Beans, Beans, the Magical Fruit!

Easy Bean Salad  (recipe below)

Beans are actually a legume, not a fruit.  They are a delicious, versatile, high protein food that can bring you good health, help prevent heart disease, cancer, and diabetes, and help keep your weight in check.  They are a staple for vegetarians and provide great nutrition at a low-cost.

Beans are also a great source of soluble fiber and folate, providing 4 grams of fiber per cup of cooked beans.  They help to reduce blood glucose, insulin, cholesterol concentrations and reduce the incidence and consequences of Diabetes.  They have essential vitamins and minerals, and are low in fat, calories, and sodium.

They are also high in protein. 1/4 cup legume (bean, pea or lentil) is equivalent in protein to an ounce of meat.  1 cup of legume contains about 15 grams of protein.

They are inexpensive to purchase and if you buy the dry variety they are even more economical.  Also, soaking beans overnight stops the intestinal gas that one gets from eating beans.  Thus the title of Magical Fruit rather than Musical Fruit 🙂

The goodness of beans doesn’t stop there.  Red kidney beans and pinto beans actually beat many fruits and vegetables in antioxidant benefits.  IP6 (inositol hexaphosphate) is found in beans and has a potent anti-cancer action.  A study done at Colorado State University, reported in the Journal of Nutrition, showed that eating beans and potatoes regularly could help prevent breast cancer.  An 8 year study that started in 1991 and was reported in the Archives of Internal Medicine, looked at 90,630 women between the ages of 26 and 46 consuming beans or lentils at least 2 times a week and found that they were 24% less likely to develop breast cancer than those who ate beans less than 1 time a month.  Beans eaten 4 times a week, compared to 1 time a week, was shown to lower risk of heart disease by 22%.  Other studies showed that eating beans lowered the risk of developing colon cancer.

Beans easily pick up the flavor of seasoning in recipes, and blend easily, making them great to use in either raw or cooked creations.

Here is a list of beans to try adding to your diet.

* Black beans

* Kidney beans

* Pinto beans

* Lima Beans

* Butter beans

* Chick peas

* Black-eyed peas

* Broad (Fava) beans

* Great Northern beans

* Navy beans

* Lentils

* Cannellini beans

* Adzuki beans

* Mung beans

I typically will make a big bowl of a bean salad on the weekends, throw it in the fridge, and then it is ready during the week whenever I need a snack.

Recipe for Easy Bean Salad

Ingredients:

1 cup red beans

1 cup chick peas

1 cup black beans

1 cup peas

1 cup carrots, chopped

1/2 red onion chopped

1 large red pepper, diced

1 cup broccoli

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

Combine, toss, and chill.

NOTE:  This is what I threw in the bean salad in the picture but I make all kinds of different versions of this salad.  Try it with kidney beans, pinto beans, and black-eyed peas.  Use lima beans and corn instead of peas.  Try apple cider vinegar instead of balsamic.  You can also sprinkle on some spices if you like.  Just stay away from bottled, store-bought salad dressings or you will be spoiling the healthy goodness with sugar, chemicals, and bad oils.

Happy eating!

-Kristen

Choosing healthy living over dying 🙂

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