Health Benefits of Refried Beans

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Adding low-fat refried beans to meals can have a variety of potential health benefits.
Adding low-fat refried beans to meals can have a variety of potential health benefits. (Image: burrito image by Joy Fera from Fotolia.com)

Refried beans may be part of calorie-laden Mexican foods such as burritos, enchiladas and tacos, but that doesn’t mean they are unhealthy. If you choose low-fat refried beans that are not made with lard or heavy amounts of butter, they can have health benefits as a result of the high amounts of fiber in the beans, according to the Cleveland Clinic.

Weight Management

Consuming refried beans can be useful in both losing and maintaining weight, reports the Cleveland Clinic. Because refried beans contain fiber, a natural substance found in plant materials, they can make a person feel more satisfied after eating because the beans' nutrients stay in the body longer than other types of food. Refried beans are also rich and heavy-textured, so a person may consume smaller amounts while still feeling full.

Digestion

Refried beans can help promote digestion and regular, easy-to-pass bowel movements, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The fiber in refried beans helps move food through the digestive tract, while high fat or processed foods may linger for a longer period of time before being completely digested. A regular digestive process helps ensure that eaten food is converted into waste that is just solid enough to comfortably move through and exit the body through bowel movements at regular intervals.

Cholesterol

One of the potential health benefits of eating low-fat refried beans is lowered cholesterol levels and improved cardiovascular health, according to the Cleveland Clinic. The fiber in the refried beans can help flush out the amounts of low-density lipoprotein, the type of cholesterol that can build up in the arteries and lead to heart problems. The liver uses cholesterol to make the substances that help break down food for digestion. Because the fiber in refried beans promotes regular digestion, eating them can actually force the liver to use the unhealthy cholesterol in the blood for digestive purposes instead of letting it accumulate in the blood, where it may cause heart problems.

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