Thursday, July 14, 2011

Beans: The Healthy Art of Legumes

"Beans, beans, the musical art,
The more you eat, the more you fart."

We've all laughed at that childhood rhyme, not understanding just how healthy beans are for our bodies (farting included.)

If you regularly eat aduki beans, black beans, black-eyed peas, garbanzo beans, great northerns, kidney beans, lentils, lima beans, mung beans, navy beans, peanuts, green peas, pinto beans, and soybeans, you're engaging in a good nutritional practice that provides your body with both protein and starch.

Beans (and peas) are surprisingly low in calories and fat.  They are an excellent source of complex carbohydrates and fiber.  (Good for the ol' cholesterol levels!)  Cost-wise, beans and peas are relatively inexpensive.  They have often been called "the poor person's meat," but you can't put a price on good nutrition and good health.

If you are looking for complete proteins, soybeans and peanuts come the closest.

The downside of eating legumes is the gas they produce.  Combining beans with a grain such as rice can reduce this problem.

Many beans can be sprouted, which increases the protein content by 15-30 per cent.  Most beans contain adequate amounts of iron, B vitamins, calcium, potassium, and phosphorus.

So, if you like chili with beans, get cooking!  Or serve up a mess of tofu and greens.  Baked beans sound delicious right about now.  How about a chilled dilled green pea salad?

You get the idea.

Dawn Pisturino, RN
April 19, 2010
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