All About Black Beans

History and Health Benefits

Black beans (raw and cooked)

The Spruce / Peggy Trowbridge Filippone

Black beans have long been a protein-rich staple food of many Latin American cultures. Today, black beans are enjoyed by most cultures around the world. These beans are packed with flavor and nutritional value. While many people associate these beans with dinner time, adding black beans to your breakfast can help boost your productivity.

Black Bean History

Black beans, botanically known as Phaseolus vulgaris, are native to the Americas. One of over 500 varieties of kidney beans, black beans are also known as turtle beans, caviar criollo, and frijoles negros. These beans date back at least 7,000 years when they were a staple food in the diets of Central and South Americans. They remain a popular food in many households in the Americas.

While the black bean is native to the Americas it has become popular around the world. These beans have become especially popular in contemporary Punjabi cuisine. In Louisana Cajun and Creole cuisine, the turtle bean has also become a staple. 

What Is a Black Bean?

The beans are about the size of a pea, up to 1/2-inch long, with the slightly less pronounced boat-shape common to kidney beans. They have a satiny black skin and a white center. When cooked, the beans have a creamy texture with a strong, slightly sweet flavor.

Health Benefits of Black Beans

Black beans are a great healthy addition to most diets. They're especially good for vegans and vegetarians because they're incredibly high in protein. There are even some great vegan brownie recipes that use black beans rather than eggs. If you love desserts for breakfast a black bean brownie is a great healthy alternative. These beans are also packed with fiber which aid in digestion. The fiber in these beans will also help lower your cholesterol and boost your overall heart health which is an all-around win. Beans are a complex carb and a protein which means it takes your body longer to digest them than simple carbs. This helps you feel fuller longer which is great for anyone on a diet. They're also full of vitamins like B6 which help boost your mood.

The More You Eat

Beans can make some people excessively gassy but there are ways to avoid this. Canned beans are usually easier on the digestive tract than dry beans. Soaking your beans overnight before you cook them can also help. Over-the-counter medicines like beano can also help you digest your beans. 

Black Beans As A Breakfast Food

Adding black beans to your breakfast food will also help your mood because it helps to stabilize your blood sugar. This means that including beans in your breakfast or lunch can help prevent that mid-afternoon slump of sleepiness and a sour mood.