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WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW: Just as there are different types of rice and quinoa, there are a variety of soy beans available, namely green (think edamame), yellow (used for tofu and soymilk) and black. While much less common, black soybeans offer a fresh take on staid old beans and have what it takes to knock your diet into nutritional shape.
WHY YOU SHOULD TRY THEM: According to a recent batch of studies, black soybeans contain off-the-chart levels of anthocyanin antioxidants, compounds also found in blueberries and blackberries that bolster brain power and help fend off cancer. A recent study in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry discovered that noshing on this guise of soy can help slash the risk for thrombosis — a potentially fatal type of blood clot.
These dark beauties are also a body-conscious choice as Korean researchers found that adding black soybeans to your diet may alter metabolism to rev up fat loss. They appear to accomplish this by improving insulin sensitivity and halting the division of fat cells. Higher levels of protein and lower amounts of net carbs than most other beans also contribute to their fat-fighting prowess. What’s more, the abundance of dietary fiber – about 7 grams in a half-cup cooked – in black soybeans can go a long way in waylaying hunger to help put the brakes on overeating. Plus you get a healthy dose of energy-boosting iron to boot.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR: Many health food shops carry canned black soybeans that offer a convenient way to quickly add the nutty tasting legume to your meals. Also look out for dried beans, which offer superior texture. Simply soak black soybeans overnight in salted water, drain and then simmer in a pot of salted water until tender. Skim off any foam that forms on top.
HOW TO USE THEM: Substitute black soybeans for other beans when rustling up a batch of chili, hearty soup, veggie burgers or tacos. For an added shot of antioxidants, fiber and protein, toss them into your salads and stir-fry’s. For a riff on homemade hummus, swap out the chickpeas for black soybeans. When making a batch of healthy brownies, try pureeing cooked black soybeans and stir them into the batter to replace up to three-quarters of the oil or butter.