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7 Health benefits of the black beans

1.     Black beans may help improve your digestive system.

The black bean is loaded with fiber. A one-cup (194 grams) serving of black beans contains 29 grams of dietary fiber. The daily recommended dietary fiber intake for men and women are 38 grams and 25 grams, respectively. Fiber may help prevent constipation, making one’s bowel movement easier to manage.

2.     Black beans can help individuals with diabetes maintain their blood sugar levels.

The high content of fiber and steady digestion also prevent spikes and crashes in the blood sugar levels. Unsteady sugar levels can be fatal for diabetics.

3.     Black beans are low in the glycemic index.

The glycemic index (GI) ranks food and drinks based on their blood sugar increase potential. Foods high on the glycemic index (such as white rice and white bread) will break down easily and cause blood sugar and insulin level spikes after meals, which is followed by rapidly dropping blood sugar levels. Black beans are slowly absorbed into the bloodstream, which prevents sugar crashes, sugar cravings, and mood swings.

4.     Black beans contain more antioxidants than one may think.

The black bean contains more antioxidant activity than any other bean. A study, published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry in 2003, revealed that beans with darker seed coats contained more flavonoids. Flavonoids are a color-producing phytonutrient pigments that function as antioxidants in the body to fight disease and free radicals. Phytonutrients are plant compounds (some more responsible for the plant’s color than others) that helps the plant’s ability for survival from UV radiation and diseases.

Black beans also contain a high concentration of anthocyanins, such as delphinidin, petunidin, and malvidin. One hundred grams of black beans contain 214 milligrams of anthocyanins.

5.     Black beans can help you stay looking young.

Antioxidants like anthocyanins do not only fight against diseases. Black beans contain the potential to prevent premature aging caused by sunlight overexposure.

6.     Black beans can help individuals detoxify.

Sulfites are acidic compounds found in wines, dried fruits, and some vegetables, which can cause side effects, such as headaches and disorientation. Studies have shown that black beans are extremely high in molybdenum, a rare mineral not frequently found in foods. This mineral counteracts these side effects.

7.     Black beans can also boost your nervous system.

Molybdenum also helps in cell energy production and development of the nervous system. Black beans also provide the brain the necessary amino acids, vitamins, and minerals. Some vitamins, including vitamin B9, or folate or folic acid, play an important role in the regulation of specific amino acids that the nervous system requires. Studies have shown that a deficient amount of dietary folate can increase the homocysteine levels, which can be a dangerous precursor to neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.

Top 5 Chia seeds benefits

Being rich in so many key nutrients, research has uncovered that regularly eating chia seed can improve your health in numerous ways. Some of the top chia seed benefits are:

1. Skin & Aging

This past July, researchers from Mexico uncovered that chia seeds had a total natural phenolic (antioxidants) concentration nearly two times higher than previously reported, and the antioxidant activity was shown to stop up to 70% of free radical activity.

Essentially proving that chia seeds are one of nature’s riches antioxidants. Antioxidants speed up the skin’s repair systems, and prevent further damage. Taking chia seeds can prevent premature skin aging due to inflammation free radical damage.

2. Digestive Health

Chia is super-high in fiber, providing nearly 11 grams per ounce. One serving can provide the recommended fiber intake for the day, according to the American Dietetic Association

Fiber is essential for your body’s ability to balance insulin levels.  According to the National Institute of Health, seeds like flax and chia can be a natural blood sugar balancer due to it’s high fiber content and healthy fats.

Being high in dietary fiber, chia helps promote bowel regularity and healthy stool. The rich fiber content in chia seeds also helps people feel more full quicker because it absorbs a considerable amount of water and immediately expands in the stomach when eaten. This may explain why clinical studies have proven that chia curbs hunger and suppresses appetite, which can also lead to weight loss.

Also when consumed, chia seeds create a gelatin-like substance in the stomach.  This gel-forming action is due to the soluble fiber in chia seeds and it can work as a prebiotic supporting the growth of probiotics in the gut.

3. Heart Health

Chia seeds’ ability to reverse inflammation, regulate cholesterol and lower blood pressure make it extremely beneficial to consume for heart health. Also, by reversing oxidative stress, someone is less likely to develop atherosclerosis when they’re regularly consuming chia seeds.

In a nutshell, according to an article published in the journal Reviews on Recent Clinical Trials:

“The available human and non-human studies show possible effectiveness for allergies, angina, athletic performance enhancement, cancer, coronary heart disease (CHD), heart attack, hormonal/endocrine disorders, hyperlipidemia, hypertension, stroke, and vasodilatation. Some evidence also suggests possible anticoagulant, antioxidant, and antiviral effects of Salvia hispanics.”

And Chia seeds are high in linoleic, a fatty acid which helps the body absorb fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K.  For such a tiny seed, chia is quite high in healthy fats boasting more Omega-3 fatty acids than salmon. Omega-3’s work to protect the heart by lowering blood pressure, bad cholesterol, and inflammation. Inflammation can put strain on blood vessels and cause heart disease. So by eating chia seeds you can boost and protect your heart!

4. Help Treat Diabetes

Because chia seeds are rich in alpha-linolenic acid and fiber, researchers from the University of Litoral in Argentina set out to determine how chia seeds can help prevent metabolic disorders like dyslipidemia (excessive fat in the blood) and insulin resistance  which are two factors in the development of diabetes. Published in the British Journal of Nutrition, I find this article extremely fascinating because
these scientists conducted two studies at the same time and uncovered some profound data.

  • The first test evaluated how healthy Wistar rats responded to 3 weeks of a sucrose-rich diet (SRD) in which chia seeds made up theprimary dietary source of fats.
  • The second test took healthy rats and fed them a SRD for 3 months so that they developed dyslipidemia and insulin resistance. Then, they fed these newly diseased rats SRD + chia seeds for an additional 2 months.

The results were astounding:

  • During the first examination, eating chia seeds completely prevented the onset of dyslipidemia and insulin resistance. In fact, the blood levels in these rats didn’t change at all in spite of having 65% of their diet comprised of sugar for 3 weeks!
  • During the second examination, after the dyslipidemic and diabetic rats were fed chia seeds + SRD for two months, they completely recovered from their conditions. The researchers also discovered that the dietary addition of chia seeds also reduced visceral adipose tissue, a “belly fat” tissue that effects the metabolism of the body and is a component of obesity!

In a nutshell, chia seeds was proven to halt diabetes and reverse it!

5. Boost Your Energy & Metabolism

A recent study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning concluded that consuming chia seeds enhanced exercise performance for workouts that lasted 90 minutes the same way a sugar-laden sports drink would, but without all the sugar.

In the study, half of the athletes drank 100 percent Gatorade, while the others consumed half Gatorade and half chia drink.  Their runners time were matched and the half-chia group consumed far less sugar.

  • By adding a serving of chia seeds a day you can help boost your metabolism and burn belly fat as well! Studies show that the addition of chia seeds to your diet also reduces visceral adipose tissue, a “belly fat” tissue that effects the metabolism of the body and is a component of obesity!

Things you need to know about Quinoa

1. it’s delicious
No matter how ‘good for you’ a food is, I don’t include it in my diet unless it passes the taste test. Puffed quinoa won’t be starring on stonesoup anytime soon but the whole grains definitely make it. Slightly nutty and grainy, they’re something I could keep eating and eating.

2. it’s high in protein
A big positive for vegetarians as I’ve learned recently. It’s also pretty good on iron and fibre, which gets the nutritionists excited.

3. it’s gluten free
With my Dad being gluten intolerant, I’m always appreciative of new options to cook for him. He’s pretty keen on the rolled quinoa flakes for breakfast as well.

4. it needs washing before use
I read somewhere that the surface of quinoa contains a chemical called saponin that has a bitter soapy taste. Most commercial quinoa will already be washed and have the saponin removed but it’s a good idea to rinse it just before you use it in case there are residues.

5. it comes in different colours
Just like grapes, quinoa comes in different varieties. The most common is white, but there are also red and black. I’ve only ever come across the white variety.

6. it comes in different forms
Just like corn, it can be puffed or rolled into flakes or you can buy it whole.

7. it looks like a grain but is actually a seed

8. it has an interesting texture
The thing I love about quinoa is it’s texture. Something a little like barley with its chewiness, it also has a light fluffiness akin to well prepared couscous.

9. it’s better if you cook it
One of my first experiment with quinoa I just rinsed it in boiling water, tossed it in dressing and used it in a salad. It was edible but a little weird.

10. you can also eat the leaves
I’m yet to find a souce of fresh quinoa or it’s leaves but if you do apparently the leaves are edible. Something like chard or silverbeet.

11. it’s becoming more readily available
In Australia it’s even available in the ‘health food’ section of our supermarkets. Am sure any health food store worth its lentils would either already stock quinoa or be able to source it for you.

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