Beans and lentils, despite their small size, contain a very high amount of nutrients in it, such as protein, folic acid, and iron. It is easy too, to incorporate beans to your diet, as there are many types of beans, such as black beans, white beans, pinto beans, lentils, black-eyed peas, kidney beans, soybeans, etc. You can cook them in soups or chilli, pasta dishes, or mix them in a salad if you want something fresh.
Folic acid (Folate)
Folic acid contained in beans ranges between 131mcg – 358mcg per serving. Folate is important in both men and women fertility. It is found that folate levels measured in men are associated with sperm count and health. Low folate levels in semen may cause poor sperm DNA stability.
Folate is also crucial in the development of the nervous system and preventing Neural Tube Defects (NTDs) in babies. To prevent NTDs, it is suggested to consume enough folate before or during your early pregnancy. Consumption of folate needed by women is as much as 0.4mg per day, achieved by consuming supplements and also food rich in folate.
Although we know that animal products contain a high level of protein too, it is still recommended to consume protein from plant-based sources. A study found that women who had the highest intake of a diet comprised of plant protein from vegetable sources and other fertility diet elements were found to have more than 50% lower risk of infertility related to ovulatory disorders.
Plant-based protein, such as beans, also comes with healthy fats and is low in calories. As a result, it can help improve the menstrual cycle, and also insulin sensitivity due to weight loss. Insulin sensitivity can influence the reproductive function and fertility in women.
Most pregnant women know the importance to achieve enough iron intakes during their pregnancy, but research found that women who lack iron in their body may suffer from anovulation (lack of ovulation) and possibly poorer egg health, which could affect the fertility rate than those who have enough iron in their blood.
Lack of iron in the blood may lead to anemia, where the number of red blood cells is insufficient. The function of red blood cells is to transport oxygen to all of the body’s tissues and organs, which includes ovaries and uterus. When anemia occurs, it may lead to the weakening of eggs stored in the uterus over time. Even worse, for conception, anemia may cause the inability for the growing fetus’ cells to divide and grow properly, possibly leading to miscarriage.
Besides those three mentioned nutrients, beans contain many other nutrients that can bring a number of health benefits in general.