Beans, Beans, the Magical Fruit...
These days, most fad diets exclude certain foods for one reason or another. Dairy, sugar, carbohydrates, alcohol, meat- these are all foods that are on the ‘no’ lists of our new-fangled dietary restrictions. Unfortunately, it’s not super helpful to know what we can’t eat… What can we eat? Well, let me tell you about the wonderful world of legumes. We don’t consume nearly enough of them. Beans are pretty much tiny nutritional powerhouses and shouldn’t be ignored by hungry people. Some nutritional benefits of eating them include:
- exceptionally powerful antioxidants
- lowered blood pressure
- cancer risk reduction
- lowered cholesterol
- improved intestinal flora
- reduction in food cravings
- weight-loss aid
Try adding beans to your soups, salads, wraps, and scrambles in order to reap their nutritional benefits. Let’s visit some of these advantages to eating beans in a bit more detail, now:
#1: Lowered Blood Pressure
Certain varieties of beans such as pinto, navy, northern, and black have all been shown to reduce both the systolic (top number) and diastolic (bottom number) blood pressure. One of the reasons why beans may have this positive effect is due to their high content of potassium, which lessens the effects of sodium on your blood pressure. The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends that the average adult consume about 4,700 mg of potassium, daily.
#2: A Reduction In Risk For Certain Cancers
As one of the leading causes of death among adults, it’s to be expected that we are constantly on the lookout for things that could potentially reduce our risk for cancer. It’s great news, then, that beans can do just that. According the the American Institute for Cancer Research, dry beans are rich in folate, a B vitamin, which aids in cell division and helps to repair damaged cells. Beans also contain other cancer-fighting nutrients, such as lignans and saponins, resistant starches, and antioxidants derived from phytochemicals.
#3: Fewer Unhealthy Food Cravings
Many of us tend to struggle with between-meal snack binges, and these can add up to some serious diet-busting calories. However, including a serving of beans with some of your meals can help to keep these cravings at bay. Beans pack a hefty punch of filling fiber (generally between eleven and fifteen grams per cup). Furthermore, they’re also a great source of protein, which plays an important role in dieting and weight-loss.