Not only are they good with rice, but black beans also make a healthy addition to soups, salads and pasta dishes. As a legume, black beans contain nutrients found in protein foods such as poultry and seafood, as well as nutrients found in vegetables such as spinach and broccoli. Knowing the nutritional facts for black beans can help you see their value in your diet.
Filling Source of Calories
A 1/2-cup serving of cooked black beans, which is 86 grams, contains 113 calories. With 1.3 calories per gram, black beans are a low-energy-dense food, which means calorie content is low compared to weight. This makes them a more filling food because you can eat a large portion without going overboard on calories. People eat about the same amount of weight in food each day but not the same level of calories, according to the British Nutrition Foundation. So eating more low-energy-dense foods can help you control your calorie intake and help you lose pounds or maintain a healthy weight.
High in Carbs and Fiber
Adding black beans to your salad or side dish is a good way to boost your fiber intake and energy levels. A 1/2-cup serving of cooked black beans contains 20 grams of carbohydrates and 7 grams of fiber. Women need 25 grams of fiber a day, and men require 38 grams. Getting more fiber in your diet may protect you against cardiovascular disease and help you maintain a healthy weight. The carbs in the black beans are used as a source of energy to fuel body functions such as your heartbeat, as well as physical activity.
Good Source of Protein with Little Fat
The protein and fat content in black beans makes the food a healthy alternative to other sources of protein such as high-fat meats. A 1/2-cup serving of cooked black beans contains 8 grams of protein and less than 1 gram of fat. As a plant-source of protein, black beans do not contain all of the essential amino acids, making the beans an incomplete source of protein. But as long as you eat a healthy, balanced diet throughout the day that includes grains and vegetables, you should be able to get all the amino acids your body needs to maintain protein levels.
Source of Essential Vitamins and Minerals
Black beans are high in folic acid and magnesium and a good source of potassium and iron, which are all essential nutrients your body needs to function properly. You need adequate intakes of folic acid so that your body can continue to make healthy new cells. Additionally, women who may become pregnant need folic acid to prevent birth defects. Magnesium is a mineral that helps with the production and distribution of energy, as well as the synthesis of protein. Without enough iron, your body would not be able to adequately oxygenate itself. Potassium is important for muscle and nerve function and also fluid balance.
- FatFree: Nutritional Data for Beans; Black, Mature Seeds, Cooked, Boiled, WO/ Salt
- U.S. Department of Agriculture: 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans
- British Nutrition Foundation: What Is Energy Density?
- Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Health Implications of Dietary Fiber
- McKinley Health Center: Macronutrients: The Importance of Carbohydrates, Protein and Fat
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Protein
- MedlinePlus: Folic Acid
- MedlinePlus: Magnesium in the Diet
- KidsHealth: Minerals