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Beans are an excellent source of fiber, protein, and B vitamins. They belong to the Fabaceae family of plants, which is what sets them apart from other fruits and seeds.
Beans offer a range of potential health benefits due to their high nutrient content. Some of the potential benefits that they provide include:
- reducing cholesterol
- decreasing blood sugar levels
- providing protein for energy
Below, we discuss some of the most healthful beans and their benefits. We also cover how to incorporate more beans into a balanced diet.
Soybeans, or edamame, are a popular bean in many parts of Asia. People consume soybeans raw, cooked, or in the form of tofu.
These beans are very high in protein. One cup of cooked soybeans contains 31.32 grams (g) of protein, making them an excellent choice for vegetarians and vegans.
The same quantity of soybeans also contains:
There is some scientific evidence to support claims that soybeans can help reduce the risk of cancer. Researchers believe that antioxidants called isoflavones are responsible for this effect.
Kidney beans are a popular ingredient in chili, salads, and rice dishes. One cup of cooked kidney beans
- 15.35 g of protein
- 13.10 g of fiber
- 5.20 mg of iron
Kidney beans are an excellent source of fiber. The high fiber content can help reduce blood sugar levels.
The authors also stated that a combination of rice and kidney beans forms the basis of many traditional dishes, so people may find it relatively easy to adhere to this type of healthful diet.
Chickpeas are rich in essential nutrients, with one cup of cooked chickpeas
- 14.53 g of protein
- 12.50 g of fiber
- 4.74 mg of iron
Another name for chickpeas is garbanzo beans. Chickpeas are popular in salads, and people also often roast them as a snack or use them to make hummus.
Chickpeas are similar to other beans in that they may help reduce people’s risk of heart disease and cancer. They can also help people maintain their blood sugar levels and stay at a healthy weight.
It is important to keep in mind that both of these studies received funding from hummus manufacturers.
Also called haricot beans, navy beans are a great source of many nutrients. One cup of cooked navy beans
- 19.10 g of fiber
- 14.98 g of protein
- 4.30 mg of iron
Navy beans get their name from their use as a staple food in American Navy kitchens. They also contain some B vitamins.
Navy beans may help reduce cholesterol and the risk of metabolic syndrome.
The authors of the study stated that the health benefits of these foods are well established in adults with high cholesterol.
People often use black beans in South and Central American cuisine. Black beans are a common ingredient in chili, rice and bean dishes, and burritos.
A cup of cooked black beans
- 15.24 g of protein
- 15.00 g of fiber
- 3.61 mg of iron
As with other beans on this list, black beans have a positive effect on blood sugar levels.
For example, a
Pinto beans contain
People eat pinto beans fried, mashed, or whole.
While these results are promising, more recent studies are necessary to confirm this potential benefit.
Beans are an excellent source of fiber, protein, and iron. Studies have shown that many of the nutrients in beans have potential health benefits, which range from decreasing cholesterol to maintaining low blood sugar.
People can add beans to their favorite recipes, replace meat with beans, and try new bean-based spreads.
The beans in this article are available for purchase online: