Legumes are the unsung heroes of the nutrition world.
They are jam-packed with protein, antioxidants, and dietary fiber that feeds the probiotics in our gut.
That’s the 100 trillion good guys in your stomach that are responsible for fighting illness, protecting you from harmful bacteria, and maintaining balance in your body.
The legumes with the most fiber are navy, black, pinto, kidney and garbanzo beans, lentils, and soybeans.
Per a serving of one cup (approximately 150g), these little fiber powerhouses contain:
- Navy Beans: 19g
- Black Beans: 15g
- Pinto Beans: 15g
- Kidney Beans: 13.6g
- Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans: 12.5g
- Lentils: 15.6g
- Soybeans: 10.3g
Currently, the average fiber intake of the average American is 15g.
This is way below the recommended daily fiber intake of 25g to 40g.
Dietary fiber is essential for maintaining good gut health.
Not only does it move your food through your system faster, but it also feeds the healthy bacteria in your gut that defends your stomach lining from the nasty bacteria invaders.
Our bodies cannot absorb fiber.
It moves through the small intestine to the large intestine or colon, where it ends up feeding the probiotics in your colon.
It also increases the bulk of your poop and reduces the time that the food you eat spends in your intestines.
In addition, it:
- Reduces blood pressure and inflammation, two significant contributors to cardiovascular disease
- Reduces the risk of diabetes by lowering the absorption of sugar
- Lowers cholesterol levels
- Allows for better weight management. High fiber foods make you feel fuller for longer.
- Reduces the risk of cancers by providing the antioxidants to support your immune system
There are a plethora of ways to eat more fiber.
Here are some tips to up your fiber intake if you are falling short.
- Switch white rice to brown or red rice. The husks of rice contain heaps of fiber.
- Add legumes to every meal. Throw them into stews, soups, or salad! The recommended intake of legumes, according to the USDA, is ½ cup about three times a week.
- Keep a jar of oats or bran handy.
- Choose whole-grain over refined white bread.
- Increase your intake of fruits and vegetables.
- Munch on whole-grain snacks like crackers instead of refined sugars and cookies.
- If you’re lazy to cook, have some baked beans for breakfast!
Are Baked Beans High In Fibre?
Yes, they are! While not as high as other beans, baked beans are made with navy and other common beans.
They contain about 4g of fiber per 100g of baked beans.
Depending on the brand, canned baked beans usually contain navy or cannellini beans, soaked in a mix of spices, seasoning, salt, onions, and sugar.
It is worth keeping an eye on the sodium levels of your favorite baked bean brand.
The sodium content tends to be on the high side and not suitable for folks with health issues like high blood pressure.
Many baked bean brands also add heaps of sugar, so if sugar isn’t your thing, you might want to look at cans with reduced sodium and sugar.
On average, half a can of baked beans contains 1.2g of salt, 20% of the recommended daily intake.
It can also have about 9g of sugar, 10% of the recommended intake.
To avoid extra sugar and salt, it might be worth looking at making your own baked beans.
To make some homemade baked beans, you’ll need:
- Dried beans that you can presoak overnight to reduce the cooking time and remove the sugars
- Two cups of low-sodium chicken broth
- Worcestershire sauce
- Ketchup or tomato sauce
- Brown sugar
- Apple cider vinegar
- Black pepper
Here’s a popular recipe for baked beans.
Which Canned Beans Have The Most Fiber?
The canned beans with the highest fiber content are navy, adzuki, kidney, pinto, and black beans. You get about 10g of fiber for a ½ cup serving of beans.
Adults need about 25g to 38g of fiber each day.
Fiber consumption has been linked to several health benefits that are is crucial to our health.
In addition, beans deliver B vitamins, especially folate (vitamin B-9), and a host of other nutrients.
Since canned beans already come cooked, they make a convenient addition to all your meals.
Read the ingredient label on all the cans, and be sure to rinse them out of the brine before adding them to your meals.
That removes any sugars or salt added for taste.
Are Canned Beans Good For Constipation?
Yes, they are! Beans are an excellent source of fiber, which is the stuff that feeds your gut bacteria and helps move the food through the digestive system.
Dietary fiber is necessary to feed the gut bacteria and move the food throughout your intestines, into your colon, and out.
Constipation is a common gastrointestinal upset that affects millions a year.
More than 2.5 million people in the United States alone visit the doctor each year for constipation.
It is a condition where your colon, or large intestine, absorbs too much water from your waste and makes it difficult to get out.
Food also moves too slowly through your digestive tract, allowing your colon to absorb the water.
If left unchecked, constipation can lead to other health problems.
- Hemorrhoids, or piles. This is caused by straining to poop, leading to swollen, inflamed veins in your rectum.
- Your anus lining can tear if you push too hard causing anal fissures.
- Hard straining can also damage your pelvic muscles. These are the muscles that control your bladder. Damaged pelvic muscles can lead to urinary incontinence.
- Infect certain parts of your colon.
In addition to increasing your intake of beans and other legumes, other rich sources of fiber include:
- Nuts and seeds
- Vegetables like broccoli and kale
- Fruits like plums, pears, and kiwi
- Sweet potatoes
- Whole grains like brown rice or brown bread
Are Canned Beans Easy To Digest?
Canned beans are terrific to digest.
They will be much more problematic if prepared wrongly, but canned beans come already cooked.
Despite this, they are known to cause gas problems.
The gas is from the dietary fiber and the sugars in the carbohydrates that beans have.
A group of sugars called oligosaccharides cannot be digested by our bodies, nor can dietary fiber.
They are all part of the group of foods eaten by the gut bacteria in our colon called probiotics.
Probiotics are the 100 trillion helpful bacteria in our gut that move food through the digestive system and protect our stomach lining from harmful bacteria that are trying to invade.
Some ways to make beans more digestible and less “gassy” include:
Soaking the beans for at least 8 hours before cooking to remove the oligosaccharides.
Drain and switch out the water before cooking.
Cooking them well to remove any lectins. Lectins are present in most legumes and can cause gastrointestinal upsets. Cooking legumes on high heat removes these lectins.
Instead of canned beans, why not make your own?
You can season them any way you want, control the sodium and sugar levels, and cook them however tender you want them.
Depending on the bean, some varieties take a long time to cook.
Boiling certain beans like navy and kidney beans can take up to an hour to cook, while the smaller legumes like black-eyed peas and split peas can cook within 20 minutes.
Pre-soaking them will remove some of the sugars that give you gas as well as cut down on the cooking time.
If you are in a hot climate, soak them refrigerated to avoid them fermenting. White foam at the top of the pot indicates that your beans might be already fermented.
A good idea is to cook multiple servings of beans simultaneously to save on time and energy.
Frozen beans last up to six months without losing any of their nutrient content.
Because beans take eons to cook, boiling up a big batch and freezing them for later use could be a better way of getting your daily intake.
In addition to the health benefits of making your own beans, it is also cheaper.
The average cost of canned beans is about $1.20 to $1.50 for about 2 cups of beans.
In comparison, a pound of dried beans costs about $2 and will give you 5 to 7 cups of cooked beans, a rough cost of $0.25 per cup, which is more than half the price of canned beans.
In addition, canned beans sometimes come in cans that are not BPA-free. Bisphenol A is a common compound found in epoxy, resin, and plastics. Your body absorbs this compound through your diet.
BPA has been linked to infertility, heart disease, type-2 diabetes, and obesity.
Legumes are little fiber bombs in a tiny package.
They feed the gut bacteria in your colon that defend you from illness and maintain balance in your body.
In addition, they move your digested food through your system and help with bowel movements.
Have fun eating them!
I’m Chris Watson & the Founder of EatForLonger.com. I’m a food and wellbeing enthusiast researching and sharing foodstuffs and simple food-based concepts, such as fasting and clean eating.
I hope it inspires you to make tiny changes to what you eat and when you eat while optimizing your healthspan and all-around well-being.
Read more About Me here.