Legumes, also called beans, are some of the world’s most ancient cultivated plants. According to fossil records, prehistoric man was familiar with growing and eating legumes. There are now more than 33,000 types of legumes, and legumes are the second most popular food (grain being the first) for providing protein to people around the world. In comparison to grains, however, beans have approximately an identical number of calories, but contain two to three times more protein. As a matter of fact, beans are really a superfood.
Here is a list of some popular bean varieties: pinto, kidney, navy, black, lima,
and mung beans.
There are many other varieties of beans, including Great Northern beans, Cannellini
beans (white kidney beans), garbanzo beans (chickpeas), and kidney beans (pink,
red, white/cannellini, light, and dark). As consumers become more and more
interested in beans, there are brand new varieties that are coming into the market on
a regular basis.
What is the reason for this sudden interest in beans?
Actually, there are a couple reasons. Beans are hearty, taste delicious, and contain
many nutrients that are beneficial to maintaining good health.
You can purchase dried beans throughout the year in supermarkets, grocery stores,
whole food markets, health food stores, specialty stores, farmer’s markets, and
The Fat Burning Benefits of Beans (and other health benefits)
- Beans are an excellent source of low-fat protein, folate, fiber potassium, B
vitamins, magnesium, iron, and phytonutrients. They are sometimes referred to
as the poor man’s meat because they contain an abundant amount of protein.
Actually, beans are among the healthiest, budget-friendly protein supplies
- Lysine is an amino acid that is not commonly found in many plant proteins, but
beans are an exception, because they are high in lysine. This causes beans to
be an excellent choice for people who are vegetarians, consuming such healthy
dishes as rice and beans. Lysine is one of the two amino acids that the body
needs in order to synthesize Carnitine. Carnitine is essential to your body’s
ability to produce energy.
- There is a familiar saying that beans are good for the heart. This is true, but
there are a lot more benefits from beans. Beans supply a lot of soluble fiber in
the diet. When soluble fiber moves its way through the digestive tract, it
catches cholesterol-containing bile and drains it out of the body before it has a
chance to be absorbed. You can actually make your total cholesterol level go
down up to 10% in six months by simply eating one cup of beans daily.
Reducing your overall cholesterol level may also lower the incidence of heart
- Beans are packed with fiber to curb cravings and leave you with a sense of
satiety. Beans also aid in lowering blood pressure levels, which helps to protect
- Besides their ability to lower both cholesterol and blood pressure, beans
additionally prevent blood sugar levels from going up too fast after eating food.
This is why beans are a great food for diabetics, people who are resistant to
insulin, or those who suffer from hypoglycemia.
- Beans contain fiber for a constant supply of energy. Beans are also packed with
water soluble vitamins, particularly thiamine, niacin, riboflavin, and folacin. Folate
is essential for lowering concentrations of homocysteine. Without sufficient
folate in your diet, your homocysteine level increases and can cause harm to
your blood vessels and your heart.
- In addition to folate, beans also contain a good amount of calcium, magnesium,
and potassium, all of which are healthy minerals and electrolytes which, when
combined, can help to lessen the risk of high blood pressure and heart disease.
- For anyone who wants to burn off fat, beans are indispensable. Their bulk will
leave you feeling full without adding excess calories.
- There is also research indicating that beans can help to prevent several types of
cancer, particularly pancreatic, colon, breast, and prostate cancers. This is
because of lignins, a phyto-estrogen found in beans that has properties similar
to those of estrogen.
- The risk of getting estrogen-related cancer, such as breast cancer, can be
reduced by incorporating lignins in your diet. It is also believed that they can
offer protective benefits for the male reproductive system by warding off
cancers. Intestinal cancer might be prevented by incorporating phylates and
other compounds found in beans into the diet.
Beans contain antioxidants, which help to protect the heart from damage
caused by free radicals, reduce inflammation, and help wounds to heal.
Garbanzo beans, or chickpeas, as they are commonly called, contain a high level of
antioxidants from phyto-chemicals called saponins. Chickpeas are not only a reliable
source of protein and folate, but can also help people to lower their cholesterol levels.
When you have so many beans to choose from, it makes sense to add beans to
your fat burning diet every day.
People who eat beans on a regular basis have the benefit of lowering their cholesterol
The fact that they are low in calories plus contain a great deal of fiber make them an
ideal choice for your fat-burning diet and daily nutrition.
When looking to purchase dried beans, you want to shop at a grocery store or
market that does a lot of business so it is bringing in fresh goods all the time. Choose
the freshest dried beans rather than a product that’s been in the store a year. Try to
find beans that aren’t very old. This might not be an easy task, so you may have to
depend on your market for their freshness.
You will realize the importance of buying fresh beans if you ever have the experience
of cooking beans for many hours, only to realize that they are still not cooked. Do
you understand the reason why? The reason is that the beans are not fresh.
Whenever you buy beans in a whole foods market or any supermarket that sells
dried beans in bulk, inspect the receptacles to make certain they have lids and look
sanitary. Make sure you look to see if there is any powder around beans that come
in bags. This indicates they are not fresh. Choose beans that are intact rather than
How to Cook Beans (and ways to serve beans)
and remove any extra debris, such as rocks, insects, and lumps of dirt. You’re going
to find some, however it’s easy to remove any. Next, rinse off the beans by putting
them in a colander and running cold water over them.
After this step, soak the beans for a minimum of one hour; soaking beans overnight
is even better. You should always soak any variety of dried beans overnight before
you cook them.
Common knowledge dictates that when you soak beans for a longer time period,
you do not need to cook them as long, and they will cause less gastric disturbance.
Beans that are fresh and recently picked cook up faster. Pressure cooked beans may
be used in certain recipes to obtain a better result.
You can add beans when preparing dishes however you like. You will learn
that adding beans to any recipe will add additional health benefits. The
following are a few quick ideas. I know you will be able to discover many more ideas
on your own.
- Beans are a fine addition to any soup, salad, or casserole dish. They can also be
made into a puree.
- Prepare a batch of hummus using garbanzo bean puree with minced garlic and
- It is simple to make a Middle Eastern type of pasta if you add garbanzo beans
to whole grain penne pasta, then mix these ingredients with extra virgin olive oil
and mild-flavored cheese, then sprinkle with fresh oregano.
- Simmer precooked garbanzo beans in some tomato paste, add curry to the
mixture, then add some chopped almonds; pour this mixture over brown rice.
Toss some garbanzo beans into your salad, soup, or stew recipes.
- Mix garbanzo beans with various herbs and sauces for a delicious treat.
- Traditionally, chili is made with red kidney beans; red kidney beans are also used
when preparing tacos and Mexican soups. Helpful hint: Substitute beans for the
beef in these recipes.
- If you want to make your own distinct take on tamale pie, when you make
kidney beans consider putting them over cornbread and then grate low- or fat-
free cheese on top.
- Mix black, white, and red kidney beans with tomatoes and scallions, and toss
with a dressing made of extra virgin olive oil, fresh lemon juice, and black
pepper to make a tasty three-bean salad.
- You can cook a delicious meal from Tuscany that is prepared using white,
cannellini beans (large kidney beans that are white instead of red), rosemary.
and fresh chopped garlic.
- Add some beans to pasta dishes.
- You can make a delicious spread for a sandwich wrap by mashing beans with
diced garlic cloves.
- Prepare salads made from beans by combining a variety of beans, then pour a
dressing made from oil and herbs on top.
- If you would like to eat a delicious layered dip, mix black beans with cilantro,
chopped tomatoes, chopped onions, and guacamole.
- Black beans combined with rice produce a delicious and creative Cuban dish.
- Make a batch of black bean soup by mixing cooked beans with onion, tomato
and seasoning. If you want to try a different kind of burrito, try using black
beans instead of the typical pinto beans.
- Serve black beans in combination with various toppings over baked potatoes.
Recommended Serving Size
Try to have a half cup to a whole cup of beans 4 times weekly, at minimum.
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