Many think beans are useless and others find beans to be the source of jokes or limericks, but I say take a closer look and you just might find that beans are magical.
The True Superfood?
I am surprised that beans don’t make the lists of superfoods very often and can be relegated to side dishes or fillers on our plates; but believe me, they are a superfood! Beans are a great plant-based food, rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber. Beans are almost the perfect balance of protein and carbohydrate with almost no fat and they can be flavorsome, exotic, and create amazing texture for all sorts of recipes!
Beans come in a many shapes, sizes, colors and taste, they have a long history (If you are interested, there is a great book by Ken Albala called Beans: A History). While I love the everyday beans such as pinto, black, or kidney beans, I really get excited about the rare and exotic types; you can find these gems on the Internet and buy them from local growers.
Take a look at just how good are beans and their health benefits:
- Nutritionally beneficial – Beans are full of antioxidants and vitamins and minerals, including copper, folate, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, potassium and zinc.
- Good for your heart – Beans are considered heart healthy because they are a good source of soluble fiber – which can help lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
- Low in fat – Beans are naturally low fat, containing only three percent at most.
- High in protein – One-half a cup of beans provides around seven grams of protein, which is about the same amount of protein in an ounce of meat, chicken, or fish.
- Aid in sugar control – All beans are low glycemic (they don’t change our blood sugar much) and they help us to feel full longer than many foods because they are slowly metabolized.
- May lower cancer risk – Research suggests that eating beans can help reduce the risk of chronic diseases like cancer.
- Helps regularity – Because of their fiber content, beans help to promote regularity. Make sure to consume a lot of water as well.
- Low in cost – Beans are some of the least expensive and yet high-quality foods you can buy (certainly cheaper than meat and many other superfoods), and they are easy to include in almost any meal.