6 Health Benefits Of Black Beans, Nutrition, And Recipes

Revitalize your health and boost your overall well-being with these flavorful beans.

Medically reviewed by Dr. Archna Agrawal, MSc (Dietetics), Naturopathy
Written by Varsha Patnaik, MSc (Biotechnology), Certified Diet & Nutrition Coach
Edited by Ravi Teja Tadimalla, BSc, Professional Certificate in Food, Nutrition and Health
Fact-checked by Sindhu Koganti, BTech (Biotechnology), Certified Health & Nutrition Life Coach  • 

Black beans are a variety of legumes that are popularized for their high nutritional value. The benefits of black beans can be attributed to their rich nutritional profile. These beans are inexpensive and can be a great addition to your soups, smoothies, salads, rice, stew, and even pizzas, burgers, and cakes. These are also available in canned and dried varieties. Continue reading to understand more about black beans nutrition, health benefits, and side effects – along with a few healthy and tasty recipes.

Black Beans Nutrition Facts

Black beans are an excellent source of carbohydrates, fiber (both soluble and insoluble), and proteins. With about 7 grams of protein in every ½ cup serving, these can easily meet your daily protein requirement, especially for vegetarians (1).

As per the USDA, ½ cup of black beans contains:

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

While canned beans are quick and easy to include in your diet, these are usually high in sodium and low in other nutrients as compared to dry beans (2). If opting for canned beans, it is thus advisable to choose a “no-salt” or “low-sodium” alternative and make sure to rinse and drain the canned beans before use. Dried beans, on the other hand, take longer to prepare and cook, but are usually more cost-effective and easy to buy in bulk.

Black beans do not contain any sugar and have very little fat, most of which being polyunsaturated is beneficial for the heart (3). Black beans are also rich in flavonoids, folate, manganese, magnesium, and thiamin. Black beans with brown rice makes a complete meal in itself and is an easy staple for many.

A study with NHANES data from 2017-2018 noted that 20.5% of the 4,741 adult participants reported consuming legumes (pinto bean, black bean, kidney bean, lima bean, and chickpea) in the past 24 hours. Legume consumers were more likely to be Hispanic, have higher education, and have larger households, but not different in age, gender, or income.

protip_icon Trivia
Black beans have a rich history and date back to 7000 years. It is believed these were first cultivated by Aztecs and Mayans in Mexico.

Being highly nutritious and easy to include in your diet, black beans provide you with many health benefits in an easy way (4).

Top Health Benefits Of Black Beans

  • Rich Source Of Dietary Plant Proteins

Due to their high protein content, black beans make for an important protein alternative for vegetarians and vegan diets. With their meat-like texture, they are also easy to incorporate in various kinds of dishes. They are also a good plant source of the important protein lysine usually found in animal meat (5). Also, being highly nutritious and readily available in bulk, they prove to be an important source of nutrition in poor and developing countries.

  • Help Regulate Blood Sugar Levels

The glycemic index of a food indicates how soon it raises your blood sugar levels once you consume it (6). Black beans have a low glycemic index of 30, which means they don’t spike your blood sugar levels as much. Additionally, black beans also help keep it in control when taken along with high GI foods like rice (7). This plays an important role in the diet of people with diabetes. The insoluble fiber in black beans acts as a trap for carbohydrates, thereby delaying their conversion to sugar in the bloodstream (8), (9).

  • Good For Your Heart

Many studies have suggested the potential role of black beans in lowering bad cholesterol levels and reducing blood pressure (10),(11). This is especially due to its high soluble fiber content (12). A research was conducted on 66 non-smoking men in the group of 35-75 yrs who had undergone colonoscopy. The results reported that the daily intake of about 2–10 g of soluble fiber results in a significant decrease in total blood cholesterol and also the harmful low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (13). Abnormal cholesterol levels, especially LDL cholesterol leads to various cardiac health issues (14). A diet rich in black beans and other high-fiber foods help in lowering the LDL and improving your heart health.

  • Rich In Antioxidants

Along with dietary fiber and protein, black beans are also rich in phytonutrients (polyphenols and flavonoids) that function as antioxidants (9). The flavonoids present in their seed coat are color-producing phyto-nutrients that act as antioxidants in the body (15). They fight the toxic free radicals and help reduce the possibilities of chronic diseases like cardiac disease, diabetes, and even cancer (16).

  • Good For Your Digestive Health

Black beans are high in insoluble fiber and resistant starch, that help improve the natural gut flora of our body, otherwise known as prebiotics (17), (18).The resistant starch resists digestion by the pancreatic enzymes in the small intestine and move on to the colon where they interact with the gut flora and result in formation of short-chain fatty acids like butyrate. These not only help lower the blood cholesterol levels but also help maintain the natural balance of the intestines (19).

  • May Aid In Weight Loss

Black beans can be a great source of fiber and protein for those looking to reduce their weight. Studies have shown that beans generally are nutrient-dense and satiating foods with a low glycemic index. Its increased intake has a positive effect on overall body fat percentage and is also associated with reduced abdominal obesity (20). Another study showed that the bioactive compounds like phenols and flavonoids present in black bean protein have the potential to reduce weight gain and increase energy consumption, making it a good food option for people with obesity (21). So, an increased intake in black beans may be beneficial for weight management.

Black beans with their high nutrition levels and potential health benefits, are therefore a must in your regular diet. Going further, we see how you can incorporate black beans in your daily diet to reap the many benefits.

How To Add Black Beans To Your Diet

When using canned black beans, make sure to choose one with no added sodium. Rinse and drain them before use to wash off the excess sodium content. For dried black beans, sort them for any small rocks or debris. Then wash and soak in water for a good 8 to 10 hours before cooking, to get the ultimate flavor and texture. Soaking the dry beans not only reduces the cooking time but also removes the anti-nutrients like phytates that hamper mineral absorption in our bodies (22), (23).

protip_icon Did You Know?
In Mexican and Brazilian cultures, black beans are regarded as potent symbols of protection, believed to possess the ability to attract good fortune and prosperity.

Black beans can be incorporated in every meal of the day. You can have boiled beans in your salad and soups, make a puree, and use it as a dip or spread over tortillas or simply have them roasted for a quick filling snack. Black beans can also be easily added to cakes, cookies, pizza, burgers and brownies to make your fast food cravings healthier and more nutritious. Here are a few recipes to help you get started!

Recipes Using Black Beans

1. Sweet Potato, Avocado, And Black Bean Tacos

Black beans tacos with sweet potato and avocado
Image: Shutterstock

Ingredients

  • sweet potatoes (scrubbed and cut into 1/2″ chunks) – 1 3/4 lb
  • olive oil – 1 tablespoon
  • chili powder – 1 teaspoon
  • black beans (rinsed and drained) – 1 can (15 oz.) no-salt-added
  • salsa verde – 1/2 cup
  • avocado (thinly sliced) – 1
  • corn tortillas – 8
  • crumbled feta cheese – 1/4 cup
  • cilantro (garnish)

Instructions

  1. Rinse the canned beans and keep aside to drain.
  2. Toss the sweet potatoes in olive oil with 1⁄2 teaspoon of salt and chili powder.
  3. Line them up on a large, rimmed baking sheet and roast for about 30 minutes in a 450°F oven.
  4. Combine the rinsed black beans with salsa verde in a saucepan and stir on medium heat until warm.
  5. Serve the beans and sweet potatoes with corn tortillas and avocado and feta cheese, garnished with cilantro.

2. Cuban Black-Bean Stew With Rice

Ingredients

  • white rice (long-grain) – 1 1/2 cup
  • black beans – 2 cup
  • vegetable broth – 1 can
  • olive oil – 1 tablespoons
  • red onion (medium) – 1
  • garlic – 1 clove
  • red bell pepper – 1
  • cider vinegar – 1 tablespoon
  • dried oregano – 1/2 teaspoon
  • salt – to taste
  • pepper – to season
  • lime wedges
  • fresh cilantro
  • sliced radishes

Instructions

  1. Rinse and drain the beans.
  2. Take oil in a large saucepan and heat over medium.
  3. Add in the onion, garlic, and bell pepper.
  4. Cook for about 8-10 minutes till the onion is soft.
  5. Add the beans, along with broth, vinegar, and oregano.
  6. Mash a few beans and cook for 6-8 minutes until slightly thickened.
  7. Season with salt and pepper.
  8. Serve the beans over rice garnished with lime wedges and cilantro.

3. Black Bean Soup

Black bean soup
Image: Shutterstock

Ingredients

  • black beans (rinsed, drained) – 3 (15-oz.) cans
  • broth (chicken or vegetable) – 3 cups
  • extra-virgin olive oil – 2 tablespoons.
  • bay leaf – 1
  • red onion (medium, finely chopped) – 1
  • jalapeño (minced) – 1
  • garlic (minced) – 2 cloves
  • tomato paste – 1 tablespoon
  • ground cumin – 1/2 teaspoons
  • chili powder – 1 teaspoon
  • kosher salt
  • black pepper (freshly ground)
  • sour cream
  • sliced avocado
  • chopped fresh cilantro
  • lime wedges

Instructions

  1. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat.
  2. Add and cook the onions for about 5 minutes until soft and translucent.
  3. Add garlic and jalapeños and cook for about 2 minutes until fragrant.
  4. Stir in the tomato paste to coat the vegetables, and cook for about a minute more.
  5. Stir in some salt, pepper, cumin, and chili powder to season.
  6. Add the rinsed and drained black beans along with the broth.
  7. Add in a bay leaf, and bring the soup to a boil.
  8. Simmer until the soup is slightly thick and reduced.
  9. Remove the bay leaf and let the soup cool slightly.
  10. Blend the soup to a desired consistency and serve with a dollop of sour cream, sliced avocado and cilantro.

Emily Jelagat, a blogger, has tried an interesting recipe with black beans and shared her experience in her blog post. She says “Black beans is one of my favorite kind of beans. I always prepare it with coconut but this time, decided to try something new so I included curry powder and came out very delicious. There’s something about coconut and beans..I mean….the combo always works like magic. I NEVER prepare my beans without coconut. Black beans are very nutritious and a good source protein (i)”.

Now that we know how to include black beans in our diet, let’s have a look at a few of its possible side effects as well.

Possible Side Effects Of Black Beans

  • High Sodium Content

Canned black beans are often found to be high in sodium content as compared to dried beans (2). Studies have shown that the simple act of rinsing and draining the canned beans reduces the sodium content considerably (24). Those with high blood pressure are thus usually advised to avoid the canned beans or look for no-sodium alternatives (25). The dried black beans make for a better choice in such cases.

  • Bloating

Legumes are known to contain complex carbohydrates called oligosaccharides that are hard to digest. As a result, the intake of legumes, including black beans, might cause intestinal gas, bloating, and other gastro-intestinal discomforts. If you experience any such symptom on consumption of black beans, it is important to include it in your diet in small quantities and low frequency. Also, soaking the dried beans or sprouting them helps get rid of the oligosaccharides, providing some relief from the digestive issues (26).

  • Allergies

While black bean allergies are rare, it might have an adverse reaction for people who are allergic to other legumes, most notably soy and peanuts (27). Black beans are also closely related to kidney beans, pinto beans and green beans, so an allergy to any of these might make you sensitive to black beans consumption as well.

Summary

Black beans are the most commonly used bean variety with a rich nutritional profile. They contain carbs, fiber, and proteins and are inexpensive. Black beans benefit your health in many ways. The intake of these dry grain pulses may help regulate blood sugar levels, reduce blood pressure levels, fight against free radicals, and improve digestion. You can easily prepare many healthy, delicious recipes with black beans at home. However, these also contain high sodium levels. So, people with high blood pressure should check their portions, and excess intake may also cause bloating. Consume black beans in moderation to reap their maximum benefits.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are black beans a superfood?

Yes. Black beans are nutrient-dense and packed with proteins, carbohydrates, dietary fiber, and beneficial nutrients that may boost overall health.

Are black beans good for hair?

Possibly. Black beans are a legume packed with antioxidants, proteins, and vitamins that may help reduce hair fall and boost hair growth (29).

Are black beans anti-inflammatory?

Yes. Black beans are a type of legume. Legumes are a rich source of peptides, polyphenols, and saponins that exerts anti-inflammatory effects (30).

Key Takeaways

  • Black beans are legumes with high nutritional value and are easy to include in your diet.
  • They have a low glycemic index and help regulate blood sugar levels.
  • Including these beans in your diet may reduce blood pressure and improve digestive health.
  • However, excessive intake of black beans may cause bloating or an allergic reaction.


Black beans can be useful in addressing some health issues. If you need more convincing as to why you should include this in your diet or are interested in learning more about its health benefits, then watch the full video.

Personal Experience: Source

References

Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Read our editorial policy to learn more.

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  13. A high Legume Low Glycemic Index Diet Improves Serum Lipid Profiles in Men
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