Bean health benefit by Ray Sahelian, M.D.

April 7 2014

 

Beans are part of the legume family. They are high in starch, protein and dietary fiber and are an excellent source of iron, potassium, selenium, thiamine, vitamin B6, and folic acid. Rather than consuming the same type, it is a good idea to vary them and try different ones such as:

 

Black Beans

Fava
Great Northern
Kidney beans contain an inhibitor of alpha-amylase, which has been named phaseolamin. Alpha-amylase is an enzyme that helps the breakdown of starches.
Lima

Pinto is Spanish for spotted
Soy beans contain important isoflavones known as genistein and daidzein.
White

 

Bean health benefit, high fiber
Consumption has been associated with healthy levels of blood sugar and blood pressure, along with providing plenty of fiber as a relief of constipation and potential reduction of colon disease. See also information on nuts.

 

Does the processing of soy beans make them unsafe for human consumption? Do all nutritional products built on soy beans all use the highly process type or are they just ground like flour?
   I am not familiar with the food processing of soybeans, I would assume that there are countless different ways of processing soybeans.

 

Flatulence, excess gas
Beans are rich in fiber and resistant starches or oligosaccharides. These carbohydrates cannot be digested by enzymes found in the gut alone, so they are broken down by a process called bacterial fermentation in the intestines. The majority of flatulence, or gas, is a result of this bacterial fermentation.

 

Gas free beans?
Two strains of bacteria are the key to making beans flatulence-free. Two bacteria, Lactobacillus casei and Lactobacillus plantarum, can be added to beans to reduce distress to those who eat them, and to those around the bean-lovers. Flatulence is gas released by bacteria that live in the large intestine when they break down food. Fermenting makes food more digestible earlier on. It appears that adding these two gut bacteria to beans before cooking them makes them less likely to cause flatulence. When researchers fermented black beans with the two bacteria, they found it decreased the soluble fiber content by more than 60 percent and lowered levels of raffinose, a compound known to cause gas. They fed the beans to rats and then analyzed the rats' droppings to ensure that the beans were digested and kept their nutritional value. When pre-soaked in the L. casei, the beans stayed nutritious and produced few gas-causing compounds.

 

White Bean extract

Phase 2 Starch Neutralizer, a proprietary, standardized extract of the white bean, has been shown to significantly reduce the Glycemic Index of white bread. “The study demonstrated a reduction of the Glycemic Index of white bread with the addition of adequate amounts of Phase 2,” said Udani, medical director, Pacific West Research. “The GI of white bread was significantly decreased by the addition of 3000 mg of the Phase 2 brand white bean extract in powder form. At that dose, the GI was reduced by 20.23 points, or 39.07%,” said Udani. “All other tested dosage and formulations (except the 1500 mg capsule form) showed clinically meaningful reductions in the Glycemic Index without reaching statistical significance.” Udani utilized the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) standard method of Glycemic Index testing by performing an open-label, 6-arm crossover study involving 13 randomized subjects. GI testing was performed on commercially available white bread with, and without, the addition of Phase 2 capsules and Phase 2 powder, each in dosages of 1500 mg, 2000 mg, and 3000 mg. Phase 2 had previously been shown to delay the digestion and absorption of carbohydrates in a pilot study, and to reduce weight in two human weight loss studies. The ingredient is used in a variety of weight loss supplements sold worldwide. “With the appropriate dose and formulation, the Phase 2 white bean extract appears to be a novel and potentially effective method for reducing the GI of existing foods without modifying their ingredient profile,” added Udani. “Given the potential health benefits of a low GI diet, further study of Phase 2 at adequate dosage/formulation combinations with other high GI foods should be considered.”