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[Talking about Food 1] Anti-aging health food & recipe: Black beans

Black beans have been a staple diet for North Americans for a long time. And they can be easily found at grocery stores and supermarkets. But did you know that these beans are packed with nutrients and antioxidants that are good for the body and for our skin?

Legumes in general are low glycemic-index foods that are packed with protein, fibre, iron, and many other nutrients. What makes these black beans so special is the colour coat: The colour coat makes them particularly rich in health-promoting phytonutrients, called anthocyanins, which can act as powerful antioxidants.(Remember how important antioxidants are for our skin and health? Read more.)  And researchers have found at least eight different flavonoids, including anthocyanins. The darker the beans, the more anthocyanins they contain.  

And black beans are also rich in calcium, folate, dietary fiber, protein, magnesium, iron, and manganese. 

Health benefits of black beans are definitely worth noting because some of the benefits are especially important as we age

1) Maintaining health of the bones

Because a large amount of calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus are contained in bones, it is important to get these nutrients from the diet. And as mentioned earlier, black beans are excellent sources of calcium, iron, magnesium, and manganese, which play important roles in building and maintaining bone structure and strength. 

2) Regulating blood sugar

Just like many beans and legumes, black beans contain a form of complex carbohydrates, starch, which burns slowly and is slowly digested by the body, which prevents a spike in blood sugar levels. 

3) Helping body fend off free radical damage

As mentioned in many of our blogs, free radicals that cause oxidative stress will damage cells in our body. Free radicals are formed naturally in our body and the environment: exposure to sun, smoking, working out too much can all form free radicals. A free radical is simply an unstable molecule or atom that is looking for other atoms and molecules in our body to make it stable. But in the process of a free radical becoming stable, atoms and molecules in our body become damaged, and of course those of our skin as well. 

Black beans are rich in antioxidants, much more so than regular beans, due to a very high quantity of anthocyanin and Vitamin C. These antioxidants in black beans can repair and protect our skin cells.

But like with everything, there is a downside as well. 

Legumes and beans, including black beans, cause intestinal gas because we are unable to digest sugars found in beans, known as oligosaccharides. These sugars are consumed by bacteria in our intestine, causing gas. 

But not to worry because gas-forming can be reduced by draining the water used to soak dried beans and replacing it with fresh water before cooking. 

With all that said, let us introduce two of our favourite black bean snacks that you can make and take wherever you go. It’s so simple!

[Recipe 1]

Ingredients:

1 cup of black beans

Recipe:

  1. If you are using dried beans, soak them for over 8 hours. Drain the water used to soak the beans and rinse with fresh water for the reason mentioned above. If you are using canned black beans, drain the can and rinse with a strainer. 
  2. Shake off as much water as possible. You can always choose to use a kitchen towel to pat off the water, but to save resources and our environment, let’s stick to shaking water off :).
  3. In a frying pan, put the heat to low and constantly stir until the water has evaporated and the beans start to pop. 

[Recipe 2]

Ingredients:

1 cup of black beans
1 tbsp of olive oil
Garlic powder*
Paprika powder*
Herb salt*

* For a cup of black beans, I usually give about 4-5 shakes of garlic powder and paprika power, and 1-2 shakes of herb salt. 


Recipe: 

  1. The first two steps are the same as Recipe 1. 
  2. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  3. Pour the rinsed beans in a large bowl and mix in the oil, powders, and salt. 
  4. On a baking sheet pan, spread out the seasoned beans.
  5. Bake for about 40 minutes. 



Sources:
World’s Healthiest Foods: What’s New and Beneficial About Black Beans.
Michigan State University MSU Extension: “Black beans and rice history and fun facts.”