Ice Cream Beans, also known as Inga Edulis, are tropical fruits native to South and Central America. Indigenous communities have treasured ice cream beans for centuries due to their sweet and creamy taste that resembles ice cream. But ice cream beans are more than just a tasty treat – they also offer a variety of potential health benefits. This article includes Ice Cream Bean (Inga Edulis) Benefits and why adding them to your diet can be a healthy option.

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open ice cream bean showing white fluffy flesh around the seeds

Shape and Taste of Ice Cream Beans

Ice cream beans can vary in appearance depending on the variety. They are generally large and pod-shaped, with a fibrous, woody exterior that can be tough to open. Inside the pod, the beans are encased in a sweet, white pulp with a texture and taste similar to vanilla ice cream. The beans themselves are dark brown and have a smooth, shiny appearance. When eaten, the beans release a creamy, sweet flavor that is often compared to a mix of caramel, vanilla, and coconut.

Benefits of Ice Cream Beans or Inga Edulis

Ice cream beans are a good source of fiber, protein, and essential vitamins and minerals such as calcium, phosphorus, iron, and vitamins C and B.[1]

Fiber is vital for promoting digestive health and keeping you feeling full and satisfied. At the same time, calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin D work together to build and maintain strong bones.

Iron is crucial for transporting oxygen in the blood, and Vitamin C and B vitamins play essential roles in immune function and energy metabolism. Following are some of the benefits that ice cream beans can offer:

Ice Cream Beans May Help Reduce Inflammation

Chronic inflammation, which links to several health problems such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer, occurs when the body’s natural response to injury or infection persists.[2] Ice cream beans contain flavonoids and other antioxidants that can help reduce inflammation and protect against cellular damage caused by free radicals.

Ice Cream Beans May Help Regulate Blood Sugar

Due to their content of soluble fiber, Ice cream beans may help regulate blood sugar levels. Soluble fiber can help slow down the absorption of sugar in the bloodstream, preventing spikes in blood sugar levels and improving insulin sensitivity.

[3] In addition to their fiber content, ice cream beans contain natural sugars that are slowly released into the bloodstream, providing a steady supply of energy without causing a rapid increase in blood sugar levels.

One study found that consuming a high-fiber diet, including legumes like ice cream beans, was associated with better blood sugar control in individuals with type 2 diabetes.[4] Incorporating ice cream beans into a well-balanced diet may be an effective way to help regulate blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Ice Cream Beans May Help Lower Cholesterol

Ice cream beans are a rich source of dietary fiber. They have been shown to help lower cholesterol levels by binding to cholesterol and preventing it from being absorbed into the bloodstream.[5]

Furthermore, ice cream beans also contain saponins, a type of phytochemical shown to have cholesterol-lowering properties. One study found that consuming saponin-rich foods like ice cream beans significantly reduced LDL (bad) cholesterol levels.[6]

Ice Cream Beans May Help Regulate Your Blood Pressure

Ice cream beans may help regulate blood pressure due to their potassium content. Potassium is an essential mineral that plays a crucial role in regulating blood pressure by helping to relax the walls of blood vessels.

Studies have shown that increasing potassium intake can lead to a reduction in blood pressure levels, which, in turn, can lower the risk of heart disease and stroke. Ice cream beans are a good source of potassium, with one cup of cooked beans containing about 25% of the recommended daily intake for adults.[7]

Incorporating ice cream beans into a well-balanced diet, along with other potassium-rich foods such as bananas and sweet potatoes, may help regulate blood pressure and promote heart health.

Ice Cream Beans May Have Anticancer Properties

Ice cream beans may have anticancer properties due to their high content of phytochemicals, mainly flavonoids, and phenolic acids, Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds in ice cream beans may protect against cancer by reducing oxidative stress and inflammation in the body.

Some studies have also suggested that certain flavonoids found in ice cream beans, such as quercetin, may have a direct inhibitory effect on cancer cell growth. Incorporating ice cream beans into a well-balanced diet rich in a variety of fruits and vegetables may provide protective benefits against cancer, although more research is necessary to fully comprehend the potential anticancer effects of ice cream beans.

Some Other Benefits of Ice Cream Beans

Apart from the benefits mentioned above, ice cream beans may also contain the following potential health benefits:

  • May improve digestion due to their high fiber content.
  • May help boost the immune system due to their high content of vitamin C and other antioxidants.
  • May aid in weight management due to their low calorie and fat content.
  • May promote bone health due to their high content of calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus.

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Conclusion

 

Ice cream beans are a nutrient-rich legume that offers a variety of potential health benefits. Incorporating ice cream beans into your diet can offer numerous health benefits, including regulating blood sugar levels, lowering cholesterol, and possessing potential anti-inflammatory and anticancer properties. Enjoy ice cream beans fresh or incorporate them into various dishes to boost your well-balanced diet.

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References

[1]: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11027039/

[2]: https://bmccomplementmedtherapies.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1472-6882-12-221

[3]: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29378044/

[4]: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/14963049/

[5]: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18672037/

[6]: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/3308321/

[7]: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23674806/