Black beans are also known as turtle beans, and they’re loaded with fiber, folate, potassium, and protein, so why not add them to your diet? They are three times cheaper than chicken, beef or fish, and a little goes a long way. Here’s all you need to know about the health benefits of eating these beans.

1.  They’re a Great Source of Protein

Just one cup of black beans contains 15 grams of protein, and are much more cost effective than buying expensive meat and poultry. The U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans considers black beans to be both a vegetable and a protein, so that’s twice as much tasty goodness!

2. Can Help Maintain Healthy Bones

Black beans are full of iron, phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, manganese, copper, and zinc, which all contribute to building and sustaining bone structure and strength.

Calcium and phosphorus are important for bone structure, while iron and zinc play important roles in maintaining the strength and elasticity of bones and joints.

Around 99 percent of the body’s calcium supply is stored in bone, so this means that it’s important to eat a diet high in these nutrients.

3. Managing Diabetes

Studies show that people with type 1 diabetes who have a high fiber diet have lower blood glucose levels, and those with type 2 diabetes may have improved blood sugar, lipids, and insulin levels when they eat lots of fiber.

Once cup of cooked black beans contains 15 grams of fiber. The FDA recommends an intake of 25 grams of fiber per day, based on a 2,000 calorie diet. The high fiber content of black beans is a great way to get most of your daily fiber intake from one meal alone.

4. Weight Loss

Because black beans contain so much fiber, they can be a handy tool in the fight against flab. Dietary fiber is recognized as an important factor in weight loss and weight management by acting as a bulking agent in the digestive system.

High fiber foods reduce appetite and make people feel fuller for longer, which can help lower calorie intake.

5. Could Prevent Cancer

Selenium is found in black beans, but it’s not present in most fruits and vegetables. This nutrient plays a role in liver enzyme function, and can help detoxify some cancer-causing compounds in the body. Selenium may also prevent inflammation and decrease tumor growth rates.

Black beans also contain saponins, which prevent cancer cells from multiplying and spreading, and they are also high in folate, which plays a role in DNA synthesis and repair.

6. Ward off Heart Disease

Black beans are a heart-healthy food, containing fiber, potassium, folate, vitamin B6, and phytonutrients, which all contribute to maintaining heart health.

The fiber helps to lower cholesterol in the blood, which decreases the risk of heart disease, while vitamin B6, and folate prevent the buildup of a compound known as homocysteine. This substance can damage blood vessels and lead to heart problems if it accumulates excessively in the body.

The quercetin in black beans is a natural anti-inflammatory that can reduce the risk of atherosclerosis, and protect against damage caused by bad LDL cholesterol.

7. Keep Blood Pressure Low

Keeping a low sodium intake is key to keeping blood pressure at a healthy level. Black beans are naturally low in sodium, and contain potassium, calcium, and magnesium, all of which have been linked to decreasing blood pressure naturally.

If you buy canned black beans, try to get the low sodium ones, and still rinse after draining to further reduce any remaining sodium.