If you’re trying to get more antioxidants in your diet, what should you eat? Blueberries, cranberries, pecans, apples, or artichokes? These are all good choices, but you’ll get more bang for your buck eating an inexpensive bowl of red beans. Surprisingly, small red beans are one of the best antioxidant sources around.
Health Benefits of Red Beans: An Antioxidant Powerhouse?
According to a study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, small red beans pack more antioxidant punch than superfoods like wild blueberries. Another red bean that leads the list of top antioxidant contenders is the red kidney beans. A half-cup of these red beans has more antioxidant activity than a cup of blueberries – and they’re more economical too. That bowl of red beans and rice may be even better for you than you thought as long as you make it with brown rice.
Red Beans: From Red Kidney Beans to Adzuki Beans
With red beans, you have three options – and all three are good sources of antioxidants. There’s the small red bean – the bean with the highest antioxidant activity of all. Small red beans are also called Mexican red beans, and they look similar to red kidney beans except they’re smaller in size. They’re tasty in soups, chili and Creole dishes.
Then there’s the red kidney bean, a bean that most people are familiar with but probably don’t enough of. Like all beans, they’re full of protein, fiber and iron – along with their antioxidant benefits. Like small red beans, they’re good in soups, chili and sprinkled onto salads.
Finally, there’s the adzuki bean. These sweet red beans are popular in Asia where they’re used to make red bean paste. The Japanese use them to create mouth-watering desserts that are better for you than most American desserts. They’re a good source of magnesium, iron, potassium and zinc – in addition to the fiber and protein they contain. Look for them in oriental grocery stores, although these days many mainstream supermarkets carry them too.
Other Health Benefits of Red Beans
Red beans help to lower cholesterol levels due to the large amount of soluble fiber they contain. They’re also relatively low in calories and quite filling and satisfying. Combine them with brown rice, and you have a complete source of non-meat protein.
The Bottom Line?
Discover the health benefits of red beans. They’re filling, inexpensive and loaded with antioxidants.
Web MD. “Antioxidant Riches Found in Unexpected Foods”
World’s Healthiest Foods website.