As people become more health conscious, it’s good to know which simple foods can do the most for you. Black beans are an amazing addition to anyone’s diet. They’re tasty, versatile and chock full of good nutrition. For a number of reasons, this legume qualifies as a nutritious food; even if it’s just a simple Cuban meal of black beans and rice.
Beans have long been considered a good substitute for meat. The black bean is high in protein. In fact, one cup contains about 30% of the daily recommended amount. This Cuban stand-by is also a great source of fiber. www.whfoods.com recommends black bean recipes because the fiber content can help regulate glucose metabolism because of their low glycemic index rating. The fiber content is also good for lowering cholesterol. As a nutritious food for diabetics, this one is a winner.
When it comes to antioxidants, the black bean rates higher than most beans because the darker the skin, the more antioxidants that are present. In fact, the antioxidant level is 10 times what is found in the same amount of grapes. Some studies even suggest that black beans can lower the risk of getting cancer. Of course, it isn’t surprising that they’re good for heart health, too. They are also a very good source of iron, manganese, magnesium, folate and phosphorus.
As for preparing black beans, it’s really not much different than pinto or red beans. If purchased dry, they need to soak for 6 -8 hours before cooking. Then it will take about an hour and a half to cook them. They’ll hold their texture better than many beans, and really are a simple, filling meal when combined with rice. This is a common Cuban meal, and it is filling and delicious if the beans are seasoned properly. They taste great with salt, pepper, cilantro, garlic powder, cumin, and chili powder. Just season to taste.
Black beans are great in soup recipes and vegetarian chilis. For something really interesting, add chunks of sweet potato to a black bean soup and season as suggested above. Serve with fresh garnishes of cilantro and a dollop of cream. This is a highly nutritious meal with the inclusion of one of the other great super foods, the sweet potato. Also try a black bean soft taco. Put beans, shredded cheddar and slices of avocado in a soft flour tortilla. Add some spicy salsa and enjoy.
One of the most delicious recipes, that includes black beans, is what the Costa Ricans call, “comida typical.” It’s a rice dish that combines combines finely chopped carrots, peas, corn, spices, onions, peppers and garlic with black beans and rice. Small chunks of chicken can be added, too. The beans are pre-cooked, the veggies and spices are sauteed, and then they’re all added to rice to be cooked together. This may be even better than the basic Cuban fare.
However one decides to eat the black bean, they can expect great taste and great health benefits with this highly nutritious food.
“Black Beans,” The World’s Healthiest Foods, accessed November, 24, 2010, http:www.whfoods.com