Not only are they versatile and inexpensive, but the humble bean is also healthy! There is a whole range of different bean types which are often overlooked, yet they are wholesome, tasty and can offer a whole range positive health benefits.
1. Beans are plant-based powerhouses
As a plant-based food, beans offer a whole array of positive nutritional benefits. Fitting into the food groups of complex carbohydrate, as well as protein and vegetables, beans are extremely versatile, as well as healthy. They are composed of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, are low-fat and cholesterol free. This makes the bean much like a superfood!
2. Beans, beans, are good for the heart…
It has long been known that beans are a heart-healthy food with high levels of soluble fibre that can help to reduce cholesterol and lower triglycerides. It is best to prepare beans yourself by soaking the dried form and then cooking them yourself, so as to avoid excess salt which can be found in canned bean varieties.
3. Beans are blood sugar balancers
The unique composition of beans in which they are complex carbs and a protein means that they are easy for the body to digest while keeping blood sugar levels down. They are also filling and satisfying, which can help to reduce sweet cravings after enjoying them in a meal. These qualities make beans great for managing diabetes as well as for weight control.
4. Beans lower the risk of cancer
Due to their high fibre content and antioxidants, eating 3 cups of beans per week can help to reduce the risk of cancer and enhance overall state of well-being in the body.
5. Beans are low in fat
Depending on the variety of bean, they generally only contain 2-3% fat as well and are also cholesterol free.
6. Beans are high in protein
Beans are an excellent source of plant protein, with ½ cup beans providing 7 grams of protein, making them a great alternative to animal protein sources. Eating enough protein is important for keeping you feeling satisfied as well as for building muscles and tissue which is particularly important for people who are active or working out.
7. Beans are high in fibre
Eating beans can ensure you stay regular, due to their high fibre content. 100 grams of beans contains 5-8 grams of fibre. It is important to eat enough fibre in your diet so as to have optimal health, adequate digestion and to keep diseases such as diabetes at bay. Eating adequate fibre is also important for reducing heart disease risk. The high fibre content of beans also makes them a great gluten-free fibre source for those who are allergic to wheat and whey.
8. Beans will make your feel full for longer
Beans are generally digested more slowly than other carbohydrates which means they will make you feel full for longer.
9. Beans are packed with nutrients
Beans have a powerhouse nutrient profile of antioxidants as well as vitamins and minerals such as copper, folate, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, potassium and zinc. Beans are also high in phytonutrients which provide a myriad of health benefits when consumed.
10. Beans are vesatile
It is easy to innciprorate beans in to just about any dish, and with the huge variety of beans that are available, eating them regularly doesn’t have to be boring. Keep a store of the whole range of beans in your pantry- kidney beans, pinto beans, black beans, lima beans, black-eyed peas, garbanzo beans (chickpeas), split peas and lentils- and add them into your dishes whenever you can.
You might like to try this bean salad recipe:
• 1 15-oz can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
• 1 15-oz can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
• 1 15-oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
• 1/2 red onion, finely chopped
• 2 celery stalks, finely chopped
• 1 avocado, cubed
• ½ cup feta cheese, crumbled
• 1 cup loosely packed, fresh, flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
• 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
• 1/4 cup granulated sugar
• 3 Tbsp olive oil
• 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
• 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1. In a large bowl, mix the 3 different types of beans, the celery, onion, parsley, and rosemary.
2. Gently stir through the fetta and avocado.
3. In a separate small bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients.
4. Add the dressing to the beans. Toss to coat and leave to rest so the dressing can marinate the beans.
5. Delicious when served chilled.
We hope you have enjoyed learning about the wonderful benefits of beans and you can find creative ways to include beans into your diet. The many health benefits of beans can definitely help to keep you in tip-top condition. We wish you lots of success with your health goals. Please get in touch if you want to learn more about our fitness and health programme in Thailand.