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15 Beans to Boost Your Mental Health

15 Beans to Boost Your Mental Health

Beans are a great source of protein and fiber to help with digestion, keep you feeling fuller longer, and gives you consistent energy after eating them. Beans can also boost your brain health.

According to a research study published in the World Journal of Psychiatry, specific nutrients help prevent and reduce depressive symptoms. Some of these nutrients incuded certain B-Vitamins, (B-12 and Folate), magnesium, potassium, and iron. You can find a lot of these nutrients in beans.

The list below will give you ideas on how to incorporate beans into your daily eating plan and what nutritional benefits each particular bean gives you to to help support your mental health. Nutritional information for each bean was taken from, a website that caters to identifiying nutrients in specific food items. Read on to find out which beans give you what nutrient for more brain superpower.

Black Beans Boost Potassium While Reducing Depression

One cup of Black Beans will give you 61% of your recommended daily dietary requirement for potassium. One study points to the idea that low potassium levels are linked to depressive symptoms. Adding Black Beans in your diet can help boost your potassium levels.

Black bean burgers, Blacks Beans and rice, and Black Bean brownies are just some ways you can add Black Beans to your eating routine. Black Beans can also be added to spaghetti sauce as a subtitute for meat in the sauce.

Chickpeas Help with Depression and Anxiety

A cup of Chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans) contains about 70mg of choline, 5.2mg of iron, and 520mg of potassium. As previously mentioned, potassium helps reduce depression so eating Chickpeas can boost your mood. Additionally, one study discovered that iron (with zinc) can boost mood while another study found that low levels of choline was associated with high anxiety. In summary, Chickpeas with its choline, iron, and potassium nutrients are a great way to boost your mental health.

Chickpeas are the main ingredient for hummus and falafel so grab your vegetables and prepare a hummus and falafel platter for a mood boosting snack. Chickpeas can also be added to salads, stews, and a variety of sauces.

Lentils Support and Maintain Your Mental Health

Lentils are rich in iron and potassium; two brain boosting nutrients. Lentils also provide brain boosting Vitamins B1 and B6. One study found that a diet lacking in B Vitamins contributes towards poor mental health. Eating Lentils with its B Vitamin resources can help improve mental health. The biggest resource that Lentils hold is Folate (Vitamin B9) with a whopping 230% (920mg) of the recommended daily value per cup.

According to Mental Health America, folate helps reduce depression and helps improve mild cognitive dysfunction. Since Lentils pack a high folate punch eating Lentils on a regular basis will certainly help improve and maintain mental health.

Lentils can be served up in soups, mixed with rice or vegetables, stuffed in a soft shell tortilla, or used in a vegan-friendly shepherd's pie.

Navy Beans Help Fight Depression

Similar to lentils, Navy Beans are high in Folate and contain Vitamin B1 and Vitamin B6. Navy Beans also contain Iron, Manganese, and Copper. One study identifies how low levels of Iron, Manganese, and Copper are related to deppressive symptoms. Luckily, Navy Beans provides these nutrients per cup but keep in mind that while eating Navy Beans won't cure depression it may help support your mental health.

Navy Beans are great in soup, salads, pasta dishes, and pairs well with chicken and fish. Navy Beans can also be prepared as a dip and seasoned spread.

Red Beans Help Relieve Anxious Symptoms

Red Beans are rich in B-Vitamins, which include B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B9, and B12. The B1 levels in Red Beans is as high as 93% of the recommended daily value per cup. This is important to know since this study identified how B1 (Thiamine) helps relieve anxiety.

Red Beans are also rich in Copper (143% DV per cup), a mineral previously mentioned to help prevent depression. Red Beans clearly consists of brain boosting nutrients in one single cup.

Red Beans can be added in soups, pasta dishes, salads, and can be served alone. Of coures, don't let the classic red beans and rice miss you.

Kidney Beans Can Help Elevate Your Mood

Kidney Beans shoud not be confused with red beans. Red Kidney Beans are, well, kidney shaped while red beans are small and round. That being said, Kidney Beans provide all of the same nutrient value as it's little round cousin. Kidney Beans also provide 195% DV of Phenylalanine and Tyrosine per cup, which are two essential amino acids that are linked to elavating your mood and reducing depression.

Preparing Kidney Beans is easy and can be made into chili, added to spaghetti, used as a taco topping, and enhance soups such as Pasta e Fagioli.

Pinto Beans Help Build Happy Hormones

Pinto Beans pack a punch with Folate (253% DV per cup), Copper (191% DV per cup), Phenylalanine and Tyrosine (168% DV per cup) and Tryptophan (163% DV per cup). The benefits of Folate, Copper, and Phenylalanin and Tyrosine have been previously mentioned. However, Tryptophan has been identified as an essential amino acid that acts as a precursor to make seratonin, the happy hormone.

Pinto Beans are great on their own or can be added to rice, meat dishes, fajitas, and dips.

Cannelini Beans Add to Daily Iron Intake to Boost Mood

Cannelini Beans are a good source of plant protein and iron (25% DV per cup). Low iron levels have been found in those suffering from psychological disorders. Including iron based foods into your eating regimen will help you hit the recommended daily value.

Cannelini Beans are good as a baked dish, in soups, added in bean salsa,and casseroles. Cannelini Beans pair well with chicken, kale, and white wine.

Black-Eyed Peas Can Possibly Relieve Depression

Black-Eyed Peas are a good source of magnesium and zinc, both of which have been studied to support mental health. Magnesium has been found in this study to be therapeutically beneficial for those suffering from depression and its related disorders. Zinc has been reviewed here as a promising mineral to help relieve depression and other psychosis disorders.

Black-Eyed Peas can be eaten as a main dish or a side dish. As a main dish Black-Eyed Peas pair well with chicken and beef. For side dishes, Black-Eyed Peas can be mixed with onion, garlic, leafy greens, and various spices.

Endamame Improves Memory for Menopausal Women

Endamame are fresh, young soybeans and like most other beans have beneficial B Vitamins, especially Folate (114% DV per cup), which helps boost mental health. Endamame are also rich in isoflavones, a phytonutrient that mimics estrogen. In one study it was demonstrated that isoflavones benefited post-menopausal women by improving their spatial memory and increasing their cognitive function.

Endamame are great as a stand alone snack or added to salads. These fresh young soybeans can also be part of a healthy broth based soup.

Soybeans Significantly Improve Depressive Symptoms

Soybeans are the mature version of Endamame and contain all the same nutritional benefits. There have been studies on Soybeans for depression and researchers have discovered that Soybeans can improve symptoms for those suffering from depression.

Soybeans come in many forms such as tofu, soy milk, and soy flour. The most beneficial form of soy is miso (fermented soybean paste) that is made up of koji bacteria, a probiotic. For information on how probiotic foods help your mental health go here.

Lima Beans' Essential Amino Acids Aid in Mental Health Support

Lima Beans are high in Folate (176% DV per cup), Copper (147% DV per cup), and Manganese (129% DV per cup) all of which are known to boost mental health. Lima Beans are also rich in several essential amino acides, including Histidine (167% DV per cup), Isoleucine (144% DV per cup), Threonine (157% DV per cup), Tryptophan (161% DV per cup), and Phenylalanine and Tyrosine (203% DV per cup). The following research highights some key information about these essential amino acids that are found in Lima Beans.

This study highlights how the essential amino acids Tryptophan and Phenylalanin and Tyrosine help reduce mental health symptoms for those suffering with Obessive Compulsive Disorder and Major Depression. While this research focuses on Histidine and how it may help improve mental alertness, cognitive memory, clear thinking, and reduce mental fatigue. Additionally, this study discusses the inverse relationship between Isoleucine levels and symptoms for depression and anxiety. Finally, this research discusses how threonine is involved with a patients positive response to anti-depressants.

Lima Beans can be baked as a side dish, added to soups, and can enhance pasta salads.

Fava Beans' Folate Can Help Anti-Depressant Response Rate

Fava Beans are a good source of Folate (43% DV per cup) and Copper (50% DV per cup), both brain boosting nutrients have been studied to promote mental health. One study discovers that individuals with high folate levels in their body have a greater response rate to their anti-depressants than individuals with low folate levels. Another study discovered that individuals with high copper levels had increased anxiety.

While eating a cup of Fava Beans won't give you an overload of Copper, it's best to know you should be mindful of your copper intake for your mental health.

Fava Beans can be roasted with meat, added in soups and casseroles, and salads.

Mung Beans Magnesium Resource Can Help with Mental Health

Mung Beans are another bean rich in Folate and consist of other B-Vitamins, such as B1, B2, B3, and B6. Mung Beans also consists of Magnesium (21% DV per cup) and  this research analysis discovers that magnesium is a beneficial nutrient for mental health.

Mung Beans are more known in the sprouted form. They are usually added in stir fries, egg rolls, soups, salads, and curries.

Cranberry Beans Provide a Balance of Nutrients and Minerals for the Brain

Cranberry Beans is the final bean on this list and has most of the brain boosting nutrients mentioned in this article, including Vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, and B9. Cranberry Beans also provides minerals Copper, Iron, Magnesium, Manganese, Potassium, and Zinc, all of which were previously mentioned as contribtors towards mental health.

Cranberry Beans are best in soups, stews, pasta dishes, and casseroles.


This article gave insight into 15 beans and their nutrient value towards your mental health. Finding delicious ways to support your brain just got a little easier. If cooking is your passion, you may want to check out this article on how cooking helps with mental health.

It should be noted that while eating more beans in your daily eating routine won't cure any menta health disorder, it woudn't hurt it either. Any support you give yourself for your mental health is a step in the right direction.