Facts and benefits of Black Bean (Black Turtle Bean)

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Black Bean (Black Turtle Bean) Quick Facts
Name: Black Bean (Black Turtle Bean)
Scientific Name: Phaseolus vulgaris
Origin It is originated in Central and South America.
Colors Black
Shapes Small, oval-shaped
Calories 624 Kcal./cup
Major nutrients Copper (204.44%)
Vitamin B9 (204.25%)
Iron (200.13%)
Vitamin B1 (138.00%)
Phosphorus (115.71%)
Health benefits Prevention of cardiovascular problems, Source of antioxidants, High content of fiber, Digestive health, Provide energy
Black bean scientifically known as Phaseolus vulgaris (commonly called Black turtle bean, Dry bean), is a herbaceous and annual plant belonging to legume or bean family Fabaceae. It is originated in South and Central America and is cultivated widely in various parts of world for its edible beans. The beans are harvested and consumed immature. The varieties of Phaseolus vulgaris varieties are developed in both bush and twinning forms. Bush forms reach 1 meter tall and grow in erect leafy clumps. Twining forms grow upto 4 meters long and needs the support of poles or trellising. Plants possess trifoliate compound leaves having oval to rhombic leaflets measuring 16 cm long and is pubescent. Flowers are yellow, violet, white or red which forms in loose and open unbranched clusters. Flowers are replaced by round to slightly flattened pods which measures about 15 cm long.

Black beans also known as turtle beans are classified as legumes. It has hard shell like appearance. It is a shiny variety of common bean which is well common in Latin American cuisine though it could be found in Creole and Cajun cuisines of South Louisiana. It is also used in Punjabi cuisine and is known as black beans. In US, it is used correspondently with vigna mungo. Though it have been cooked and cultivated for thousands of years in South America, it did not reach Atlantic till 1500’s in boats of European explorers. Similar to other legumes such as peas, peanuts and lentils, Black beans are appreciated for its high content of protein and fiber. It contains various minerals and vitamins which is beneficial for human health. It is a great source of magnesium, thiamin, manganese, phosphorus, iron and folate.


Black beans are native to Central and South America dating back 7000 years where it became a staple food. In 15th century, it was discovered by Spanish explorers in Peru and were brought and introduced to Europe. Ultimately, it spread to Asia and Africa by Portuguese and Spanish traders and became popular for long term storage ability, ease of growth, texture, taste and nutrient. Presently, it is a staple diet in Cuba, Brazil, Mexico, Dominican Republic and Guatemala cuisines. Brazil and India are the top leading producers of dried black beans. Indonesia, Mexico and United States also produce these beans.

Health Benefits of Black beans

Black beans are healthy addition to diet. As it contains high content of protein, it is excellent for vegetarians and vegans. Black beans are loaded with fiber which supports digestion. It helps to reduce cholesterol and promote overall heart health. Due to its complex carb and protein, the body takes longer time period for digestion than simple carbs. This makes one feel fuller for longer time period.

  1. Prevention of cardiovascular problems

Black beans protect heart health by lowering inflammation. It contains high content of phytonutrients such as flavonoids known as petunidin, delphinidin and malvidin. The studies have shown to control lipid fat metabolism and supports excretion of cholesterol. Black beans have high content of soluble fiber which is a dietary fiber that is related to counteract heart disease by balancing unhealthy level of cholesterol. Studies have shown that diet rich in dietary fiber from legume and bean sources helps to protect cardiac arrest, heart disease and stroke. Fiber helps to lower inflammation as it eliminates toxins and waste from the body by clearing arteries from buildup of harmful plague. Studies have shown that one serving daily (3/4 cup of cooked beans) helps to lower risk of heart attack and balances bad cholesterol. Moreover, Black beans are a great source of magnesium, folate which is vital for maintaining healthy cardiovascular system. Black beans have high content of fiber which prevents overconsumption as well as gaining excess weight around heart.

  1. Source of antioxidants

Black beans have essential flavonoid and phytochemical compounds that acts as anti-inflammatories and antioxidants which is helpful for protecting various forms of cancer especially colon cancer. Black beans having deep black color are richest source of antioxidants. Antioxidants help to counteract damage made by free radicals or oxidative stress.  When free radicals are excessively present in the body and standard western or poor diet does not provide adequate antioxidants for counteracting free radical damage then disease is more likely to develop. Brightly colored vegetables and fruits have high content of antioxidants which is also found in deeply colored black beans as well as other legumes. Studies shows that high antioxidants found in Black beans assist in preventing DNA damage and gene mutation which could lead to lower chances of cancerous cells development.

  1. High content of fiber

Beans are a great source of fiber. Black beans have high content of dietary fiber which provides the feeling of satiety after consuming and assist in controlling blood sugar levels. Animal studies shows that consumption of Black beans assist in controlling appetite and result to significant reduction in unhealthy body fat. For maintaining good digestive health, adult should consume 30 grams of fiber every day. So consume one cup of black beans. The protein and fiber assist glucose from starch of beans to release slowly into bloodstream. Beans keep you full for longer time period.

  1. Digestive health

Fiber content in Black beans promotes digestion by clearing digestive tract from buildup of toxins. It acts like a boon for digestive system which pushes waste through digestive tract so that the bacteria found in gut flora is balanced. It prevents unwanted health problems such as IBS and constipation. Studies have shown that Black beans protect colon health and prevents colon cancer due to its ability to obstruct oxidative damage in digestive system. Fiber maintains pH level of the body, balance alkalinity and acidity. It has alkalizing effect which balances pH levels by eliminating high level of acidity. Studies have shown that Black beans clear unwanted bacteria and toxins from the body which restores digestive activity and enhance overall health. Fiber assist in nutrient absorption and release acids to bloodstream, providing fuel, liver function, cleanse digestive tract and eliminating pathogens, harmful waste, extra sugar and unhealthy cholesterol. Consume adequate fiber from plant sources for stimulating digestion, balance electrolytes and maintain healthy metabolism.

  1. Provide energy

Consume right type of carbohydrate in form of whole and refined vegetables, legumes, starches and sprouted grains for stabilizing blood sugar levels. Beans contain complex carbohydrate known as starch, which the body digest slowly and use it for energy without spiking level of blood sugars. It makes Black beans low on glycemic index.

  1. Stabilize blood sugar levels

Black beans have starch which contains glucose, which is used by the body easily for various functions. Simple or fast carbs does opposite of complex carbs such as starch-raising blood sugar levels quickly as high sugar content is released at once to blood. Intake of wrong type of carbohydrate results to dips and spikes in energy levels which results to sudden sugar high after consumption of simple carbs which follows sugar crash. It leads to low level of energy and puts chronic stress on the body. Black bean provides time released energy in form of starches which makes it a great source of carbohydrate for person with resistance to insulin or diabetic patients.

  1. Great source of vitamins and minerals

Black beans are a great source of minerals and vitamins. It has high content of iron, magnesium, and high content of phosphorus, folate and Vitamin B. It is essential for vegans and vegetarians who may be lacking in these nutrients with the elimination of animal sources. Black beans have anti-inflammatory activity which prevents fibromyalgia, metabolic syndrome, leaky gut and others. Foods rich in magnesium are essential for maintaining cellular health as well as 300 biochemical functions in the body.

  1. Protein content

One cup of Black beans offers 14 grams of fat burning protein with essential nutrients and antioxidants that helps to slow down aging process. Body use protein in form of amino acids for various function. Consume adequate amount of protein daily to counteract symptoms associated with protein deficiency including fatigue, muscle weakness, eye problems such as cataracts, low energy, poor skin health, heart problems and imbalanced hormones. Protein is essential for building muscles and makes the body energetic, youthful and strong. Beans add high fiber protein and low fat to the diet.

  1. Lose weight

Black beans have low amount of calories with adequate nutrients and fiber. Consume black beans to prevent overeating since fiber expands in digestive tract, soaks water by taking high volume. It lowers food cravings for sweets or snacks and processed junk foods between meals. It is beneficial for those who want to lose weight and watching their intake of calories.

  1. Prevention of Birth defects

Pregnant women should consume diet high in folic acids which assist in preventing birth defects. 400 micrograms of folic acid before or early into pregnancy lowers the chances of neural tube defects in infants which could be lowered by 70%. Neural tube defects such as encephalocele, anencephaly and spina bifida could develop within first 28 days of pregnancy. Add black beans to the diet as it offers daily recommended intake having just one cup. But remember not to consume more than 1000 mcg of folic acid per day as it could lead to deficiency in Vitamin B12.

Traditional uses

  • Green pods are diuretic and helps to lower the level of blood sugar.
  • It is used for treating diabetes.
  • Use the grounded flour externally for treating ulcers.
  • Seeds are used for treating blood cancer.
  • It is helpful for arthritis, rheumatism and urinary tract disorders.
  • It helps to prevent constipation and prevent digestive problems such and diverticulosis and irritable bowel syndrome.
  • In traditional Chinese medicine, Black beans are used to lower knee pain, back pain, seminal emissions, infertility, ear problems, blurry visions and promote diuresis.


  • Black beans contain purines so if used excessively, it could cause health problems. Purines break down to form uric acid, so excessive accumulation leads to gout as well as formation of kidney stones.
  • It contain polyphenols might have negative aspects.

Side effects of Black beans

  1. Contains toxin

Black beans contains toxin known as phytohenagglutinin. In comparison to red kidney beans, the amount of toxin is somewhat low and not considered to be dangerous. But it is recommended to consume Black beans after cooked instead of consuming raw as the cooking process lowers the toxicity level of this toxin.

  1. Contains Phytic Acid

Phytic acid does not cause direct harm to the body but its existence could interfere in absorption of minerals which is present in Black beans. Remove phytic acid which acts as one thin layer of protection of seeds.

  1. Contains oligosaccharides

Oligosaccharides are a complex sugar which could not be broken down easily in the system. It causes serious digestion problem. It is possible of one is consuming Black beans in high amount. Nonetheless, cooking process lowers the level of this substance.

How to Eat         

  • Beans are added to salads or prepared as vegetable.
  • Soak the dried beans and add it to stews, soups and meat dishes.
  • Powdered seeds are added to soups.
  • Immature seeds are steamed or boiled and used as vegetable.
  • Use the sprouted seeds in salads.
  • Due to its dense and meaty texture, it is used in vegetarian dishes such as frijoles negros.
  • In Cuba, it is a vital ingredient of Moros y Cristianos.
  • It is widely used as an ingredient for soups.
  • Black bean soup is served with white rice in Cuba.
  • In some vegan brownie recipes, Black beans are used instead of eggs.
  • Make bean soup by mixing cooked Black beans with onions, tomatoes and spices.
  • Layer black beans, guacamole, diced onions, chopped tomatoes and cilantro in a serving bowl for making delicious layered dip.

Black turtle beans (Side dish)


  • 2 lbs. black turtle beans
  • 5 cloves garlic (chopped)
  • 1 large onion (chopped)
  • 4 cups vegetable broth (low sodium)
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • ½ tsp salt


  1. Remove debris if any from beans.
  2. Then soak black beans overnight for about 10 to 12 hours in six cups of water.
  3. Drain and rinse the beans.
  4. Add vegetable broth, black beans, water, onions, chili powder, garlic, pepper and ground cumin in a dutch oven.
  5. Heat over medium heat till boiling.
  6. Cover and lower the heat. Cook it over low heat for about 1½ hours.
  7. Add salt and continue to cook for more 30 minutes or till beans are tender.

Cuban-Style Black Beans


  • 1 pound dried black beans (rinsed)
  • 1 medium onion (finely chopped)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 green bell pepper (seeds and ribs removed), finely chopped
  • 8 garlic cloves (finely grated)
  • 1 tablespoon of Morton kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon of dried Mexican or Italian oregano
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup of extra-virgin olive oil
  • Cilantro leaves with tender stems


  1. Boil five quarts of water with ¼ cup chopped onion, bay leaf, beans, 1 tbsp. grated garlic, ¼ cup of chopped bell pepper, ½ tsp. oregano, 1 tbsp. of Moron salt in a large pot.
  2. Cook by reducing heat to medium, stir occasionally and add more hot water if needed to cover till the beans are tender and cover by ¼ inch liquid for 2 ½ to 3 hours. Then discard bay leaf.
  3. At the same time, heat oil in a medium skillet over medium to low. Then add bell pepper, onion, oregano and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Stir till the onions are soft and stir into cooked beans. Top by using cilantro.


















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