Saturday, May 24, 2008

You Don't Know Beans...Or Maybe You Do?

I love beans!

Now there's a headline that makes one stop and look. Hey, I am not ashamed to admit that I am a bean freak, an eater of all varieties of beans: black, pinto, kidney, refried, garbanzo, lentils (which are legumes, part of the pea family), navy, and soy, lots of soy, or edamame. Why am I an unabashed lover of these colorful nuggets of protein, fiber, and taste? Well, besides protein, fiber, and taste, they are so good for you.

Beans are loaded with vitamins and minerals, like: calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, chlorine, sulfur and vitamin A. And don't forget antioxidants: the darker the bean the greater the antioxidants. Plus folate, which helps fight cancer and heart disease. Better yet, beans are a fantastic source of vegetarian protein (8-10 grams per serving), and for non-meat eaters like myself, they are just what the dietitian ordered. I eat one variety of bean or another at least once a day, be it while battling my Mexican food Jones (black beans and refried beans), or tossed in a salad (kidney, garbanzo, pinto), or as part of my nightly pile of vegetables, usually edamame. And I can't think of a better tasting meat substitute than lentils prepared just right.

Beans are also a wonderful source of fiber. And when I am not advocating the importance of beans in ones diet, I can often be found singing the praises of fiber. Lots of it. I eat well above the recommended daily allowance of fiber, which is 25-35 grams, depending on your size and caloric intake. Why? Because fiber is king: it lowers cholesterol, helps you lose weight by making you feel full longer, by digesting slower, and when if finally decides to digest, it promotes regularity. Beans are full of fiber. Depending on what kind you eat, around 5-8 grams a serving. What's not to love?

What else is great about beans and legumes? Fat. They are virtually free of fat, depending on the variety you choose. Read labels and be careful how you prepare them and beans will help you lose weight, stay fit, and live a healthier life. Also, when you have a choice, always choose organic. I have discovered some very healthy, tasty organic bean products that are canned. Check them out, read the labels, and you can find some healthy foods. Or buy a bag of dried beans and find someone who knows how to prepare them from scratch. This blog entry is all about the goodness of beans, not how to prepare them. By the way, if you find a good recipe on how to prepare them, let me know.

So, have you had your beans today? Try to make beans a part of your daily diet, like I do. You'll be glad you did.




ssgreylord said...

From one bean lover to another. I just had pinto beans for dinner. Last night was black beans. I was thrilled to hear other reasons why they're good for you. As a vegetarian, I rely on them for protein (plus I LOVE the taste). Thanks for a great post...

Robin Easton said...

I too am a bean LOVER, in fact I am just headed out to my garden to plant not only green beans but pinto and white tepary beans which are VERY high in protien. This is a great post as a vegetarian I eat a lot of beans and appreciate the information. Thanks!!! :)