Health Benefits of White Beans
White beans, also known as white navy beans, offer extraordinary health benefits. They are loaded with antioxidants and provide a good supply of detoxifying molybdenum. They are also a good source of fiber and protein and rank low on the glycemic index. They produce alpha-amylase inhibitors which help regulate fat storage in the body. What's more, white beans deliver a good supply of magnesium, a mineral with multiple health benefits.
Continue reading to learn all about the nutritional and health benefits of white beans.
White beans have detoxifying properties
White beans are one of the most concentrated food sources of molybdenum. Despite being discovered already in 1778, molybdenum is a relatively unknown trace mineral. Nevertheless, it is extremely important for good health. Molybdenum is required to make and activate a number of detoxifying enzymes, including aldehyde oxidase and sulfite oxidase.
Aldehyde oxidase neutralizes acetaldehyde, a toxic metabolic byproduct of yeast, fungi, and alcohol. Acetaldehyde is also a significant constituent of tobacco and marijuana smoke as well as automotive exhaust. It is an irritant, a probable human carcinogen, and it has been shown to have a synergistic effect with nicotine, increasing the likelihood of addiction to cigarette smoking.
The mitochondrial enzyme sulfite oxidase (SO) catalyzes the sulfoxidation process which is responsible for converting sulfites, which may cause adverse health reactions in some people, into safer sulfates which are excreted in the urine. Adverse reactions associated with the ingestion of sulfites include cluster, tension and migraine headaches as well as asthma symptoms.
Beans rank low on the glycemic index
Rich in slow-digesting carbohydrates, protein and fiber, beans — including white beans — are considered a low GI food. The glycemic index, or GI, is a numerical index that ranks foods based upon their predicted impact on blood sugar levels.
Foods that score high on the glycemic index (e.g. white bread and potatoes) break down quickly during digestion and cause an immediate spike in blood sugar and insulin levels. This rapid rise is followed by a significant drop in blood sugar levels. These fluctuations have been linked to conditions like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, increased cravings for sugary foods, and tiredness.
By contrast, foods with a low GI value — such as white beans — do not trigger spikes in blood sugar levels. This in turn helps keep cravings and mood swings away. But the health benefits of low GI foods do not end there: low GI foods are also thought to help lower your risk of developing heart disease and adult-onset diabetes.
White beans fight against storage of energy as body fat
White beans and other foods with a low glycemic score also offer extraordinary weight loss benefits. When the carbohydrates in our food cause our blood sugar levels to rise, a polypeptide hormone called insulin is produced by the pancreas (a large gland organ located behind the stomach). The purpose of insulin is to bring the elevated blood sugar levels back down by stimulating the uptake of glucose (sugar) by the body's cells which can then use the glucose for energy. However, if the blood sugar levels are very high (e.g. after a high GI meal), insulin will cause some of the blood sugar to be stored as fat (for later use as energy). Low GI foods like beans have the opposite effect. Great news for those who are following a fat loss diet plan!
In addition to their gentle effect on blood sugar levels, white beans may provide weight loss benefits due their ability to produce alpha-amylase inhibitors. Alpha-amylase inhibitors are known to slow the absorption of carbohydrates (and thus the storage of energy as body fat) by inhibiting enzymes responsible for cutting starches into simpler sugars.
Antioxidants in white kidney beans promote good health and wrinkle-free skin
White beans deliver a hefty supply of antioxidants, substances that fight off disease and help maintain optimum health. Antioxidants are believed to protect the cells in your body from free radicals, unstable molecules that damage cells. Ultimately, the damage caused by free radicals can result in many chronic conditions and degenerative diseases including certain types of cancer, atherosclerosis, thrombosis, arthritis, heart disease, immune system problems, Alzheimer's disease, and dementia.
If you are on an anti-wrinkle diet, take note: Aside from offering protection against certain diseases, the free radical disarming activities of white beans may also offer beauty benefits by preventing premature aging of the skin triggered by excessive exposure to sunlight. When your body is exposed to sunlight, it creates large amounts of enzymes called metalloproteinases which help repair and remodel sun-injured collagen. That said, not all metalloproteinases are good for us. Some metalloproteinases destroy elastin and collagen fibers, and free radicals appear to promote the production of these harmful metalloproteinases. The effects of the destructive metalloproteinases accumulate over time, resulting in wrinkles and fine lines on the skin.
In addition to fighting wrinkles by providing skin-protecting antioxidants, white beans provide zinc, copper, and protein which can also help fight premature wrinkling of the skin.
White beans offer a truckload of magnesium
White beans offer a generous quantity of magnesium. Magnesium is an important macromineral that performs a number of key functions in the body. Most of us have heard that before, but few of us are aware of the exact health benefits magnesium offers, so here's a summary: Magnesium maintains the electrical potential across nerve and muscle membranes, and it helps you handle stress better. It is also necessary for healthy bones.
A diet rich in beans and other magnesium containing foods is particularly important to those who are at an increased risk of magnesium deficiency. Risk factors that increase the likelihood of magnesium deficiency include diarrhea, celiac disease and other gastrointestinal problems, high alcohol consumption, and diabetes mellitus.