The Mighty Bean - a nutritional superfood for hormone, gut, and metabolic health!

To bean or not to bean? We vote YES, always! Beans are having a moment and they deserve all the spotlight in our opinion. You’ve probably seen them added to our dishes recently and with good reason. Beans (and legumes in general) are nutrient powerhouses that can help support hormone balance, healthy gut microbiome diversity, and markers of metabolic dysfunction. The best part about beans for us at AIYANA Nutrition, is that they are so versatile in dishes - they can be added to soups, salads, dips, desserts… the opportunities are endless! 


Beans and Hormone Regulation 

The vitamins and minerals in beans are all supportive of hormonal production, supporting specific hormones like insulin, estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. Another component that is crucial for hormone balance is the fiber in beans. Beans are filled with both soluble (softening stool & helping things pass easily) and insoluble fibre (creating bulk in the stool & doesn’t break down in your system). Both are necessary to have optimal poops! The soluble fiber in beans facilitates the removal of toxins, hormones, and fats that your body processes around the clock through the liver using bile. Bile binds to fiber in the digestive tract very well, which ensures that all the byproducts your body and liver are trying to excrete are actually excreted and not reabsorbed in the colon (this often is happening when you start to see signs of hormonal imbalance). 

Beans and Gut Health 

So, is the more you eat the more you fart, theory accurate? There’s no hiding it, beans can cause only slight digestive upset in some and can be intolerable for others. This is because of their prebiotic content, higher soluble fibre content, and a carbohydrate called Raffinose, which the body can’t break down. When prebiotics, soluble fibre, and raffinose enter the large intestine, the bacteria in your gut start to feed on it through a process called fermentation. During the fermentation process, the bacteria produce byproducts that cause gas, bloating and sometimes cramping. This process is great for your colon because it produces short chain fatty acids that help regenerate colon cells and produce anti-inflammatory activity in the gut, protecting against most gastrointestinal diseases. Typically, bloating occurs initially but will subside around 4 weeks as your gut diversity increases.  


Beans and Metabolic Function 

When looking at metabolic function and blood levels for pre-diabetes markers, beans have a positive impact on insulin levels, LDL cholesterol, and body mass index. There's no doubt that anything with beans is always satiating. They have a foundational profile of protein, fibre and carbohydrates. The fibre in beans helps to reduce your blood sugar spikes and metabolic function. The insoluble fiber works alongside bioflavonoids in beans to reduce LDL cholesterol levels and triglycerides in the bloodstream. The protein helps increase daily protein requirements and helps with weight management, which lowers body mass index. If you or anyone you know is struggling with any of these blood markers, it can be beneficial for them to include 1-2 servings of beans per day in their diet.  

Despite the unpleasant symptoms that may or may not come along with eating beans, there’s no doubt that beans are a nutritional powerhouse with a lot of promising benefits. By incorporating beans into your diet, you can reap the many anti-inflammatory benefits alongside improved hormonal, gut, and metabolic health! So, indulge yourself in some mighty beans and we hope we can help make them a staple in your diet. If you’re looking for more beans in your life, we recommend trying our new Tuscan White Bean + Kale Soup or the Tex-Mex Chicken Chili.
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