The Anti-Aging Benefits of Beans

Just a Few Reasons to Eat More Beans

Close up of red beans
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While researching anti-aging foods, I was amazed to learn that beans can not only be a healthy part of your diet, but contain anti-aging properties as well. Like most people, I knew that beans were a good source of protein and that unlike animal protein sources (like meat and dairy), they do not contain any unhealthy fat. But what I learned in my anti-aging food research it that beans are extremely high in antioxidants.

In fact, half a cup of dried red, kidney, or pinto beans contains some of the highest amounts of antioxidants in any food!

Nutritional Value of Beans

So beans are a great source of low-fat vegetarian proteins, but their nutritional benefits do not end there. Beans, like other legumes, also naturally contain fiber, a non-negotiable substance when it comes to gastrointestinal health. The fiber in beans also helps to satisfy you quicker, meaning you can feel full on less calories than a fiber-poor meal.

Beans are also a great source of folate (also known as folic acid or vitamin B9), which is known for its ability to help repair damaged cells. All-in-all, beans can be a great addition to any healthy diet, assuming that they are prepared without excess sodium or fats.

Just take look at some of this nutritional data for one of the most popular types of beans:

Nutrition Facts: Kidney beans, raw (Serving Size: 1 cup)  
Calories613 
Total Fat1.5 g2% Daily Value
Cholesterol0 g0% Daily Value
Sodium44 mg1% Daily Value
Potassium2587 mg73% Daily Value
Total Carbohydrate110 g 36% Daily Value
Dietary Fiber46 g184% Daily Value
Protein43 g86% Daily Value
Calcium 25% Daily Value
Vitamin C 13% Daily Value
Iron 83% Daily Value
Vitamin B-6 35% Daily Value
Magnesium 64% Daily Value

Though different types of beans carry slightly different stats (an equivalent serving of raw black beans, for example, has slightly less fiber and no vitamin C), all beans contain anthocyanin, a powerful flavonoid known for its antioxidant properties.

The Importance of Antioxidants in Anti-Aging

Antioxidants are especially important for anti-aging and longevity.

Antioxidants are not actually substances in and of themselves as the marketers might have you believe. Rather, the term antioxidant refers to a substance's ability to remove damaging oxidizing agents in the body, which explains how so many different natural substances have been described as antioxidants. What's most important in anti-aging nutrition is that antioxidants found in healthy food sources fight off the damage caused by free radicals, which helps protect your organs and tissues from long-term problems caused by metabolism and unhealthy foods as you age.

While you can certainly still get your antioxidant fix from certain supplements and vitamins like vitamin E and vitamin C, the best sources of all your nutritional needs are still whole foods. Try incorporating beans like black beans, kidney beans, and pinto beans, into a few meals a week. Your body will thank you!

More Anti-Aging Foods

If you're interested in learning more about naturally anti-aging foods, be sure to check out the next anti-aging food profile: Melons.

Sources:

Lila, Mary Ann. "Anthocyanins and Human Health: An In Vitro Investigative Approach." Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology 2004.5 (2004): 306-13.

Xianli Wu, Gary R. Beecher, Joanne M. Holden, David B. Haytowitz, Susan E. Gebhardt, and Ronald L. Prior. "Lipophilic and Hydrophilic Capacities of Common Foods in the United States." J. Agric. Food Chem., 52 (12), 4026-4037, 2004.

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