. According to the USDA, there are about 40,000 varieties of beans but a very small number is consumed by humans.
Beans have been cultivated and used as food for thousands of years. The oldest record for the growth of beans goes back to 7000BC in Thailand. From 2000 BC, their cultivation appeared in Iberia. Research shows that the common bean Phaseolus originated from Mesoamerica. There were 5 most cultivated types and these were eaten fresh or after drying.
According to NAPB, USA, the origin and domestication of common bean started from Jalisco and Mexico. It moved northwards to Argentina. As a result of domestication, two different gene pools emerged; Andean gene pool which is larger seeded types and Middle American gene pool which are medium and smaller seeded types.
Beans are nutrient rich food. They are an excellent source for proteins and also contain carbohydrates, fibers, fats, minerals, and vitamins.
Vitamin and Minerals
Beans are also good source of variety of essential vitamins and minerals.
Vitamin B: Beans are abundant in vitamin B (Folate). There is 100-200 mcg_DFE/ half cup of different varieties of beans. Folate is important for the synthesis of red blood cells and the embryonic development of nervous system. It reduces the risk factor for neural tube defects. The beans should be cooked slowly to retain the maximum content of folate. There is also a good amount of vitamin B-6; 0.5mg/100gm raw pinto bean.
Vitamin C: There is a considerable amount of Vitamin C in seeds. 100grams raw pinto beans contain 6.3mg of Vitamin C which covers 10% of the daily value (DV). Vitamin C helps in the synthesis of some neurotransmitters and collagen, involved in protein metabolism. It is also important in immune function.
Calcium: Beans are good source of calcium; 113mg/100 grams raw pinto beans covers 11% of the daily value (DV) requirement. Calcium is necessary for bone growth, muscles and nerve functioning.
Iron: Beans are loaded with iron; there are 5.1mg in 100 grams of raw pinto beans and it covers 28% requirement of Daily value (DV). Iron is the most important component in red blood cell synthesis and it’s deficiency results in iron deficiency anemia.
Potassium: Beans are considered one of highest sources of potassium. 100 grams raw pinto beans provide 1393 mg of potassium. Potassium is very critical for proper cell functioning, especially for muscle, nerves and heart cells.
Magnesium: There is considerable amount of magnesium in beans :176mg/100gm raw pinto beans and fulfills the 44% requirement of Daily value (DV). More than 300 chemical reactions in the body need magnesium.
Antioxidants in Beans
Antioxidants are abundant in beans, especially in colored beans. A half cup of red kidney beans have 13,259 antioxidants. Another study reported that green beans contain 2mmol antioxidants per 100grams. The main antioxidant activity is because of polyphenols, especially the flavonoids present in beans. There are a number of flavonoids beans with antioxidant activity. Important subclasses discovered in different types of beans are:
Anthocyanins: They are present in variety of beans including dark, pinto and kidney beans. the main compounds are Peonidin, pelargonidin, cyaniding. Anthocyanins have proven antioxidant activites (27).
Flavanoness: Beans are rich in flavanones compounds with antioxidant properties such as Catechin, epicatechin, procyanidin trime, rutinoside and many more (28).
Flavones: It is also an important subclass of flavonoid with antioxidant properties. The important compounds present in beans are Apigenin, apigenin 7-O-glucosid, and Chrysin (28).
Flavonols: The flavonol compounds with antioxidant properties present in beans are Kaempferol, Quercitin, and rutinoside (29).
Isoflavonoid: Beans are also rich in isoflavonoids. The important compounds with antioxidant properties are Daidzein Genistein Glycitein and Dihydrogenistein (30).
Data based on ½ cup servings of beans that have been cooked from the dry form and drained of cooking liquid. Canned beans will contain more sodium.
Most ½ cup servings will have 8g of protein and .5 of fats. Sugars will be below 1g. Glycemic index's will run from 29 to 40, which is on the low side and considered ok for diabetics. For a glycemic load, if we use Pink beans at 24 and a glycemic index of 40, we get a glycemic load of 9.6, which is high side of low. Everything else is going to be lower.
The American Diabetes Association calls beans a diabetic superfood and highly recommends them. We agree, especially when you consider the added fiber helps bind the carbs that are present even further. The resistant starch feeds good bacteria which long term is going to help you as well. However, if consuming them causes significant bloating, you could have bacteria problems in the small intestine that will need to be addressed.
They also must be fully cooked to reduce the effects of lectins, which can damage your intestinal lining.
Are beans safe on the Candida Diet?
More than likely yes because they won't cause blood sugar spikes. However, lectins are cause for concern if you are having digestive problems. Bottom line, if you are suffering from vaginal yeast infections and no digestive problems, they will be ok. If you are having digestive issues and skin problems caused by whats happening in your gut, I would not eat them.
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