Are beans carbs or protein? This is a common question and one that is often raised by those looking to learn more about nutrition.
Beans are a great source of plant-based protein and are known for being rich in fiber and nutrients while remaining relatively low in fat.
They also contain lots of iron, folate, potassium, magnesium, zinc, copper, manganese, phosphorus, vitamin B6, niacin, riboflavin, and thiamine, and are super versatile, with recipes including adding them to salads, soups, stews, casseroles, pasta dishes, sandwiches, wraps, and even desserts.
We took a closer look at the carbs versus protein debate to ensure that you have all the information you need to make smart, healthy choices – read on for all you need to know!
What Are Beans?
A bean is any member of the legume family.
Legumes include beans, peas, lentils, peanuts, soybeans, chickpeas (also called garbanzo beans), alfalfa seeds, lupines, and clover.
The most commonly eaten types of beans are:
These are grown in tropical climates around the world and are used extensively in Mexican cuisine.
Black beans are high in fiber, protein, vitamins A, C, and K, as well as minerals such as calcium, iron, zinc, selenium, and magnesium.
Also known as black turtle beans, these are popular in Asian cuisines. Kidney beans are high in fiber and protein and are an excellent source of antioxidants.
This type of bean has been cultivated since ancient times. White beans are high in fiber but lower in protein than other varieties.
These small greenish-yellow beans are native to India and Pakistan.
Chickpeas are high in fiber and are a good source of protein, iron, folic acid, vitamin B2, and vitamin E.
These red beans are found in Japan and China. Adzuki beans are higher in protein than other beans and are considered a staple food in Japanese cuisine.
These tiny brownish-green beans are a staple part of Indian cuisine.
Lentils are high in fiber and are a good source of protein, iron, folate, vitamin B1, and vitamin B3.
These beans are high in protein and are a major ingredient in tofu. Soybeans are also a rich source of phytic acid, which helps prevent mineral absorption.
These nuts are high in protein, fiber, folate, vitamin E, and omega-3 fatty acids. Peanuts are also a good source of vitamin B6, vitamin K, and copper.
What Are Some Of The Health Benefits Of Beans?
Beans offer a wide number of benefits, and some of the key advantages include:
They Are Packed Full Of Nutrients
Beans are a rich source of protein, fiber, folates, iron, zinc, copper, magnesium, phosphorus, manganese, niacin, vitamin B6, riboflavin, thiamine, and vitamin B12.
They’re also a good source of dietary fiber, which can help reduce cholesterol levels and aid digestion.
They Can Help Prevent Cancer
Research suggests that eating beans may be linked to a reduced risk of certain cancers, including colon cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer, and stomach cancer.
This could be due to their antioxidant content, which may protect against DNA damage.
They May Protect Against Diabetes
Studies suggest that people who eat more pulses – foods made from dried beans and peas – tend to have a lower risk of developing diabetes.
This may be because they contain soluble fiber, which slows down sugar absorption into the bloodstream.
They Can Help Reduce Cholesterol Levels
Beans are a great source of plant sterols, which help reduce bad cholesterol by blocking its absorption.
Research shows that people with high blood cholesterol levels benefit from consuming beans regularly.
They Can Improve Your Mood
Studies show that eating beans can improve your mood, possibly because they contain tryptophan, an amino acid that is converted into serotonin when you eat them.
Serotonin plays a role in regulating your mood, so it makes sense that eating beans would make you feel happier!
They Can Help With Digestion
Beans are packed full of insoluble fiber, which helps keep things moving through your digestive system.
Insoluble fiber has been shown to help prevent constipation and other digestive problems.
They Can Help Keep Blood Sugar Balanced
High blood sugar levels can lead to serious health conditions such as heart disease and stroke.
Eating beans regularly can help control your blood sugar levels, making it easier for you to avoid these diseases.
They Can Be Used To Make Healthy Snacks
You don’t need to go out and buy expensive snacks every time you want something healthy to munch on.
You can easily whip up a batch of homemade bean dip using canned beans, salsa, sour cream, and grated cheese.
It’s delicious and will fill you up without costing too much money.
So, Are Beans Carbohydrates Or Protein?
The answer is both! Beans are a combination of carbohydrates and proteins, but they do not raise blood glucose levels as refined carbs do.
So, if you want to lose weight, then beans are definitely one of the best choices out there.
However, if you’re looking to gain muscle mass, then you should stick to higher-protein diets.
In fact, research shows that athletes who consume more than 1 gram of protein per kilogram of body weight every day will see better results.
How Do I Cook Them?
Cooking beans takes just minutes, but there are a few important steps to follow. First, rinse the beans thoroughly under cold running water.
Then drain them well before cooking. Next, add the beans to a large saucepan along with enough water to cover them by about 2 inches (5 cm).
Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to low and simmer until the beans are tender, about 1 hour. Drain any excess liquid if necessary.
If you’ve never tried beans before, then now is the perfect time to give them a shot. They’re easy to cook and taste amazing.
Plus, they’re loaded with nutrients, so you can enjoy a tasty meal that is packed with goodness!
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