Beans are an important source of protein and good for weight loss and muscle gain. Of the dazzling array of bean products on the market, which of them offers more health benefits? According to Chen Tsung-Yu, a Taiwanese nutritionist, the nutritional components of various bean products can be categorized into grains, vegetables, and proteins. He also reminded the public that not all bean products are healthy food, some are even surprisingly high in calories.
Chen Tsung-Yu pointed out that beans are high in protein, dietary fiber, and prebiotics (probiotics), and are also rich in phytochemical hormones, which have multi-faceted benefits.
Beans Protect the Stomach and Are Good for Women’s Health
Beans are rich in prebiotics, including fiber, oligosaccharides, and resistant starch, which can help the growth of beneficial bacteria in the stomach and maintain intestinal health. In addition to increasing satiety and promoting gastrointestinal motility, fiber feeds good intestinal bacteria. Oligosaccharides and resistant starches cannot be absorbed by the human body, but they can contribute to the growth of beneficial intestinal bacteria. It is normal to fart after eating beans, as it is an outgrowth of intestinal bacteria digestion.
The phytochemical hormones in beans can promote human health, most notably the isoflavones in soybeans. In addition to improving cardiovascular health, lowering blood lipids, and scavenging free radicals, isoflavones can also mimic estrogen which makes you more feminine. Menopausal women who consume more soybeans and bean products can improve night sweats, flushing, skin problems, and psychological stress induced by estrogen deficiency, and reduce the risk of getting breast cancer.
Chen Tsung-Yu also emphasized that phytoestrogens will not increase the risk of gynecological diseases. Food is natural, as long as it is not purified or artificial estrogen, it is safe; in addition, the fiber in food can indirectly reduce the uptake and absorption of estrogen in the intestinal tract.
The Nutritional Value of Beans Varies
There are a great variety of beans on the market. Chen pointed out that different beans have different nutritional values and can be classified as proteins, whole grains, and vegetables.
(1) Proteins: soybeans, lentils, and black soybeans are rich in protein, and every 100 grams of black soybean has a crude protein content of up to 37 grams.
(2) Whole grains: snow peas, pinto beans, kidney beans, green peas, and lima beans are also rich in protein, but they are more starchy, of which eating too much can easily increase blood sugar. However, the nutrients are still way higher than ordinary white rice. He suggested that these bean foods can be a substitute for part of the staple food.
(3) Vegetables: bean sprouts and snap peas have the characteristics of low calorie and high fiber, and the protein content is two or three times higher than that of ordinary vegetables.
Compared with eating meat to replenish protein, Chen said that consuming beans to replenish protein has some unique benefits, and black soybeans, also known as the “Bean Stars,” have the most comprehensive nutrition. He concluded that eating beans have the following benefits:
(1) Low fat
Unprocessed beans are lower in fat than beef and pork. If you need to increase muscle and reduce fat, beans are very good choices.
(2) Rich in protein and easy to absorb
Plant-based proteins are often deficient in certain amino acids, and soy protein is one of the complete protein sources containing all essential amino acids. Soybean has a very high utilization rate in the human body and can be converted into the amino acids we need through digestion and absorption. According to the protein digestibility corrected amino acid score (PDCAAS) analysis, soybeans score 0.9, which is close to full score.
(3) No cholesterol
Generally, meat has more or less animal cholesterol. People who are concerned about cholesterol can choose beans as a supplementary protein source, and beans contain special plant sterols, which can promote cardiovascular health.
(4) Black soybeans have the most comprehensive nutrition
Compared with soybeans, the protein of black soybeans is less lacking in methionine, which is generally lacking in beans, and other nutrients are also more complete. The skin of black soybeans also has many phytochemicals. Multiple functions make it the star of beans.
(5) Lowers acne risk
Many fitness people use whey protein to increase muscle mass, but some people may suffer from allergies and acne, which is speculated to be related to the secretion of insulin-related hormones, and these people have improved after ingesting plant-based protein.
(6) Beneficial for chronic diseases
Studies have shown that for patients with high blood pressure, high blood sugar, chronic kidney disease, and cardiovascular disease, the intake of protein foods helps to improve. At present, there are rumors that eating beans will cause gout, but it is not true. Conversely, studies have shown that consuming bean products can adjust protein levels of plasma, promote uric acid excretion, and reduce gout attacks.
(7) Suitable for the elderly
For the elderly with bad teeth, it is easier to eat beans than meat, such as tofu and soy milk.
Bean Products Can Be Snacks That Increase Satiety
Chen Tsung-yu suggested that eating bean snacks can help gain muscle, reduce fat and reduce calorie intake. He recommends the following bean products:
(1) Soy milk
(2) Dried black soybeans, dried soybeans
(3) Bean and nut snack mix
(4) Soy sauce (Shoyu)
He suggested that everyone can regularly put some dried black soybeans and dried soybeans as snacks at the office, but snacks with few additives and condiments should be chosen. It is always ready to eat and healthy and eating them with tea can increase satiety. Adding beans to a nut snack with various ingredients gives more comprehensive nutrients, but one package a day, don’t eat too much. In addition, soy milk is good to drink during breakfast and after exercise.
Do Not Eat Too Much Deep-fried Bean Products
How can we make beans more nutritious? Chen suggested that boiling, baking, pan-frying, stir-frying, grilling and other cooking methods with less oil used should be applied, and deep-frying the beans will easily destroy the nutrients inside. These are fine to eat, but it’s better to keep an eye on the amount. Chen reminded us that bean products spoil easily, so everyone should always pay attention to the expiry date of the product.