There are many types of beans, including red beans, black beans and kidney beans. Navy beans and pinto beans are commonly consumed in the United States.
While there are many varieties of beans throughout the world, only a fraction are edible and mass-produced. Common edible beans include:
- Garbanzo beans, also known as chickpeas
- Great northern beans
- Adzuki beans
- Lima beans
- Orca beans
While all of these beans are edible when cooked, certain varieties, such as kidney beans, are highly toxic when consumed raw. The beans must be cooked for a certain length of time to remove the toxins. Some cultures around the world ferment the beans to remove these toxins and improve the nutritional value. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, eating raw or under cooked kidney beans can cause severe stomach pain and other medical symptoms within hours of consumption.
Beans hold plenty of nutritional value as they are high in fiber and contain healthy amounts of protein. They also contain iron and folate. Beans are believed to have many health benefits including a lowered risk of heart disease, a reduced risk for certain cancers and promoting weight loss. Beans also help promote muscle building and feelings of fullness.