Are Beans Healthy or Not?

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“Beans, beans, good for your heart …”

You may remember the little slogan that was popular, at least in my elementary school, among second graders. It reminds us of the cardiovascular benefits of eating beans, among other things, with a light heart!

It turns out that there may be some truth in old nursery rhymes. While it is true that beans contain heart health benefits (and in the negative, they can also cause stomach upset), the health benefits of beans are not so much cut and dried.

Why are beans contradictory?

Vegetarians and vegetarians rely on black beans, lentils and other types of beans as their primary source of protein. However, beans are completely avoided in foods such as paleo and keto because they contain controversial compounds called lectins.

Beans also have different grades. While lentils (or garbanzo beans), seaweed, and many other B vitamins are a good source, most Americans derive their beans from unhealthy soy products, which are devoid of such beneficial nutrients.

Peanuts are also technically part of the bean family, as they are classified as a bean (and not a nut). Sadly, peanut allergies are on the rise, especially among children.

Here are some suggestions on how to look or get an appointment for antique beans, in order to maximize their nutritional value.

Pros: The health benefits of beans

There are some nutrients in beans. They are rich in dietary fiber, an excellent source of protein, and contain vitamins such as folate and iron.

They are also usually low fat and have few calories, which makes them lazy in the Mediterranean diet and carb diet.

It also turns out that the second graders in my class were fine: beans, in fact, for your heart health! May be good! Pinto beans, in particular, help lower LDL cholesterol, which lowers the risk of heart disease, according to a study.

Another study found that eating baked beans helped reduce the risk factors for type 2 diabetes, while another study found that eating kidney beans could help reduce inflammation in the large intestine. Is. And if you’re trying to lose weight, the good news: Another study found that bean consumption was linked to lower back circumference, lower body weight, and lower blood pressure.

But before you go crazy eating high fiber beans in every meal, we need to understand their risk factors, and how to reduce them.

cons: Can’t beans be healthy?

The biggest problem with beans is that they contain lectin, which is also found in large amounts in grains. As a protective measure for plants – Lectin acts primarily as a thorn in rose bushes. Instead of prickly soaps that damage our skin, lectins attack our digestive system, prompting predators (or users like us) to stay away.

One of the experts I consider the most on this topic is Dr. Steven Gundry, a renowned heart surgeon and author of the book Plant Paradox. He explains in our podcast interview:

Lectins are a sticky plant protein, and have been developed by plants as a defense against eating. These plants don’t want to be eaten; so one way to counteract their food is to make these lectins, which like to bind specific sugar molecules in us or in any of their predators. And those sugar molecules stick to our intestinal wall. They line our blood vessels, they connect our joints. They fill in the gaps between the nerves. And when lectins hit these places, they are a major cause of leaky bowel. They can break the gut wall barrier. They are a major cause of arthritis, they are a major cause of heart disease, and they are, in my research, a major cause of autoimmune diseases.

We can understand that some lectins are more toxic than others, but all lectins have some effect on the body. That is why grains, beans, and other foods containing lectin cannot be eaten raw. In fact, eating just a few raw kidneys can cause vomiting and digestive problems.

Another problem with lectins is that they can contribute to obesity and diabetes. Lectins can bind to any carbohydrate-binding protein cells, including insulin and leptin receptors, making them unhealthy. Without proper insulin and leptin function, problems such as metabolic syndrome can arise.

How to reduce lectins in beans and grains

Fortunately, it is possible to reduce the amount of lectin in beans and grains by using some traditional cooking methods. Storage, yeast, soaking and pressure cooking are all useful ways to reduce lectins, but keep in mind that none of these methods can completely remove lectin. You can also buy certain brands, some of which have taken steps, so you don’t have to prep yourself.

You can choose to avoid beans altogether, but if your body is not very sensitive to lectin, you can cut the beneficial fiber content with these preparation methods. Start enjoying half a cup at a time or see how you feel. You may want to check your cholesterol levels before and after trying these methods!

How to get rid of beans

The easiest way to remove lectins before cooking is to soak the dried beans overnight. For best results, cover the beans completely with cold water, and add a little baking soda to help neutralize the lectins. Since lectin will leak into the water, try to change the soaking solution at least once or twice. Drain and clean one last time before the kitchen to make sure you have been removed as much as possible.

How to sprout beans

If you want to take it one step further, you can tear the lobes once they get wet. To do this, it is best to use special sprouts, which are free of any bacteria. If you were boiling them as usual, it would be killed.

After soaking, place the beans in a mason jar with a cloth protected by a spring lid, or rubber band. Turn the jar over to a bowl, and remove it out of the way on the kitchen counter. You should see the sprouts within a day, but you can keep them sprouting for a while if you prefer. Be sure to rinse them once a day. For more details on how to grow individual stocks and grains, this is a great resource.

How to ferment beans

If you like your beans a little more, there may be a way to ferment. Like the sprouting process, you will want to start rinsing and soaking your beans, except when you want to cook them.

I recommend boiling them on the stove for at least an hour, or gently toss the soaked beans in the cooker and keep for six to eight hours less. Next, add cooking (such as garlic or salt) and a culture, such as kabucha, yogurt, or a culture powder that you can buy at the store. Engage them a little so that more surface area can be bent, covered and stored in a warm place for several days. Open the lid a little every day to release excess gas, then refrigerate when done.

Serve your fermented beans as a side dish, or enjoy them as a fresh side dish!

Use a pressure cooker

Another easy way to reduce and eliminate lectins almost completely is to cook food in a pressure cooker like an instant pot. This greatly reduces the lectin content of beans and is an easy and quick way to cook them.

Like other preparation methods, which I have mentioned above, I recommend changing the water several times, then pressurize the cooking according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Buy Safe Brands

If you don’t want to go through the trouble of soaking and cooking the lobes yourself, Dr. Gundri Eden recommends brand new beans. They are pre-soaked, baked in pressure cookers, then stored in BPA free cans. Go ahead and eat these beans straight out of the container for the ultimate low lectin convenience!

To what extent is the use of lectin safe?

This is a difficult question to which there is no single answer. Remember that many foods contain not only beans and nuts but also lectins. We cannot completely avoid them. The key is finding a workable balance that minimizes the worst sources.

My personal suggestion is to get high in lectins, lentils, yeast, or pressure cook foods, such as lentils, seeds, nuts, and grains such as barley, oats, and wheat.

Nightshade vegetables such as tomatoes, potatoes, peppers and eggplants also contain lectin and can be reduced by peeling and straining.

What do I do to avoid lectin?

Personally, I avoid grains and legumes until properly prepared, soak nuts overnight, and avoid all processed and commercially prepared foods, grains and soy.

When I was actively working to prevent my autoimmune disease, I avoided lectins more carefully. Likewise, if you are overweight or trying to lose weight, avoiding lectins can be helpful.

For many people, avoiding lectins for a year or so can relax the intestinal lining, improve gut bacteria, facilitate weight loss, and reduce allergy symptoms. If you or your child has an unknown allergy or bowel problem, try to remove beans completely from your diet to help you see.

Bottom line

Although many people in the United States do not germinate or ferment their beans and grains, it will be worth the effort. After all, beans are known to lower cholesterol and fight heart disease. On the other hand, if you eat beans that affect your gut health, or your children have a severe reaction to them, you may want to avoid them a little harder.

This article was reviewed by Dr. Lorraine Jeffers, a board certified doctor in internal medicine and pediatrics. As always, this is not personal medical advice and we recommend that you talk to your doctor or work with a doctor at Study MD.

Do you eat beans If so, how (s)? Share below!


  1. Afshin, A., Maicha, R., Khatibzada, S., & Muzaffarin, D. (2014). Use of nuts and words and the risk of ischemic heart disease, stroke, and diabetes: systematic review and meta-analysis. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 100 (1), 278-288.
  2. Monk, J. M, Zhang, CP, Wu, W, Zaripur, L, Lu, J, T, Liu, R, R and Shakti, K. A. (2015). White and black kidney beans reduce colonic mucosal damage and inflammation in response to dextran sodium sulfate. Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, 26 (7), 752-760.
  3. Papinkolaou, Y., and Filguni III, VL (2008). Beans consume more nutrients, lower systolic blood pressure, lower body weight and a shorter waist circumference in adults. Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 27 (5), 569-576.
  4. Weinham, D.M., Hutchins, A.J. M., and Johnston, CS (2007). The use of pinto beans lowers the biomarker for the risk of heart disease. Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 26 (3), 243-249.
  5. Weinham, D. M., and Hutchins, A. M. (2007). The use of baked beans lowers serum cholesterol in hypercholesterolemic adults. Nutrition Research, 27 (7), 380-386.

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