The Benefits of Beans

Why should I eat beans?

Beans are a nutrient rich food full of beneficial vitamins and minerals. They are also an excellent source of protein and fiber.

Proteins are sometimes called the building blocks of life. Food sources of protein can come from animals (meat, milk, cheese, eggs) and plants (beans, seeds, nuts). Protein is important for a healthy immune system, wound healing, and improved strength.

Fiber is an important part of a healthy diet. Research shows that fiber may help lower the risk of heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, and certain cancers. Fiber also helps you feel full longer and improves regularity.

So many options:

Snacks: bean dips, hummus, roasted chickpeas

Main Dishes: bean burgers, red beans and rice, chili, bean burritos or quesadillas, black bean patties, bean spreads on a sandwich

Side Dishes: baked beans, bean salads, succotash

Try adding beans to your salads, soups, casseroles, or pasta dishes

Desserts: There are some recipes that use beans in the place of flour in baked goods like brownies and cookies

Dried Beans verses Canned Beans

Canned beans tend to have high amounts of sodium. To reduce the sodium content simply pour the can of beans into a strainer and rinse thoroughly with water before preparing them or adding them to a recipe. This will not remove all of the sodium but it will help get rid of some.

To reduce your sodium intake even further, try to look for cans that are marked “No Salt added”, “Reduced Sodium”, or “Low sodium”. Always look at the food label to see how much sodium is in a serving.

Dried beans are a healthy and inexpensive option. To prepare dry beans:

· Clean-sort through the beans and remove any debris or broken beans

· Rinse-pour beans into a strainer and rinse with cold water

· Soak-The “hot soak” method calls for putting beans in a large pot and covering with cold water (10 cups water for every 2 cups beans), bring to a boil for 1-3 minutes. Remove from heat, cover, and let stand for at least 4 hours.

· Cook-drain and rinse the soaked beans. Cook according to your recipe.

Tips to reduce intestinal gas

· While there is no confirming research, some people suggest that the longer the beans soak, the more gas producing compounds are released into the water.

· Rinsing canned beans before using them in a recipe may help to decrease some of the gas producing compounds you consume.

· Be sure to drink plenty of water on days when you eat beans.

· Add beans to your diet slowly and pay attention to which types cause discomfort. Some studies have found that different types of beans may cause different amounts of gas.


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