The Healthiest Beans and Legumes on the Planet
By Sara Butler
You know the old saying that beans are good for your heart. Well, they’re also good for a ton of other things, including reducing cholesterol, increasing healthy gut bacteria, and stabilizing blood sugar levels. Beans and legumes should have a place of honor at your table, but if you’re unsure where to go beyond kidney beans, then here are a few suggestions.
Beans and Legumes: The Difference
There tends to be a lot of confusion between beans and legumes. The difference is subtle, but it’s also important to understand what they are for your continued health and wellness. And just in case you need the info for a heated game of Trivial Pursuit.
Legumes are basically plants that grow fruits in a pod. Beans are the seeds from a plant. Still confused? Well, another way to look at it is that legumes can be broken down into different things such as lentils, beans, peanuts, and peas. Beans are a peacock, while legumes are birds – a peacock is a bird, but not all birds are peacocks. In other words, every bean is a legume, but not all legumes are beans. Is that better?
Soybeans, green beans, and sugar snap peas are all legumes because the plant is in a pod. Now that clarification has been made, on to the best beans and legumes you can eat!
Chickpeas are crunchy and incredibly good for you. They’re full of protein and fiber that can help you achieve and maintain a healthy weight while also reducing your risk factors for disease such as cancer and heart disease.
Chickpeas have been found in several studies to reduce blood sugar, helping to increase insulin sensitivity – which is really important if you’re at risk for type 2 diabetes. They’re also low in calories.
If you’re a vegetarian or know one, then lentils should be a cornerstone of a healthy vegetarian diet. They’re a wonderful plant-based protein and are also really versatile in soups and stews. Lentils are also full of fiber to help keep your gut healthy.
Black beans are very popular and for good reason. They’re a great source of folate, fiber, and protein, helping to keep blood sugar stable and reduce the risk of diabetes. Some studies have even found that consuming black beans with other high-carbohydrate foods such as rice can help to control the rise in blood sugar after a meal.
Beans (and legumes!) are a healthy part of a balanced diet, so don't forget to work them in where you can!
To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Spartanburg, S.C.