Do Your Body Good: Savor The Beneficial Bean

Health & Medical Blog

Whether you have opted for a vegetarian diet, are aspiring to shed a few pounds or are simply striving to consume a healthier meal plan, you should consider adding an important ingredient when preparing your next repast. The multiple health benefits of beans have ranked them among the list of super foods, and they play a role in weight loss regimens as well. Find out why you should savor beans in your suppers.

A Bean by Any Name Is a Protein-Packed Legume

Beans, also known as pulses, belong to the legume family, which includes the following:

  • Lentils
  • Black beans
  • Cannellini beans
  • Garbanzo beans, also called chick peas
  • Kidney beans
  • Pinto beans
  • Adzuki beans
  • Pigeon peas, also called gandules
  • Edamame, also called soybeans
  • Black eyed peas
  • Fava beans, also called broad beans
  • Lima beans

Beans come from plants, just like fruits, vegetables, grains and nuts. While all of these plant-based foods should be included as part of a nutritionally balanced meal plan, beans provide the highest amount of protein when compared to other plant offerings. Protein is an essential nutrient that is integral in growing and maintaining your body's tissue, muscle, bone, hair, skin and nails, as well as in providing structural integrity to your body's cells and in helping your body to produce and manage certain enzymes, hormones and antibodies. The benefits of the bean extend beyond providing protein, however.

Other Nutrients

In addition to protein, beans are rich in several minerals and vitamins that are essential to good health. These nutrients include:

  • Iron
  • Magnesium
  • Potassium
  • Folate
  • Vitamin B-6

Beans also contain antioxidants, which are phytochemicals that come from plants and aid in inhibiting the development of free radicals in your body. Free radicals are the culprits that are responsible for damaging cells, which can lead to the development of numerous detrimental conditions, including the following:

  • Cancer
  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Parkinson's disease

Unlike animal-based protein, protein that is taken in from beans contains no saturated fat or cholesterol, which makes beans part of a heart healthy diet.

Fiber You Can Feel Good About

When so many Americans are striving for weight loss by turning to low carbohydrate diets, you may feel skeptical about incorporating more beans into your meals. Another difference between animal-based proteins and beans is that the meat on your plate contains no fiber, which translates to the fact that beans require more time for digestion. This extended duration of the digestion process provides a longer period of feeling satiated. Furthermore, beans fall within the group of carbohydrates known as low glycemic foods, promoting stable blood glucose levels and making beans a boon for the diabetic diet. Individuals who opt for beans instead of meat will sense the calls of hunger pangs later than their meat-eating counterparts, enabling them to eat less in between meals and ultimately slim down.

Lifestyle Benefits of Beans

There are other positive aspects to eating more beans. First, beans are almost as economical as dry pasta, making them a much cheaper alternative to meats. 

Secondly, the vast variety of beans and global cuisines make these legumes highly versatile to please every palate. Here are just a few ways to enjoy your beans:

  • In soups and chili
  • In burritos and tacos
  • In wraps or omelets
  • In pasta entrĂ©es or salads
  • With rice for a satisfying side dish
  • Mashed into hummus to serve with raw vegetables for a healthy dip option
  • Saute black beans in olive oil with cumin and cilantro for a southwestern side dish.
  • Saute cannellini beans in olive oil with minced garlic and sage for a Mediterranean side dish.

Thirdly, beans are convenient ingredients. While dried beans must be soaked in water for hours prior to cooking, many beans are also available in cans. Unlike many vegetables, beans do not lose nutrients when they are canned. If your schedule presents time constraints, choosing the canned black beans instead of the dried version is perfectly acceptable. Be mindful that most cans of beans contain high levels of added sodium. When browsing the bean section in your supermarket, reach for the cans that are labeled as low salt or low sodium. Always drain and rinse canned beans before you heap them into your dish. When it comes to edamame, you can save yourself the time of shelling fresh pods by purchasing a bag of frozen shelled edamame beans instead.

With so many options and recipes to choose from, there is no excuse not to welcome the beneficial bean to your family's dinner plates. Talk to a doctor, like Choice Medical Group, for more help in developing a healthy diet.


19 February 2016

Help Others Make Health Decisions when They Cannot

One day I was playing a game of basketball with a friend, and the friend I was playing ball with tripped and took a hard fall to the ground. He hit his head hard, but he insisted he was okay and just wanted to go home and take a nap. I knew in my heart that he was not thinking clearly, and I didn't feel right letting him go home. I talked him into letting me take him to the hospital, and after some tests, it was determined he had a bad concussion. The doctors told me that if I had let him go home and sleep, things could have taken a turn for the worse. I created this blog to remind everyone to look out for each other after injuries. Not everyone thinks clearly after a head injury, and just being a good friend could save a life.