Beans and legumes are an essential type of food and have been part of a regular diet for thousands of years. What may surprise you is that beans are so healthy for our bodies. They contain numerous healthy nutrients, including iron, calcium, potassium, folic acid, and zinc. Beans are a source of fiber, protein, antioxidants, and minerals, which provide many health benefits to our body.
In this post, we will focus on 7 health benefits of beans and legumes.
Types of Beans and Legumes
Beans are categorized as legumes. The following are various types of beans:
- Haricot beans (Navy beans)
- Pinto beans
- B ack beans
- Kidney beans
- Lima beans
- Mung beans
- Cranberry beans (borlotti beans)
Apart from beans, there are other types of legumes, including Peas, Lentils, Lupins, peanuts, and Chickpeas.
What Are the Health Benefits of Beans?
Beans are rich in nutrients and minerals that the body needs to function. The essential health nutrients in beans help fight off diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and certain types of cancer and prevent unhealthy weight gain.
The following are some of the health benefits of taking beans.
1. Rich in Protein
Beans contain amino acids, which are the building blocks of proteins. Protein is a crucial nutrient that helps the body to heal and repair damaged body tissues.
Importantly, beans are rich in one specific amino acid known as arginine, which is associated with lower blood pressure.
2. Help in Digestion
Beans have a lot of dietary fiber, which is excellent for gut health. They are packed with fiber, which helps with digestion.
The fiber helps feed the good bacteria in our intestinal tracts that keep us healthy.
3. Fight Cancer
Beans are full of antioxidants that can fight off diseases like cancer. They contain polyphenols that fight the effects of free radicals in the body. Usually, our bodies produce harmful chemicals during metabolism. The chemicals released can damage body cells resulting in diseases.
However, antioxidants play a crucial role in helping the body eliminate harmful free radicals. Beans are a source of antioxidants that reduce the risk of getting cancer. Isoflavones and phytosterols contained in beans lessen the cancer risk.
4. Source of Energy
Beans contain complex carbohydrates and proteins. Carbohydrates are one of the macronutrients our bodies need to function.
Beans provide a steady supply of glucose your body needs. Glucose is vital to fuel our bodies.
5. Suitable for Weight Loss
Beans are often recommended for people who are trying to lose weight. They help with weight loss because beans are filling and metabolism-boosting. Fiber gives you the feeling of fullness, which means you will eat less.
By taking beans, you can stay without taking snacks for longer while you still have the energy you need to perform your activities.
6. Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
Beans are great for people with diabetes because they are low in sugar. They are a source of complex carbohydrates which ensure a steady supply of necessary sugar in the blood instead of sudden glucose surge.
Also, beans contain fiber which helps in stabilizing blood sugar levels.
7. Prevent Heart Diseases
People who eat beans and legumes often are less likely to suffer from cardiovascular diseases. Beans contain nutrients that help lower cholesterol and reduce the chances of one getting heart disease.
Beans contain saponins and phytosterols which lower blood cholesterol levels. Also, they have soluble fiber, which controls the level of cholesterol in the blood.
How to Prepare Beans
- Beans are easy to prepare. Usually, you need to sort, thoroughly rinse and soak beans before you cook them.
- Sort. Put beans in a container and pick out any stones and chaff.
- Rinse. Use cold water to clean the beans. Rinse the beans until the water is clear. The amount of water you require will depend on the quantity of beans.
- Soak. Soaking beans reduces the risk of giving you gas. Soak dry beans for at least 6 hours.
- Importantly, to reduce the soaking time, especially if you have a tight schedule, you can boil the beans and then soak them for 2 hours only.
- Cook. Drain the soaking water and add enough water to cook the beans until they are tender.
- Once they are tender, you can add them to soups, salad or take them as a side dish.
Beans are a great addition to any diet, and they are very versatile. You can prepare and take for dinner, lunch, or even a snack.
The following are some of the beans recipes you can try:
Where You Can Buy Beans
Given the many health benefits of beans and there being a suitable substitute for meat, you would be interested in knowing where you can find them. You can find beans and other legumes in any grocery store near you. Notably, the beans are affordable, and you can buy them in large quantities and store them.