Editor's Note: This post was picked up from http://www.hellerhealth.com.
Beans are a super healthy, super versatile, super affordable food. Beans are high in antioxidants, fiber, protein, B vitamins, iron, magnesium, potassium, copper and zinc. Eating beans regularly may decrease the risk for diabetes,1 heart disease,2 and colorectal cancer3 and helps with weight management. All legumes such as soy, kidney, black, white, red bean, chick peas, split peas, fava beans and lentils confer health benefits. You can buy dry beans and soak them overnight. If you buy canned beans, rinse them before using to remove some of the added sodium. You can throw beans in salads, soups, chilis and pasta sauces. Puree them for healthy dips such as hummus and white bean dip.
What Beans Can Do For You
• Including beans in your diet several times a week may decrease the risk of colorectal adenomas (polyps) which may in turn lower the risk of colorectal cancer.3, 4
• Eating beans regularly may lower the risk of coronary heart disease.2, 5
• The Shanghai Women’s Health Study looked at the legume consumption of over 64,000 women and their risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Researchers found that consumption of legumes, particularly soybeans, was inversely associated with the risk of type 2 diabetes.1 The more legumes these women ate, the lower their risk of getting type 2 diabetes.1
• Beans are hearty and are a good alternative to high fat protein sources like red meat.
• In the Nurses Health Study of 83,818 women, researchers found that women who ate peanuts and peanut butter had a lower risk of type 2 diabetes.6 Peanuts, which technically are considered a legume, are high in healthy fats, magnesium and fiber.
What You Can Do With Beans
•Hummus - for a quick dip puree a can of chick peas with olive oil, minced garlic, lemon juice, parsley + salt & pepper to taste and a dash of paprika. Add water to create the consistency you want.
•White bean dip
•Add to soups and stews
•Add to pasta
•Serve as a side dish
•Use dried beans to create fun art and decorative projects (creativity is good for the brain)
•Beans you may not have heard of but are worth a try: mung, adzuzki,
If you have not seen Blazing Saddles, rent the DVD. It will fill your brain’s daily quota for good satiric humor (your kids will think you are really cool too).
1. Villegas R, Gao Y-T, Yang G, et al. Legume and soy food intake and the incidence of type 2 diabetes in the Shanghai Women's Health Study. Am J Clin Nutr. 2008;87:162-167.
2. Bazzano LA, He J, Ogden LG, et al. Legume consumption and risk of coronary heart disease in US men and women: NHANES I Epidemiologic Follow-up Study.[see comment]. Arch Int Med. 2001;161:2573-2578.
3. Michels KB, Giovannucci E, Chan AT, et al. Fruit and Vegetable Consumption and Colorectal Adenomas in the Nurses' Health Study. Cancer Res. 2006;66:3942-3953.
4. Lanza E, Hartman TJ, Albert PS, et al. High Dry Bean Intake and Reduced Risk of Advanced Colorectal Adenoma Recurrence among Participants in the Polyp Prevention Trial. J Nutr. 2006;136:1896-1903.
5. Hu FB, Rimm EB, Stampfer MJ, Ascherio A, Spiegelman D, Willett WC. Prospective study of major dietary patterns and risk of coronary heart disease in men. Am J Clin Nutr. 2000;72:912-921.
6. Jiang R, Manson JE, Stamfer MJ, et al. Nut and peanut butter consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes in women. JAMA. 2002;288:2554-2560.