The Black Bean Effect

Black Bean Effect

Black Bean Effect

Studies have shown that eating beans and other legumes such as lentils, kidney beans, lima beans, and black beans, helps to maintain healthy blood sugar levels by slowing the body’s digestion of carbohydrates. The fiber and protein in beans also help to keep you feeling full after a meal, and reduce overall calorie intake. The phytonutrients in black beans, including anthocyanins, saponins, quercetin, and kaempferol, are known to have antioxidant properties which may help reduce the risk of chronic diseases including heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and inflammation.

The soluble fiber in black beans has been found to prevent constipation and promote regularity for a healthy digestive tract. The resistant starch in beans provides fuel for the bacteria in the colon, promoting healthy bacteria that can help digest food and absorb nutrients from the intestinal tract. Dietary fiber also acts as a “bulking agent” that can decrease appetite and promote feelings of satiety to help individuals feel full after meals, and therefore eat less.

Black beans contain many important nutrients including folate, potassium, vitamin B6, and magnesium. These vitamins and minerals are important for a variety of vital bodily functions, especially proper bone health and the regulation of blood pressure. Black beans also contain dietary fiber which has been linked to lower blood cholesterol levels and a reduced risk of coronary heart disease.

Research has shown that black beans can provide a unique combination of protein, fiber, resistant starch, and prebiotics that can influence both the microbiota and insulin signaling in the intestinal tract. The resistant starch in black beans can be fermented by the bacteria in the colon to produce short-chain fatty acids such as butyrate, which can inhibit GPR43 and GPR41, increase occludin, decrease NF-kB, and promote glycemic control.

Researchers have found that black bean consumption increases the concentration of fecal short-chain fatty acids (SCFA), which are associated with increased satiety and decreased calorie intake. In addition, black bean consumption can increase the abundance of the incretin hormones GIP and GLP-1 in the intestine.

The anthocyanins in black beans have been shown to inhibit insulin resistance in human cells by downregulation of the Akt/GSK3 signaling pathway, as well as by increasing the activity of AMPK and decreasing phosphorylation of IRS-1 at Tyr896. These changes could explain why black beans have been shown to have a positive impact on blood sugar levels and metabolic markers of vascular health in diabetic patients. In a study comparing the effects of consuming casein alone, black bean alone, or a high-fat and sugary mixture on gut microbiota and cellular responses to an acute glucose challenge in rats, black bean consumption significantly attenuated glucose and insulin peaks in the blood, while maintaining normalization of the expression of key genes involved in these processes. The researchers also used the STRING database to identify protein-protein interactions for genes modulated by anthocyanin-rich black bean extract and found that a large number of these proteins were involved in cellular functions such as PI3K signaling, ERK signaling, type 1 diabetes mellitus, glucose metabolism, satiety, inflammatory responses, and insulin-like growth factor.