Are beans safe to eat?

In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question, “Are beans safe to eat?”. We will discuss the health benefits and risks of eating beans. We will also look at the safest ways to add beans to your diet.

Are beans safe to eat?

Yes, beans are safe to eat. Just make sure that they are properly cooked because raw beans can sometimes be toxic. 

Many beans, including black, kidney, Great Northern, and navy beans, can be harmful if taken uncooked or undercooked, according to the FDA. Red kidney beans are the most dangerous to eat if not properly soaked and cooked because they contain the largest concentration of lectins (

a toxic chemical).

What are the risks of eating beans?

The only risk from beans is the toxicity of raw beans. Raw beans contain lectins. Lectin is a protein that acts as a natural antifungal and pesticide for plants.

Lectins, on the other hand, are resistive to digestive enzymes when eaten. When taken in large quantities, they stick to the cells in your digestive tract, causing symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and bloating.

They may also harm your stomach cells and negatively impact your gut’s beneficial flora. They also block nutrient absorption of nutrients, which is why they’re called antinutrients.

Because some beans have higher levels of lectin than others, they may be safe to eat uncooked.

While tiny quantities of raw beans may be acceptable, it’s recommended to avoid them altogether to avoid any potential toxicity.

What are the health benefits of eating beans?

High in proteins: Protein is an essential ingredient that helps the body maintain and repair itself. Amino acids, the basic building block of protein, are abundant in beans. For vegetarians and vegans, beans are a good source of protein. They also provide fewer calories and fat content than other protein sources like meat and full-fat or low-fat dairy.

High in folate: Beans are high in folate, which is an important nutrient. Folate is necessary for overall health, the production of healthy blood cells, and the prevention of neural tube problems in a developing fetus during pregnancy.

Rich in antioxidants: Polyphenols, a type of antioxidant, are abundant in beans.

Antioxidants combat free radicals. Free radicals are harmful molecules produced by the body during metabolic activities. Free radicals can damage cells, resulting in a variety of disorders. 

Antioxidants aid in the removal of free radicals from the body. Antioxidant-rich vegetables, like beans, may help the body fight sickness in this way.

Reduce blood sugar: Beans may aid in the stabilization of blood glucose levels and perhaps the prevention of diabetes. Beans have a lot of fiber, which can help reduce blood sugar levels.

A high-fiber diet may help to lower the risk of developing diabetes.  It could assist persons with diabetes manage their blood sugar levels.

Improves gut health: Beans, particularly black beans, improve gut health by raising the number of beneficial microorganisms and boosting intestinal barrier function. This could aid in the prevention of disorders linked to the gastrointestinal tract.

Gut bacteria that are good for you can help your immune system and even help you lose weight. Beans provide food for the beneficial bacteria colonies in the intestines.

How to safely cook and eat beans?

You could become unwell if you don’t soak and cook the beans long enough. 

Soak the beans: To guarantee that you remove the lectins from the beans before cooking them, you must soak them first. Soak the beans in water for at least five hours before using them. After that, replace the wastewater with new water and cook the beans for about 30 minutes.

Cook the beans: Soaking alone is not enough; you must also cook them completely. Fully cooked beans must be mushy and delicate.  If your beans are still firm after cooking, don’t consume them; instead, leave them to stew for a while longer. The FDA advises against using a slow cooker to cook beans since the equipment does not heat up enough to kill the lectins.

Here are a few different ways to cook beans.

Boiling: Bring a big saucepan of water to a rolling boil. Simmer for 4 minutes after adding the green beans. Before serving, drain and sprinkle with salt.

Steaming:  Place a steam basket on top of 1 inch of water in a cooker. Cover the cooker and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and add the beans. Cook for 2 minutes with the lid on.

Microwaving:  In a microwave-safe bowl, place the green beans. Cover with a lid after adding 2 tablespoons of water. microwave for about 3 minutes and check for doneness. When removing the plastic, be cautious of the hot steam. Here’s a great recipe for microwaved beans.

Are beans safe to eat during pregnancy?

Are fava beans safe to eat?

Can you eat pinto beans on keto?


In this brief guide, we answered the question, “Are beans safe to eat?”. We discussed the health benefits and risks of eating beans. We also looked at the safest ways to add beans to your diet.

If you have any questions or comments, please let us know.

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Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.