Beans are truly one of Nature’s most perfect healing health supporting
foods. In fact, in some countries around the world, beans are used as a
main source of protein. Beans and legumes are usually grouped together and
are considered to be in the same family. To make this article easier to
read we will refer to legumes as beans. Some common beans are navy, pinto,
kidney, garbanzo, soy, great northern and fava beans. Some common legumes
include peas, lentils and peanuts. There are many reasons that we can be
thankful for beans and should try and include them in our diet.
George Eisman, RD shares this information about beans: “Beans are high in complex carbohydrates, protein and fiber. Beans are low in fat (other than soy and peanuts), low in sodium (unless added to the can), and they are cholesterol free. Studies show that including beans in our diets can help us reduce our chances of getting heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke and certain cancers; and help people manage their weight as well as their blood sugar levels. Flours made from beans are also nutritious ways to add more protein to baked goods. Milks and cheeses can be made from soy or other beans and is a great way to avoid cholesterol and other harmful food components, such as growth hormones (some added, some naturally there), which are present in all animal derived milks and cheeses.”*
Dry beans and canned beans do not require refrigeration so are a
convenient and inexpensive source of protein. There are numerous ways to
use beans in recipes. Baked beans, split pea soup and rice and bean
dishes are a few of the traditional bean dishes that Americans have
enjoyed for centuries. Some popular ethnic bean foods include black beans
and rice, dal, falafel and hummus.
It is too bad that over the years beans have gotten a bad reputation because they can cause flatulence, otherwise known as gas. Many other types of foods can cause gas too. Over the years many experienced cooks have discovered various ways to help people enjoy the health benefits of consuming beans and at the same time avoid gassiness. Some people say to rinse the beans after they have been cooked to help prevent gas. Canned beans may also be rinsed. George Eisman, RD offers this helpful advice: “Sprouting beans and then cooking them can reduce gassiness. Adding a teaspoon or so of vinegar to a pot beans after cooking can help take away the gassiness. Smaller beans have less gas producing compounds.”*
Compassionate Actions Project
*Always consult your physician when changing your diet.