Nowadays, people are increasingly aware of the importance of self-care and seek to consume products that contribute to their health and well-being. As a result, there is a tendency to seek functional foods, which are characterized by containing bioactive components that provide benefits beyond basic nutrition and can prevent diseases such as diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.
As a result of this interest in the relationship between food and health, there has been an increase in recent years in the consumption of plant-based foods, mainly fruits, vegetables, cereals, and legumes, since they are excellent sources of antioxidants, such as vitamins C, E and A, and beta carotene.
Antioxidants are molecules capable of neutralizing the oxidizing action of free radicals by releasing electrons in our blood. Their consumption provides additional protection against the harmful action of substances from the diet and the environment that affect our health.
Cellular damage caused by free radicals can lead to several degenerative and chronic diseases such as Alzheimer's disease, many types of cancer, heart disease, immune system problems, diabetes, etc. It is important to mention that these diseases are the leading cause of death in Mexico.
Some more specific sources of antioxidants are citrus fruits, onions, olives, and beans. In this case, we will talk about black beans, which are considered a healthy and functional food with good nutritional value, as they are high in protein and high in dietary fiber, as well as phytates, tannins, and non-digestible oligosaccharides.
Black beans are the most widely consumed type of bean in central and southwestern Mexico. This legume has some advantages over other types of beans, such as, for example, that its price is very affordable compared to the mayocoba variety, which is the most consumed in the north of the country.
The consumption of black beans provides nutrients
It provides about 8.86 g of protein per 100 grams. They contain a large amount of protein similar to meat. In addition, they can provide us with all the amino acids that the organism needs, but, unlike meat, they contain very little saturated fat and no cholesterol, which makes them especially healthy.
The antioxidants present in black beans are phytic acid, which has been shown to reduce the risk of cancer, mainly colon and breast cancer, and tannins, which are astringent and bitter-tasting substances that belong to the polyphenol family and function as antioxidants, anticarcinogenic and antimutagenic.
Black beans are rich in fiber, both soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber can reduce cholesterol levels, as well as regulate blood sugar levels, making black beans ideal for diabetic patients. Insoluble fiber helps regulate the digestive system and prevents constipation.
It has a high magnesium content and is a good source of potassium, iron, calcium, zinc, and phosphorus. It also contains molybdenum, whose main function is to detoxify the body of sulfite from different foods, such as sausages (sausages, hams, etc.).
Regarding polyphenols, which have been reported to prevent chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases, some of the most abundant in black beans are quercetin-3-O-glucoside, quercetin, myricetin, and myricetin-3-O-glucoside.
It is also a source of anthocyanins such as delphinidin-3-O-glucoside, petunidin-3-O-glucoside, and malvidin-3-O-glucoside. Frequent consumption of foods rich in anthocyanins has been linked to a decrease in the incidence of metabolic diseases such as diabetes.
As we can see, consuming black beans has benefits that contribute to a good state of health, besides the fact that it is a food, cheap and is a very versatile ingredient in Mexican gastronomy, since they can be prepared in salads, especially sprouted, as well as cooked, in creams, and so on.
By María Fernanda Herrera Salguero, student of the Tecnológico de Los Mochis attached to the Research Initiation Program of CIAD, and Erick Paul Gutiérrez Grijalva, Conacyt Chairs researcher assigned to the Culiacán Regional Coordination of CIAD.