5 Health Benefits of Beans—and 5 Surprising Risks

Beans are nutritional powerhouses packed with protein, fiber, B vitamins, iron, potassium, and are low in fat; but this mighty food can also pose potential health risks.

Health Benefits

  • Beans can prevent heart disease.
  • Beans can fight cancer.
  • Beans can lower cholesterol.
  • Beans can help you lose weight.
  • Beans can help manage diabetes.

 Health Risks

  • Beans can cause migraines;Some legumes can trigger migraines or an allergic reaction in some people. If this happens, talk to a doctor and eliminate the culprit from your diet.
  • Beans can raise blood pressure; If you take a monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitor to treat depression, avoid fava beans because they can interact with your medication and raise blood pressure.
  • Beans can interfere with vitamin absorption; Some beans, like soybeans, contain substances that interfere with the absorption of betacarotene and vitamins B12 and D. The heat from cooking inactivates most of these substances, making vitamin absorption more likely.
  • Beans can trigger gout;If you suffer from gout, talk to your doctor about your bean consumption. People with gout are often advised to forgo dried peas, beans, lentils, and other legumes because of their high purine content.
  • Beans can make you gassy; While not technically a health risk, beans can cause an embarrassing flatulence problem, particularly dried beans, lentils, and peas. Help reduce gas production by changing the water several times during the soaking and cooking process, and always rinse canned beans. Adding herbs like lemon balm, fennel, and caraway, or combining cooked legumes with an acidic food, might also help prevent flatulence.

By Alyssa Jung

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