Black beans, are classified as legumes. The beans are actually the edible seeds of the legume plant. Black beans, botanically-known as Phaseolus vulgaris, are native to the Americas. One of over 500 varieties of kidney beans, black beans are also known as turtle beans, caviar criollo, and frijoles negros. These beans date back at least 7,000 years, when they were a staple food in the diets of Central and South Americans.
Black beans are high in folic acid and magnesium and a good source of potassium and iron, which are necessary nutrients for the body to function properly. They also contain several other key vitamins and minerals that are known to benefit human health.
Black beans are prized for their high protein and fiber content.
Benefits of black beans include:
- Helps to support the digestive tract
- Helps to control blood sugar
- Helps to prevent cardiovascular disease
- Alleviates inflammation
- Reduces the risk of cancer
There are six main types of black turtle beans, with relatively similar appearances and nutritional values.
The general form of black beans can be changed without losing the nutritional benefits, although some may be lost when they are made into soups or when ground up and exposed to high temperatures.
Legumes contain oligosaccharides known as galactans - complex sugars that the body cannot digest because it lacks the enzyme alpha-galactosidase, which is needed to break them down. Because of this, the consumption of legumes such as black beans has been known to cause some people intestinal gas and discomfort.
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