Black Beans: The Magical (Muscle Building) Fruit

10 05 2012

I know I talk a ton about efficiency in the gym. Between stretching, warming up and beating the hell out of the weights, I’m in and out in 90 minutes at the absolute most.

That wouldn’t be possible if not for one of the many secret muscle-building superfoods: black beans.

Legumes in general (as mentioned in a comment by a dear friend of mine, Janine) are an essential part of any GymGeek’s diet. The black bean’s soluble fiber content alone helps in lowering the risk of heart disease (much like the essential fatty acids found in fatty fish and fish oil supplements). It’s also been linked to blood sugar regulation (no spikes in sugar levels), cancer prevention (due to the eight flavonoids and antioxidant properties) and, most importantly, physical performance and endurance.

Just one cup of (dry) black beans contains 30% of the body’s daily need for magnesium, which is what makes the performance and endurance possible.  As a GymGeek, the magnesium is most DEFINITELY essential for this reason alone.  There’s nothing like getting halfway through a workout and just feeling completely gassed (no pun intended).

There are countless ways to incorporate black beans into your diet.  If you’re feeling like having a little Tex-Mex, you can always add them as a side dish or into burritos.  If you’re a guy and want to impress at the next party you go to, you can add them (along with your homemade guacamole, fat-free cheese and greek yogurt…no one has to know this!) and make a layered dip, which you can serve with some baked chips.

One word of caution:  Go for the dry stuff, not canned.  More often than not, the canned pre-cooked black beans (even if they’re labeled as “organic”) are preserved with the help of salt.  The sodium content of a single can will set you back for your daily allowance.  Not only that…buying dry black beans in bulk is CHEAPER.  I’m a frugal GymGeek, so this is a huge deal to me.  Sure, the preparation, soaking and cooking of the black beans may be a little time-consuming, but at the end of the day, the trade-off will be worth it, both for your wallet AND your body.

If anyone has another way they use black beans, feel free to share!  I know I’ll be doing black beans and (wild) rice next week for my lunches, but I’m open to suggestions from my fellow GymGeeks!

Jonathan

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