If you’re like me, black beans aren’t the first thing that comes to mind when you think about eating healthy. But in reality, black beans are a nutritional powerhouse!
A one-cup serving has just 220 calories and provides your body with 15 grams of protein, as well as a whopping 15 grams of fiber. To put this in perspective, that’s the same amount of protein that a 16-ounce glass of milk provides. The big difference from a nutritional point of view is that milk is lacking in fiber. Studies show that while we all need at least 18 grams of fiber a day, most of us consume 12 grams or less. Fiber is important for maintaining our digestive health and it also plays a role in regulating cholesterol levels. By simply adding a cup of black beans to your diet, you can get closer to meeting your daily fiber needs!
Although black beans are very good for you, the cans they come in are not. The reason is that they are loaded with bisphenol A or BPA. This chemical is found in plastic bottles and cans. Recently, the Food and Drug Administration admitted that it was wrong when it said there were no health risks associated with consuming BPA. Scientists have now linked high levels of BPA to heart disease, cancer, and sexual problems. Although the use of BPA was not banned, according to FDA officials, this is because they are “paralyzed from rapidly dealing with BPA due to an outdated regulatory framework.”
However, the solution is quite simple. You can buy canned beans from Eden Organics, which are the only BPA-free canned products that I know of. Alternatively, you can buy dried beans and rehydrate them to cook yourself. Just make sure you don’t add salt when you’re cooking because not only will it greatly increase the cooking time, but most people agree that it makes the beans think.
This process is very simple:
1. Rinse beans well and remove for stones or damaged beans.
2. Soak beans overnight in a covered container in your refrigerator.
3. Drain and rinse with fresh water.
4. Put the beans in a pot with one part beans to two parts water.
5. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to simmer. Cook partially covered for two hours or until beans are tender.
Now you can enjoy your black beans or use them in your favorite black bean recipe!