Beans are among the healthiest foods you can eat, as they are loaded with protein and fiber. They are popular among vegetarians and vegans because they are high in protein, but even those who eat meat should consider putting beans in their diet, as it cuts back on the fat that meat contains while still loading up on the health benefits. We've gathered some of the most popular types of beans, as well as some of their benefits. Check them out.

Black Beans

black beans in a bowl

Black beans are part of the legume family and are known for being high in fiber and protein, with very little fat. Black beans also contain other vitamins and minerals that are good for you, such as vitamin A, calcium, manganese, and iron and high amounts of specific antioxidants. The benefits of black beans include healthier digestion, lower cholesterol, cancer prevention, overall improvement of heart health and diabetes prevention.

Black beans are a great addition to chili, burritos and soups, and can be mashed up to form patties for veggie burgers or to make a hummus dip.

Chickpeas

hummus made from chickpeas

Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, are also a kind of legume that are loaded with healthy properties including high amounts of fiber, protein, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. As such, eating chickpeas will help manage blood sugar, aid digestion, prevent cancer and heart disease, boost the immune system and control your cholesterol levels.

In cooking, chickpeas are commonly used as the main ingredient in hummus, but they can be used in many other dishes as well, such as salads, scrambled eggs and curry.

Kidney Beans

kidney beans with a scoop

The health benefits of kidney beans are also vast. These beans are full of fiber, protein, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants such as iron, magnesium, folate, vitamin B1, manganese, many antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids. Kidney beans are known for helping with heart health, fighting cell deterioration and cancer, controlling your weight by helping to keep you full, providing lots of energy with its protein and iron, and helping your digestive health. Kidney beans also are known to help in maintaining your cognitive function and memory, due to the vitamin B1.

Kidney beans are a staple ingredient in chili and salads, and also make a great vegetarian-friendly substitute for burger patties when mashed up.

Pinto Beans

refried pinto beans

Popular in the U.S. and Mexico, pinto beans are full of fiber, protein, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Their antioxidants, mainly polyphenols, are associated with lowering the risk of many cancers. Their vitamin and mineral content, including magnesium, vitamins B1 and B6, iron, manganese and folate, making them another source of energy boosts, weight control, diabetes management, heart health and lower cholesterol.

Refried pinto beans are commonly used in Mexican cuisine, and are served as a side dish with burrito and taco dishes and pair well with roasted ham or when tossed into chili.

Cannellini Beans

cannellini beans piled up

Cannellini beans are the Italian equivalent of kidney beans and are distinguished by their white color. They have many of the same benefits as other beans, such as B vitamins, iron, magnesium, flavonoids and phytochemicals, protein and fiber counts that combat cancers and diseases. They also fill you up, keep diabetes issues at bay, increase cognitive function, prevent problems with digestion, delay wrinkles and even aid in the body's process of detoxification.

The creaminess of cannellini beans makes them a wonderful choice to add to soups, to ground down into a veggie bean burger or to make into hummus.

Black-Eyed Peas

black eyed peas in a group

Contrary to what their name suggests, black-eyed peas are a legume or bean who got their name from their appearance: they are covered in black spots. Rich in all the healthy things that other beans on this list are rich in, protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, there is no reason not to also include these in your diet for all the same benefits, which include fighting diseases and cancer and aiding in digestion and weight loss.

The fact that all these beans come with a distinct flavor means that you can include them separately in your diet without getting bored. Black-eyed peas are used traditionally in Southern food, often accompanied by okra and collard greens, but they are also great as a base for spreads and included in salads.

Lima Beans

lima beans

Lima beans are also called butter beans due to their buttery flavor. In addition to their high content of magnesium, iron, phosphorus, copper and manganese, they also have a large supply of potassium. Lima beans arejust as healthy as other beans and pack a punch in fighting diseases, cancer, obesity, diabetes and digestive problems.

What stands out about these beans is that their flavor and texture is quite a bit different than the rest of the beans on this list. Due to their higher starch content, it's best to sauté these beans so they don't up become mushy. The lima bean pairs especially well with Italian herbs such as thyme, rosemary and oregano.

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