The Health Benefits of Black Beans

Black beans, also called turtle beans, are readily available and low-cost legumes filled with proteins. The beans have a mild, nutty flavor and firm texture. They are commonly added to stews and soups because they are able to hold their shape better.

The black beans provide fiber and protein, and other valuable minerals and vitamins such as manganese, phosphorous, and folate. They are readily available in grocery stores and can be a great addition to your eating plan, especially if you’re looking for inexpensive ways to improve your meal’s nutritional value.

Health Benefits

Black beans are legumes. Researchers have studied legumes for many years because they are easily grown, nutrient-rich, and eaten worldwide. Black beans are a great source of lean proteins. Also, they have many nutritional advantages.

Reduces Chronic Disease Risk

Research shows that diets rich in fiber can help in weight loss and maintain weight loss goals. Also, it can reduce the risks of certain cancers and heart disease.[i]

Provides Essential Antioxidants

Black beans have phytonutrients, polyphenols to be specific. Polyphenols are very beneficial as antioxidants.[ii] They help prevent different diseases.

Promotes Digestive Health

Foods with high amounts of resistant starch might also function as prebiotics, improving healthy gut flora. Dried black beans contain more resistant starch than the canned beans.[iii]

It Helps Control Blood Sugar

Studies show that replacing fast digested carbohydrates like white rice with legumes can regulate glycemic control. Resistant starch might even promote insulin sensitivity.[iv]

Source Of Plant-Based Proteins

For vegetarians and vegans who avoid consuming animal proteins, black beans are a great source of fatty acids, iron, and protein.

Might Improve Diabetes Management

A study showed that increased intake of beans could help people with diabetes improve glycemic control.[v] Also, a study in 2014, found that fiber content present in beans helps maintain blood sugar levels.[vi] A study published in 2015 found that diets that are high in legumes but low in processed meats, sugar-sweetened beverages, and refined sugar reduces the risks of developing type II diabetes.[vii]

Nutrition Facts

The United States department of agriculture has provided the nutrition details below for ½ cup of black beans cooked without salt.[viii]

  • Calories – 109
  • Sodium – 461mg
  • Fat – 0.4g
  • Carbohydrates – 20g
  • Protein – 7g
  • Sugars – 0.3g
  • Fiber – 8.3g


Black beans are high in carbs and are also a great source of both soluble and insoluble fiber. Also, black beans don’t contain any sugar. Instead, they have slowly digested resistant starch and carbohydrates. This means the carbs in black beans are gradually converted to glucose.

The glycemic index (GI) of these black beans depends on how they are cooked. For instance, if you soak and then boil the black beans, the average GI is 20, which is significantly low.[ix] On the other hand, if you use canned beans, the GI is 30.[x]


Black beans contain minimal amounts of fat, most of which is polyunsaturated fat. A ½ cup of black beans contains 90mg and 108 mg of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.


Black beans are rich in proteins; a ½ cup serving contains 7g of protein. Black beans can be added to your diet to fulfill your daily recommended protein intake.

Minerals And Vitamins

Black beans are a great source of folate. Folate is responsible for red blood cell production and the prevention of neural tube defects.[xi] Furthermore, black beans are a great source of thiamin, magnesium, and manganese. If you are a vegan who relies on beans as your primary source of iron, eating foods rich in vitamin C like tomatoes and citrus fruits helps in the absorption of iron.

Adverse Effects

Canned black beans are high in sodium. However, research shows that draining and rinsing the beans can significantly reduce sodium. Draining black beans reduces sodium by about 36%, but draining and rinsing black beans reduces sodium by about 41%.[xii] So, if one cup of canned black beans contains 920 mg of sodium, rinsing and draining black beans reduces sodium content by 542 milligrams.

Legumes contain antinutrients – substances that disrupt the absorption of nutrients. While all plants contain these substances, they only have the effect if consumed in large amounts. Although some people might be concerned about these antinutrient compounds, soaking and boiling beans significantly reduce these compounds. Cooking black beans increases their concentration and antioxidant activity.

Finally, some people find that eating black beans cause gas or indigestion. People sensitive to these beans should consume them more sparingly and gradually increase the intake as their system adjusts.


Allergies to black beans are rare but can be a concern if you’re allergic to soy or peanuts. Black beans are more related to green beans, kidney beans, and pinto beans, so allergies to any of these beans might also mean you’re allergic to others.[xiii] Allergists tell people with allergies to peanuts to also avoid legumes. However, it’s best if you exercise caution. Do you suspect an allergy to legumes or peanuts? If so, consult a doctor to get an individual diagnosis before you start eating black beans.


Different beans, including the black beans, the great northern bean, navy beans, pink beans, pinto beans, and red kidney beans, all belong to the Phaseolus vulgaris family. Black beans are a variety of kidney beans.

You can buy black beans in the dried form. Also, you can purchase canned black beans in your local grocery store. Canned beans are expensive compared to dried beans, but dried beans are much easier to store than canned beans. Available varieties of black beans include Condor, Blackhawk, Black Magic, and Domino.

Black turtle beans

These are the most common types of black beans. They are available in grocery stores in both canned and dried form.


Black beans are native to South and Central America. Their cultivation dates back to 7,000 years, where black beans become a staple food in many American diets. Black beans were first discovered by Spanish travelers back in the 15th century, who brought the beans to Europe. The black beans were then introduced to Asia and Africa by the Portuguese and Spanish traders and have, over the years, become increasingly popular for different reasons, including nutrient content, taste and texture, long-term storage, and ease of growth.

Today, black beans are a popular staple in the cuisines in Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Brazil, and Mexico. Brazil and India are the largest commercial growers of black beans. The United States, Indonesia, and Mexico also produce these nutritious beans.

Extremely rich in antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins, black beans are wonder beans that play a major role in healthy living. Along with pinto, kidney, and navy beans, black beans are members of the group of beans referred to as ‘common beans.’ Often called turtle beans, frijoles Negros, or caviar criollo, black beans are mainly characterized by the small oval shape with a black shell. Today, if you visit any renowned Mexican restaurant, you’ll find these tasty black beans often blended into different Mexican dishes like quesadillas, tostadas, and burritos.

How To Prepare Black Beans

Black beans can be added to any diet plan. They can be used in chilis and soups or pureed for use as a spread. Black beans can also be added to baked foods like brownies to add fiber and protein.

Also, they can be used as a side dish, a potato topper, or a sandwich or blended into the dip for veggies. Black beans can also be added to stews and salads for additional fiber, protein, and iron. They can also be swapped for other varieties of beans (like the great northern beans or pinto beans).

Black Beans Storage Tips And Safety

When purchasing dried black beans, look for whole, shinny, and smooth beans. Small holes in the beans mean they are insect-infested. Store dried beans in a tightly sealed container and place them in a cool, dry place. They can be stored this way for up to one year. If cooked, black beans can be refrigerated for up to 5 days. Else, you can freeze them for a maximum of 6 months.


When are black beans best?

Both canned and dried black beans are available throughout the year.

How to buy black beans?

All major grocery stores sell black beans in dried and canned form. If you're buying dried beans, you can purchase them in one, five, or ten-pound bags. Pick dried beans with sealed cans that aren't dented, bulging, or rusted. When purchasing in bulk, make sure the bulk bins are covered with no signs of pests, spoilage, or moisture.

How do black beans taste?

Black beans are mild, creamy, and soft. They don't have an overwhelmingly nutty flavor. This is the reason why they are used in many dishes. The beans take on flavor from the ingredients they are prepared with.

Are black beans good for you?

Yes, black beans contain carbohydrates, protein, fiber, and antioxidants, making them a nutrition powerhouse. A diet rich in black beans can help reduce the risks of various medical conditions.

Are black beans a protein or carb?

½ cup serving of black beans contains 109 calories, 7g fat, 20g carbs, 0.3g sugars, 8.3g fiber, and 461mg sodium.

Do black beans aid weight loss?

Black beans are filled with protein and fiber, which means they can keep a person feeling full for hours. They are good if you are trying to lose weight but can't stand hunger for long periods.

Which is the healthiest bean?

Some of the healthiest beans you'll find include black beans, navy beans, pinto beans, soybeans, kidney beans, peas, lentils, and chickpeas.



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  10. [x] The University of Sydney. Glycemic Index Database. Black beans
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