Beans, beans are good for the heart!

Beans, beans are good for the heart!  The more you eat….the healthier thou art? 

Beans are such an amazing food it’s hard to know where to start in talking about why your should consider adding more to your diet.

1. Mega source of fibre!  For a 1 cup serving of black beans you are getting 13 grams of the stuff that makes your intestines smile, insoluble fibre!  Beans also contain soluble fibre which is linked with lowering cholesterol and decreasing blood sugar spikes in people with diabetes!  Us ladies need 25 grams of fibre per day and gents need 38 grams.

2. One serving has less than 1 gram of fat!  Meaning?  It’s low in calories ESPECIALLY if you are comparing it to a serving of meat.  Also it’s good for your heart as it doesn’t contain any heart clogging fats.

3. Protein!  One cup of beans has 15 grams of protein.  Make sure you eat it with a grain which compliments beans by offering the amino acids that they are missing (and vise versa) ensuring your body makes the most the nutrients.  There are many traditional examples of legume/grain dishes including beans and rice in many Central and South American diets.  When Tabitha and I were travelling in South America a couple of years ago, in my opinion the most delicious meal that we ate was Feijouda.  It is a traditional Brazilian black bean dish (beans stewed with pork) and served with rice and orange slices!

4. Disease fighting benefits.  Beans are full of vitamins and minerals like calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, zinc and folic acid all of which contribute to good health.  They also contain antioxidants which are being studying in the lab for everything from heart disease prevention to cancer prevention.

5. Taste, convenience, versatility.  How many types of meat can you name?  There are many different types of beans to experiment with, all with different tastes and textures.  Check out your bulk food store for a large variety.  How much quicker can you get – open up a can, rinse and they are ready to eat!  Beans are super veratile considering their mild flavour and ability to puree into a paste.  Tabitha and I use bean pureed in our baking sometimes (stay tuned for recipes).

6. The more you eat the more you fart?  Excuse the rude childish rhyme but it’s true.  There are carbohydrates found in beans which are broken down in your intestine which cause gas formation.  Tips: Rinse your canned beans really well before adding them to your recipe, discard water used for soaking dried beans, drink plenty of water with your meal and add beans to your diet sowly.  Regularly eating beans helps your gut handle it better.  If all else fails, try some Beano!  It’s an enzyme that helps you digest them more easily.

7. COST!  Check out the price of dried beans sometime.  The cost of a serving of dried beans is a small fraction of the same amount of protein coming from a chicken breast.

8. It’s environmentally friendly!  Pulses use half of the amount of energy used by other crops as they don’t need any nitrogen fertilizer improve the condition of the soil.  Beans and legumes are “nitrogen fixers” which means instead of plants which take nitrogen out of the soil (hence the need to fertilizers), legumes put nitrogen back INTO the soil!   Beans have a low carbon foot-print.  Meat production uses 11 times the amount of fossil fuels to produce an equivalent amount of protein.

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