Beans an often ignored super food

Published 10:39 am Friday, August 16, 2013

Red beans rate low on the glycemic index, which means their variety of carbohydrate doesn’t raise blood glucose levels quickly. Low GI (glycemic index) foods like red beans increase energy levels, help maintain a healthy weight and reduce risk of diabetes and heart disease. High GI foods can cause blood sugar spikes, which can lead to diabetes and hypoglycemia.

As if all these healthful benefits weren’t enough, red beans contain vitamins C (keeps blood vessels strong), K, B1 (stimulates attention and memory), B2 (needed to metabolize carbohydrates, fats and proteins), B6 (essential for building muscle), folic acid (necessary for the production of RNA and DNA, the body’s genetic material, especially in infancy, adolescence and pregnancy) and calcium (needed for strong bones and teeth). They also contain iron (needed to produce hemoglobin), magnesium and phosphorus (both needed for strong bones), zinc (needed for more than 300 enzymatic reactions by the body), copper (works with iron to form red blood cells), selenium (protects cells) and Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids (which work together to reduce inflammation within blood vessels, joints and throughout the body).

Red beans are, in fact, so extraordinary they made the Mayo Clinic’s 10 great health foods list. Don’t like red beans? That’s okay, because many beans and peas furnish similar healthful benefits.

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Email me at or visit David Crocker of Landrum has been a nutritionist and master personal trainer for 27 years. He served as strength director of the Spartanburg Y.M.C.A., head strength coach for the USC-Spartanburg baseball team, S.C state champion girls gymnastic team, and the Converse college equestrian team. He served as a water safety consultant to the United States Marine Corps, lead trainer to L.H. Fields modeling agency, and taught four semesters at USC-Union. David was also a regular guest of the Pam Stone radio show.