Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Beans of Life

I used to think beans were for eating with tortillas, or in chili. It wasn't until the accountant and I decided it would be best for us to have me stay home with little Olive that I started experimenting with them. Not only are they inexpensive, they are tasty, easily cooked, easy to store, can be used in so many ways and are packed FULL of nutrition.

So just what is so great about these little things called legumes?
1. They are full of a grand amount of fiber 10 to 15 grams per cup. Fiber is a great fighter of the "belly bulge". A 2010 American Journal of Clinical Nutrition study discovered that those who ate the most fiber are slimmer. The recommended daily fiber intake is 25 grams for men and 38 grams for women. Fiber also helps slow the release of sugar into the bloodstream and helps flush cholesterol out of the body. A study by Tulane University showed that people who eat beans four or more times per week are less likely to develop heart disease than those who ate them less than once per week.

BeansImage via Wikipedia

2. Beans are rich in iron which is an essential nutrient for oxygen transport within the body. Low iron levels put you at risk for poor memory, attention deficit and poor mental function. Increase the absorption of the iron in beans by paring it with vitamin C rich food such as salad. So example eat chili with a salad to increase your uptake of iron.

3. Beans are a wonderful source of plant protein. You get a whopping 15 grams per cooked cup of beans. When paired with brown rice, beans give you a "complete" protein.

4. Beans are one of the best source you will find of folate that helps slash cancer risk. Folate aids in normal cell replication (Cancer is by definition abnormal cell replication). A 2009 study found that bean intake was protective against colon, kidney, oral esophagus and stomach cancers. Women who eat beans twice a week have a 24 percent lower risk of beast cancer  than woman who hate them just once a month.

5. Thirty percent of your daily requirements for magnesium can be found in a cup of beans, an essential nutrient in protecting against diabetes. Magnesium assists in helping the body to control blood pressure, nerve transmission, muscle contraction, bone formation and lowers stress hormones.

6. Beans, especially dark beans are full of antioxidants. In fact black beans carry ten times the amount of antioxidants as oranges!

7. Rich in potassium. "A nutrient essential for heart function. Potassium also acts as a deterrent against rising blood pressure by increasing blood levels of nitric oxide, which dilates arteries and prevents them from clogging."

So the little ditty that says "beans beans the magical fruit..." isn't far off the mark. They really are "Magical" in their nutrient packed density.

Resources :
 "Full of Beans" found in Living Without
Prescription for Nutritional Healing
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  1. Hello, I have never commented, but I really enjoy your blog. Could you give some examples of how you eat the beans, like what you put them in. I like beans, and so do my kids, but I don't know what to make them with. Thanks! :)

  2. Sure! How about I post some recipes over the next few weeks! Real quick though. I love to make my own hummus, make soups with them, make salads out of them, baked beans so much! I even have a brownie recipe with black beans as the base(0:



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