In Part 5 of “What are the best foods to eat?” …let’s start right off with the legume that can be found in just about every vegetable garden….beans. My husband loves beans…every kind, color, shape and texture. Beans are truly the ultimate “superfood” and should be included in our diets on a regular basis.
Why a “superfood”?
Leonard A Cohen, Ph.D., head of the experimental breast cancer program at the American Health Foundation in New York once stated “Beans are actually little chemical factories with lots of biologically active substances in them, and there’s good evidence that eating them may protect against cancer.” That’s good enough for me.
Did you know… black beans are a great source of B vitamins, folate, iron, zinc, calcium, selenium and potassium. So, add plenty to your next pot of chili, stew, rice dish, salad and soup. Beans are also high in protein, fiber, rich in antioxidants and complex carbohydrates.
A variety of “superfoods” can lower cholesterol…just read my series “What are the best foods to eat?” and you’ll read about all sorts of our favorites. But… beans may just be the best “superfood” to lower cholesterol. They are high in protein and loaded with soluble fiber (the same kind in oat bran and barley) which traps and removes cholesterol from your body before it’s absorbed. AND…it doesn’t matter what kind of beans you consume…even a can of baked beans can help lower cholesterol.
Low fat, fiber rich beans contain isoflavones and a plethora of compounds shown to inhibit cancer growth. One important item I just learned is that the components in beans protect them from insects and other predators. If this combination blocks the growth and invasion of insects, molds and bacteria…it’s likely doing the same for cancer cells. I’m all in.
Interesting Bean Fact
Because beans are high in fiber, you will feel fuller and your belly will feel more satisfied than eating a side of potatoes. So…beans are extremely filling and by including them in your diet you will have less of an appetite for fattier foods. Bring ’em on!
Include this important “superfood” in your diet…and go for the beans with the most fiber: black beans, chickpeas, kidney beans and unfortunately, the one bean you will never catch me eating…the lima bean. Sorry, mom.
Remember…canned are as good as dried. Dried beans can be purchased in bulk and are the most cost effective. Canned beans are higher in sodium so just drain, rinse and you’re good to go.
One last word from the bean family…
What are you waiting for…concerned about embarrassing yourself with flatulence after eating a side of beans? If this has prevented you from beans’ nutritional benefits and adding a great source of fiber to your diet, eat green vegetables with your beans and have fruit for dessert. Also, adding ginger and a little turmeric to spice up the beans will help avoid gas.
I hope you will check out my recipe for Green Bean Casserole with Crispy Fried Shallots…you think you love your Mum’s green bean casserole recipe? Well…bring this dish to your next family dinner and watch your Mumma’s eyes light up. Just go to “Sides” in the menu and you’ll be good to go.