According to Dawn Jackson Blatner, a registered dietitian at Northwestern Memorial Hospital’s Wellness Institute in Chicago, beans are comparable to meat when it comes to calories—and they offer more health benefits. They really shine in terms of fiber and water content, two ingredients that make you feel fuller faster.
Adding beans to your diet helps you cut calories without feeling deprived, and they have something else that meat lacks: phytochemicals, compounds found only in plants (phyto is Greek for “plant”). Beans are also high in antioxidants.
In a United States Department of Agriculture study, researchers measured the antioxidant capacities of more than 100 common foods. The top five: small red beans, red kidney beans, pinto beans, black beans and navy beans.