Big things do come in small packaging. A great example of this are beans. Most if not everybody is familiar with beans, they are foods which are small in size and can be used as an ingredient when cooking meals or can also be enjoyed as a solo snack.
But why are we making a big deal out of beans? Well, for food so small it surprisingly packs a whole lot of benefits. Take the carbs in pinto beans for example. As small as it is, it is able to provide something healthy and beneficial called ‘complex carbohydrates’ which gives energy the body needs.
Although, this is just a single example from one bean, what about other beans? Surely, you can tell that if we go through each one, there is going to be a lot.
Which is why we are going to focus on one aspect of the bean and that is how it helps and contributes to weight loss. Though by looking at its physical form, you might think that people will not get fat with beans since they are small, that’s not always the case. As there are different types of beans and they pose different contents, hence different impacts and effects on the body.
Anyhow, for now, we will be focusing on how to use beans for weight loss.
What are beans?
Beans are also called or known as legumes and pulses. Beans are found in the family plant of legumes, they are the seed which grows inside the pods and is released once the pod splits open.
Beans are most well known and praised for their abundance in nutritional value. In fact, beans can be identified in both the vegetable and protein group.
Beans for weight loss – How they help
There are a number of ways as to how they are effective for those who are trying to lose weight.
Beans make you satiated and suppresses your cravings
Despite being small in size, beans are very successful in making you feel full for longer periods of time, and this is mainly because of their protein content. Eating protein-rich foods causes us to feel satiated for a longer duration of time despite the amount of food you take because protein decreases ghrelin levels in our body.
Ghrelin also known as lenomorelin is a hormone which elevates appetite by sending signals to the brain the body is hungry or in need of food.
Other than making you feel full, beans also help in suppressing your cravings by preventing them. This is also caused by the protein content of beans. High in protein also means a higher chance of avoiding cravings.
Other benefits of protein are it increases muscle mass, keeps you fit, and it’s good for your bones.
Increases the burning of fat and calories
One contributor to this factor is the previously mentioned protein. This happens mainly because of the increased metabolism brought about by this nutrient.
This happens because when high amounts of protein are consumed, there is also an increase in the Thermic Effect of Food (TEF). Thermic Effect of Food occurs when the food that has been consumed undergoes digestion and metabolization.
Eating enough beans can trigger cholecystokinin
Because beans are rich in protein, there is a tendency for it to trigger the hormone cholecystokinin. What cholecystokinin does is that it improves the body’s digestion to the point that it can completely empty the stomach.
In addition to this, cholecystokinin triggers bile production in the liver which causes fats to shrink down, making it easier for enzymes to break them down. This hormone also increases the number of enzymes and fluid in the pancreas which makes the body digest food better than usual.
It is rich in fiber content
Aside from protein, beans are also rich in fiber nutrients. What makes this good is that both fiber and protein go hand in hand when it comes to weight loss and making you feel fuller.
For starters, foods which are rich in fiber make you chew slower and longer. What’s good about chewing for long periods of time is that it makes you eat less. This occurs because it takes a while for our brains to sense that we are full, which is why when you eat too fast your brain is unable to keep up with you.
Fiber-rich food also helps in keeping you satiated. This happens because the digestion of fiber in the body takes longer than usual. When this happens, insulin is slowly released as well, which reduces your sense of hunger.
Also, just like proteins, fiber helps in suppressing appetite.
Other benefits of beans
Nutrient dense food
Beans are highly nutrient-dense food. This is good because, when a food is high in nutrient-dense, it means it comes with a small number of calories. Therefore, the more you eat nutritious food, the less you will long for unhealthy foods, thus limiting your body’s intake of it.
Antioxidants are commonly found in fresh fruits and vegetables. Antioxidants are substances which protect the body cells from free radicals. Free radicals are also known as ‘Oxidative Stress’ which are single atoms formed from oxygen. What makes this bad for our cells is that these atoms do not have their corresponding pair, electrons usually come in pairs, which is why these single atoms or ‘free radicals’ tend to seek out other atom or electron which they can pair with, but then this causes damage not only to cells but also to DNA and protein as well.
Decrease in cholesterol
Beans are foods which are good for your cholesterol levels. Cholesterol is essential in the digestion of food and production of hormones. However, too much bad cholesterol can lead to serious health conditions such as heart disease and peripheral artery disease, which can lead to stroke and heart attack.
This happens because having high cholesterol can cause a buildup of plaque in the walls of your artery, which supplies oxygen to the heart and various parts of the body.
Good for diabetes
Beans are often recommended for those who have diabetes. This is because beans are low on the glycemic index and are one of the best in maintaining your blood sugar levels.
The glycemic index helps us determine the number of carbohydrates we are consuming and how this quickly affects our blood sugar. By using this tool, you are able to monitor and regulate your blood sugar.
Convenient, versatile and budget friendly
Beans come in many forms. They can be frozen, canned or dry. Also, beans can be prepared in many ways, they can be served as a main dish or side dish, appetizer or even as a solo snack.
In addition to this, beans are easy on the budget, instead of going for meat you can go for beans because just like meat beans are rich in proteins.
One of the best foods to incorporate into your diet when you are trying to lose weight are beans. They are rich in nutrients such as proteins and fiber, which help in making you feel satiated and improving your metabolism.
They can also act as a substitute for meat due to their protein content, and because they are a nutrient-dense food, the more you consume this food, the less you are taking in unhealthy foods or snacks.
Beans pose a lot of health benefits such as lowering cholesterol levels in your body which can prevent heart attack and stroke. This also includes diabetes as beans can regulate your consumption of carbohydrates that decreases your blood sugar levels.
As a bonus, beans are versatile, convenient, and budget-friendly food.
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