With spring in full bloom, BBQ season is here and weekend cookouts, pool parties and picnics are in full swing. Traditional sources of protein such as burgers, steaks, chicken and fish are still winning on the plate (and the grill), and vegetarians love their black bean burgers. But my favorite part of cookouts is not the protein … it’s the dips. In fact, beyond a tasty non-meat burger, black or pinto beans make an awesome ethnic-inspired dip. In terms of the F&B industry, beans offer a robust portfolio of nutrients and they are a great flavor addition, too. For example, one of my favorite snack products right now, with guacamole of course, is Tostitos® Artisan Recipes® Roasted Garlic & Black Bean Flavored Tortilla Chips. The pairing of black beans with garlic is nothing new, but in a chip it certainly is.
Beans are a good source of essential nutrients such as protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals. But they also contain phenolic compounds and other phytochemicals. A study published in Food Research International last month compared 15 different beans from Mexico and Brazil for their antioxidant compounds, specifically their phenolic compounds, and their relation to antioxidant capacity and enzymes related to type 2 diabetes (2105;69:38-48). Turns out, black bean showed the highest concentration of anthocyanins, a phenolic compound (250 mg/100 g of dry coat).
The antioxidant content of all 15 fifteen bean cultivars did not show significant differences. Compounds in the coat extracts of pinto and black cultivars were the most efficient to inhibit alpha-amylase and alpa-glucosidase. Black beans contained delphinidin and ferulic acid, compounds commonly used as ingredients in functional foods due to their associated health benefits.
Black beans and other bean cultivars are a great addition to snack items, such as the chips I mentioned above, but really to any functional food. Ethnic flavors are trending and springtime is a great opportunity to showcase beans’ comprehensive nutrient profile, including their antioxidant capacity, and their ability to spruce up a conventional cookout snack.