The Many Benefits Of Beans
Beans are loaded with fiber. As a matter of fact, they are one of the best sources of fiber in the plant world. The truth is, most of us do not get enough fiber from our diet. The fiber contained in beans and legumes are now known to lower cholesterol, improve our intestinal health and protect us from an assortment of degenerative diseases such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes and obesity.
Institutions such as the National Cancer Institute and the U.S. Dietary Guidelines recommend we get at least 25 grams of fiber a day. It is even recommended that we increase that to 30-35 grams. Can we do that? Yes, if we pay attention to what we eat.
As an additional benefit, most beans are loaded with antioxidants. As I mentioned before, oxidation or inflammation of your arteries are believed to be the main cause for plaque buildup. So antioxidants are very important. Red beans, red kidney beans and pinto beans are ranked by the USDA antioxidant ranking as some of the highest antioxidant ratings of any foods.
For heart health, folic acid is also a very important factor. Some beans such as adzuki beans, black-eyed peas, lentils and pinto beans are loaded with it. And to top it off, beans are loaded with magnesium, iron, zinc and potassium, and molybdenum – a trace mineral known to improve the beneficial qualities of digestive enzymes. Typically, a cup of beans contains an average of 15 g of fiber as well as being a good source of plant-based protein. Beans also contain complex carbohydrates, digest slowly and do not affect your blood sugar level.
Alain’s Easy Tomato, Rice And Beans Recipe
Delicious Green Pea Soup With Mint
Garbanzo Beans Or Chickpeas
Garbanzo beans, as well as other beans, lentils and peas are part of a family of food called legumes or pulses. The amount of fiber (12.5 g per cup) in these beans helps lower blood cholesterol and slows the absorption of sugars, which is also very important for people with diabetes.
Chickpeas contain a perfect 1:1 ratio of calcium and magnesium, a nice amount of folate and a good dose of heart-healthy potassium (477 mg per cup). An additional benefit is that they contain the powerful antioxidant selenium and provide us with 2 ounces of vegetable protein per serving.
See my Healthy Hummus Recipe
Lentils Lower Cholesterol!
What most people don’t know is that lentils lower cholesterol. Lentils can be brown, green or red. The brown are the most commonly used, the green are mostly grown and used in France, and the red are used and eaten mainly in the Middle East and India.
Lentils are a traditional source of protein for vegetarians and contain 18 g per cup. It also contains 16 g of fiber, primarily soluble fiber, which helps trap excess cholesterol and escort it out of our bodies. Lentils also provide a good amount of folate, as well as iron and manganese.
Don’t miss Part 1 about “Healthy Bran And Fiber”…
Continue reading with Part 3: Vegetables