Beans are loaded with all-important fiber, which slows the breakdown of carbohydrates into sugars in your bloodstream, assists your body’s insulin response to glucose and helps you burn fat faster. A major component of The Diabetes Healing Diet, beans are a necessity for people struggling with this epidemic disease.
1. Beans can reduce your need for insulin medications. Dr. James Anderson, one of the early research pioneers on the health benefits of fiber, found that people with Type 1 diabetes were able to reduce their need for insulin by 38% just by eating beans. And for those with type 2 diabetes, eating beans not only reduced their need for insulin and other diabetic medications but, in some cases, almost eliminated the need for supplemental insulin.
2. Beans support your body’s insulin response. One of the great benefits of eating beans is their high pectin content. Pectin and other fibers in beans produce extra insulin receptors that sensitize your cells to insulin and aid in its uptake. These insulin receptors function as “doorways” that make it easier for insulin to do its two-fold job of removing glucose from the blood and ushering it into the cells, where it’s used as the body’s essential fuel.
3. Beans regulate blood sugar. Beans also are high in soluble fiber, which binds to carbohydrates and slows their digestion into the bloodstream, preventing wild swings in blood sugar levels. They also contain generous amounts of resistant starch, which means that beans are less digestible than other carbs in the small intestine, so they move into the large intestine faster. Once there, they behave like a dietary fiber, limiting the sharp rise of glucose levels and insulin that can follow a meal, even one that is filled with refined carbohydrates.
4. Beans help you burn fat. People who eat resistant starches such as beans are able to burn more fat, which is crucial for weight loss and controlling diabetes. An Australian study found that for those people who ate meals composed of a mere 5% resistant starch, such as beans, the rate at which their bodies burned fat increased by an amazing 23% for 24 hours.
5. Beans offer delicious variety. Beans are part of the legume family, which includes lentils, split peas, string beans, as well as all the dry beans, including pinto and red beans. They offer a cornucopia of colors, textures and recipe possibilities. Black beans and red kidney beans top the list for total dietary fiber and resistant starch.
Lentils and chickpeas rate very low on the glycemic index (GI), which measures how quickly foods break down into sugars in the body. This makes lentils and chickpeas the superstars of the legume family in terms of stabilizing blood sugars. Whether it’s a three-bean salad, baked beans, boiled beans, refried beans, bean soup or bean dip — beans cook up in endless ways. All these bean dishes are packed with healthy fiber, which will help you control and stabilize your blood sugar and keep your weight down.
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