You’ve probably heard that beans are good for your health, but are you getting enough of them in your diet? If you aren’t yet, we’ll let you in on the many reasons why you should start adding them to your meal plans!
Any healthy diet, especially plant-based ones, would find beans an integral part of the equation. They are a rich source of protein, and other key nutrients like fiber, protein, B vitamins, and healthy carbohydrates.
And because they are loaded with these important vitamins and minerals, they make a great addition to a nutritious diet.
From helping to stabilize blood sugar levels to preventing the risk of fatty liver and cancer, it’s easy to see why beans are many health enthusiasts’ favorite meal staple.
Take a look at the different beans you can enjoy in your healthy recipes and how exactly can you benefit from them in this ultimate health guide!
Black beans are an excellent source of phytonutrients such as the flavonoids petunidin, malvidin, and delphinidin. They are also rich in antioxidants, offering as much antioxidant content as a six-ounce glass of red wine.
Add black beans to your diet: The good news is, there are lots of creative ways to add black beans to your diet. You can add them to your tacos, soups, and salads. You can even incorporate them into your burger patty!
If you want to boost your nutrient consumption without adversely affecting your caloric intake, green beans may be your best bet! Compared with other beans, green beans contain lower calories at only 44 calories per cup.
Add green beans to your diet: Green beans make an easy and healthy addition to curry, salads, soups, and stews. You can also add them to your tacos or make charred green beans paired with harissa yogurt.
Chickpeas or Garbanzo Beans
Chickpeas or Garbanzo beans are low in cholesterol, saturated fat, and sodium but are very high in essential nutrients like folate, magnesium, manganese, protein, copper, iron, and phosphorus!
They are prized for their ability to lower cholesterol, promote weight loss, boost immunity, enhance digestive health, regulate blood sugar, and improve skin protection.
Add chickpeas to your diet: Chickpeas are the main ingredient in hummus, a thick paste or spread that is incredibly popular in the Middle East. They also make a great replacement for meat in vegan and vegetarian diets.
If you want to enjoy a variety of nutrients, look no further than fava beans! Otherwise known as broad beans, favas boast of copper, fiber, iron, magnesium, protein, vitamins A, B-6 and K, and zinc.
Because of the powerful nutrients they contain, these beans help to prevent birth defects, heart disease, osteoporosis, promote a healthier immune system, boost energy, and enhance motor function.
Add fava beans to your diet: You can enjoy grilled fava beans as a quick healthy snack. Their mild flavor also makes them a nutritious, versatile addition to your favorite stew and soup recipes!
Just like the other beans, lima beans are also chock-full of essential nutrients like iron, fiber, and protein. They are known to assist in preventing blood sugar spikes and promoting digestive and heart health.
Add lima beans to your diet: You can give your breakfast hash, side dish, and curry a nutritional boost by adding lima beans to them.
Pinto beans are also an excellent source of vitamins and minerals like B-complex vitamins, fiber, iron, and potassium. Various health, hair, and skin benefits have been associated with pinto beans.
For example, the beans are found to lower cholesterol levels, shielding the heart against diseases. Pinto beans are also linked to a reduced risk of constipation, and diabetes.
What’s more, they also help improve your hair and skin health! Since pinto beans are an excellent source of potassium, they help lessen hair fall, too. Meantime, their rich vitamin B content helps in fighting dry, dull skin.
Add pinto beans to your diet: Pinto beans are a popular staple in chili sauces. They also make a great addition to salads, stews, soups, and vegan burgers.
Red Kidney Beans
Considered the meatiest beans among all variants, red kidney beans are boasting essential nutrients, too! They contain significant amounts of protein, healthy carbs, fiber, copper, magnesium, folate, manganese, and phosphorus.
Red kidney beans are associated with enhanced blood sugar control, reduced risk of colon cancer and heart disease, and weight loss.
Add red kidney beans to your diet: Kidney beans are a common addition to vegan diets as they make a great meat substitute. You can stir them into soups, mix them into your breakfast toast, or add them to your pasta sauce.
White beans, otherwise known as navy beans and Boston beans, have a low glycemic index (GI), preventing blood sugar spikes.
They are also a fantastic source of protein, dietary fiber, magnesium, and antioxidants. White beans are also rich in calcium, copper, folate, iron, protein, and vitamin B1.
White beans are known to boost brain function, support heart health, reduce the signs of aging, and promote healthier skin.
Add white beans to your diet: These nutrient-dense beans make a powerful addition to your salads, healthy pizza, risotto, pot pies, and quesadillas!
Potential Risks of Eating Beans
While it’s great to learn about the advantages of adding beans to your diet, it pays to know the potential risks that come with them, too. Take a look at the potential health risks of consuming beans:
Beans can cause gas
While it’s not really a health problem, beans can cause intestinal gas, which raises your risk of flatulence. Dried beans, peas, and lentils are the most common beans that contribute to flatulence problems.
But here’s how you can minimize this embarrassing effect:
You can reduce intestinal gas by rinsing canned beans and learning how to cook them properly. It also helps to consume them with vegetables, especially green leafy ones, and herbs such as fennel and lemon balm.
Beans may interact with certain medications
People taking monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitor for depression must refrain from consuming fava beans. Eating fava beans while under this medication may trigger an interaction that can cause blood pressure to spike.
Beans may trigger allergic reactions
Some people may experience allergic reactions or migraines after consuming beans or legumes.
If such a thing occurs, it’s best to see a doctor, so you can confirm whether it’s the beans that caused this adverse effect. If necessary or advised, nix them from your diet.
Beans may trigger gout attacks
Beans do not only trigger allergic symptoms but gout attacks as well. If you are suffering from gout, it is best to avoid bean intake.
Beans, lentils, peas, and other legumes are high in purine content, which may increase uric acid. High levels of uric acid also increase the risk of gout attacks.
Helpful Tips on Preparing and Cooking Beans
Pre-soaking plays an important role in shortening cooking time and promoting easy digestion. Here are a few things you need to keep in mind when preparing, and cooking beans:
Sort and rinse your beans well
Make sure that you get rid of small stones and shriveled beans. Use cool water in rinsing your beans and drain well.
Soak them properly
Observe a 1:3 or 1:4 ration when soaking your beans. For every cup of rinsed beans, you’ll need three to four cups of water. Boil an appropriate bean-water ration in a heavy cooking pot for five minutes.
Once done, remove from heat, cover, and let it soak for one hour. Drain afterward. If you wish to soak your beans longer, follow the same ratio and soak them between 8 and 12 hours before draining.
Cook your beans properly using your preferred method
There are various methods in cooking your beans. You can choose from the stovetop, slow-cooker or pressure-cooker methods.
Just remember that how long you cook your beans depends on the method that you choose, so it pays to study how to properly cook them using different techniques.
Make sure that your beans are thoroughly cooked
So, how will you know if your beans are ready for eating?
To make sure that you’ll enjoy properly cooked beans, scoop a few beans and blow on them. When their skin wrinkle or curl, it may indicate that they are already cooked. But taste them too to be sure.
When they are already tender through to the center, it means that they’re ready to eat. Allow them to cool their cooking liquid.
Beans are some of the healthiest foods you can add to your nutritious diet! They are chock full of nutrients like protein, dietary fiber, magnesium, copper, and B vitamins that help promote good health.
It’s no longer surprising how they are able to enhance overall health and prevent various diseases and illnesses from occurring.
What’s more, they are also economical, environmentally friendly, and easy to incorporate into your favorite dishes, too!
And while you may need to experiment with these different beans to find out which you like most for your dishes or need for your diet, beans are definitely worth giving a try!