The Magical Fruit: Beans Nutrition Comparison

Beans are one of the very best foods you can eat. No matter what type of bean you’re eating, they’re all rich in fiber, especially insoluble fiber which keeps things moving along through your digestive tract, regulates blood sugar, can protect against heart disease.

You might know me as the nutritionist to celebrities, but most of my clients are ordinary people whose families I’ve known for years. They’re regular people who value a dollar just as much as the rest of us.

Beans are the most economical protein you can buy; even organic beans are inexpensive compared to organic meat and poultry. And stock up when you see a sale – dried beans keep up to two years in the pantry. Cooked beans can be frozen for up to three months.

On the Fast Metabolism Diet, you can use ½ cup cooked beans in place of 4 oz. of meat for your protein on Phase 1 and Phase 3.

Bean benefits

All beans are high in magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and folate, with some calcium as well. Folate is especially important because it protects your heart and mental faculties, and in pregnant women it helps prevents birth defects.

Beans also contain many of the 20 amino acids including lysine, which scavenges cellulite and surface fat, leaving you looking sleek and lean. If you’re eating beans as a protein source, they must be combined with a grain, such as brown rice, to create a complete protein similar to what you’d get from meat. (This is also one reason you don’t want to choose beans for Phase 3 lunch, there’s no grain at lunch time.)

With all those similarities, it’s easy to think that all beans are alike — but that’s not the case. Here’s a peek at the specific nutritional benefits of some of the beans on the Fast Metabolism Diet.

Looking for a meal that will really sustain you? Look to navy, adzuki, pinto and black beans, which have the highest fiber content. Concerned about calcium? Navy beans have almost three times as much as black beans. Need to find a potassium source to replace that banana you used to have every day? Just ½ cup of adzuki beans has twice the potassium of small banana!

Make the most of your beans

No matter what sort of dried beans you’re buying, look for bean seeds that are bright and smooth, with minimal cracking and no broken beans. Keep in mind that the cooking process can take a while: Soaking the beans overnight will help cut down on the hard-to-digest complex sugars that cause gas; then the beans need to be simmered for 45 minutes to 2 hours, depending on the variety, before they become soft and tender. If you need your beans in a hurry, opt for pre-cooked canned beans in BPA-free packaging.

Per cup, cooked: Beans nutrition comparison

Adzuki beans Black beans Black-eyed peas (cowpeas) Chickpeas (garbanzo beans) Kidney beans Lima beans Navy beans Pinto beans
How they taste Nutty, slightly sweet Sweet, a little bit earthy Smooth, creamy, earthy Nutty, buttery-smooth Meaty, robust Buttery-smooth, mildly sweet Very mild, sweet Earthy, a little bit sweet
Fiber 16.8g 15.4g 11.2g 12.5g 11.3g 13.2g 19.1g 15.4g
Calcium 65mg 46mg 41.3mg 80mg 62mg 32mg 126mg 79mg
Iron 4.6mg 3.61mg 4.3mg 4.74mg 3.93mg 4.49mg 4.3mg 3.57mg
Magnesium 120mg 120mg 91.1mg 79mg 74mg 81mg 96mg 86mg
Phosphorus 386mg 241mg 268mg 276mg 244mg 209mg 262mg 251mg
Potassium 1224mg 611mg 478mg 477mg 717mg 955mg 708mg 746mg
Sodium 18mg 2mg 6.9mg 11mg 2mg 4mg 0mg 2mg
Zinc 4.07mg 1.93mg 2.2mg 2.51mg 1.77mg 1.79mg 1.87mg 1.68mg
Folate 278mcg 159mcg 358mcg 282mcg 230mcg 156mcg 255mcg 294mcg